DiNapoli says audit confirms “sweetheart” deal for Apple in Grand Central

July 30, 2012 10:00AM

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s promised audit of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s lease agreement with Apple at Grand Central Terminal revealed the sweetheart deal he expected to find, according to the New York Post.

DiNapoli discovered that — after negotiating with Apple for more than two years — the MTA required that bidders for the former Metrazur restaurant space front $5 million to consummate the lease. That was a benefit to the cash-rich technology manufacturer, according to DiNapoli, who said in the report set to be released today that “the competitive process followed by MTA … was at a minimum severely slanted toward Apple.”

MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota responded by saying, “This audit is not fact-based, and, accordingly, their opinion is worthless.”

While Apple pays four times what Metrazur paid for the space, DiNapoli said it is still well below market value and doesn’t include a revenue-sharing agreement as other leases in Grand Central do. That costs the MTA millions a year, according to real estate insiders.

But as previously reported, the presence of Apple has been a boon to the Grand Central retail space as a whole. [Post]