Avella proposes state review for $100K-plus NY land sales to private companies

October 21, 2011 04:24PM

After a recent controversial land sale in the Bellerose section of Queens, State Senator Tony Avella has written legislation requiring that all New York
land sales worth $100,000 and higher to private companies require
state attorney general and state comptroller review and approval, the
Times Ledger reported.

In the Bellerose case, the state Dormitory Authority sold a 4.5-acre
parcel of land by the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center to the Indian
Cultural and Community Center, which is seeking a variance to build
two nine-story senior housing towers and a community center on the
property.

Community leaders said the group was not upfront about its senior
housing proposal and the buildings are out of character with the
surrounding community.

“Unfortunately, the lack of oversight from local governments have led
to instances of favoritism and lost revenue for the state,” Avella
said. “We need to eliminate loopholes that allow private entities to
acquire valuable state lands at extremely discounted rates and create
a form of oversight that ensures that these deals are done fairly,
honestly and at a competitive price.”

Avella and community leaders also questioned how the Indian
Cultural and Community Center was able to purchase the land with a $29,000 deficit. The state attorney general’s
office and the state inspector general’s office are already conducting
investigations into the deal.
Legislation sponsored by then State Senator Frank Padavan and
Assemblymember Mark Weprin was a key factor in the sale, according to the Times Ledger. The New York Post reported in July that
the price of the deal was $1.8 million, though the actual market value
for the parcels last year was $7.3 million, and noted that the
politicians had received donations from the group. [Times Ledger]
and [Post]