DiNapoli: MTA tipped Apple bid on Grand Central space
July 30th, 2012
The Apple store’s arrival in Grand Central Station was greeted with much ballyhoo, its unveiling like something out of a science fiction novel — appearing out of nowhere to stun the masses.
Well, according to State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, there was something extraordinary about the Apple store’s arrival in Grand Central.
He says Apple had an unfair advantage in the bidding process for the space thanks to help from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. According an audit by DiNapoli, the MTA worked with Apple for a year before issuing an RFP for the bidding on the space.
“While Apple may turn out to be a good tenant, the MTA set a troubling precedent when it played favorites and gave Apple a competitive edge over others for the Grand Central space,” DiNapoli said. “Apple was directly involved in setting the terms of the lease and given exclusive access to information more than a year before any other vendor knew the Grand Central location was available. The company even signed a $2 million agreement with the current tenant to vacate its space five days before the MTA issued the RFP.”
DiNapoli is recommending changes to the Public Authorities Law to allow for a more transparent bidding process.
The current law only calls for certain contracts to be reviewed by the state Comptroller’s office. DiNapoli’s proposed change would make all contracts over one million dollars eligible for review. DiNapoli’s office was not allow to review the process that led to the Apple lease before it was finalized because it was allegedly a competitive process.
MTA chairman Jay Lhota is a Cuomo ally and DiNapoli has a contentious relationship with the governor.
Cuomo never endorsed DiNapoli in 2010 and DiNapoli has been working with another one of Cuomo’s rumored political rivals Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Here is a timeline of events provided by DiNapoli’s office: Read the rest of this entry »By David King on July 30, 2012, 12:30 pm
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