From the forced disclosure
of documents to Assemblyman James Brennan, Norman Oder ("Fair
warning? State knew AY land tab was rising when lowball MOU was signed")
finds that in 2004:
The government was warned that the public tab for Atlantic
Yards would likely be more than the public pledge--and that the tab would almost
surely rise, as it has. But the public wasn't told...
Yup. State government, at least, knew that the public tab for Atlantic Yards
would go much higher than the "public contribution" envisioned and
disclosed in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the State, City
and Forest City Ratner in February, 2005.
Moral of the story? As per the Robert Moses playbook: If you are going to mislead
the public, especially on costs to taxpayers, make sure they don't know until
political approval is in the bag so elected officials can then claim**
that they've got to get
the taxpayers to pay for their "commitments", no matter what the
cost "overruns" are.
(** February 3, 2007: "We have a commitment to pay for infrastructure
costs and we will meet that commitment," the mayor said.)