Empire Outlets Mall Recently Received $20 Million in State Cash
on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 at 12:08pm.
Empire Outlets Mall will consist of 100 outlet stores, include a 190-room hotel, and a parking garage on the land that was formerly just a parking lot adjacent to the St. George Ferry Terminal. The under-construction mall recently received $20 million in taxpayer money from the state of New York.
That was just the most recent grant of public funds. The mall previously received an additional $47 million. In fact, so far, $66 million of the $350 million project has been paid for with state funds.
The $20 million grant just happened to come a few weeks after one of the three partners, Joseph Ferrara in BFC, donated $3,500 to Governor Cuomo's 2018 re-election campaign in a two check payment on January 4th.
This is just the latest donation to Cuomo from BFC. From 2011 to 2014, the three partners of BFC, Brendan Baron, Donald Capoccia and Joseph Ferrara, donated more than $85,000 to Cuomo campaigns and the campaigns of various state representatives.
Perhaps this explains why the state is so interested in funding the development of this particular mall, a “for-profit” project,” that is not focused on the public interest.
Although the Governor’s office declined to respond to these charges, the developers have done so, denying such allegations. They maintain that the state funds are being used to improve the infrastructure around the project, not the actual outlet buildings, including building new flood barriers and surge walls designed to prevent another Hurricane Sandy disaster. They also claim the funds are being used to build sidewalks, traffic lights, crosswalks, going towards the parking garage, and better roadways around the site. The developers allege that they doing these tasks faster and at a lower cost to taxpayers than if the state did the work itself.
If this project so obviously benefits the public, why did the developers have to pay a consultant firm $67,500 to lobby on their behalf with government officials? What do we make of Cuomo’s history of giving state grants to his biggest donors? Weigh in your thoughts on this topic by commenting below or visiting our Facebook page to join the conversation! Share your concerns about the Empire Outlet Mall funding.