Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hearings On Sweeney's Vacation

None of the reports of the ORDA report on its economic impact in the region make mention of this morning's hearing into the Tax Payer Funded Sweeney/Lobbyist Vacation there. Only the CC Blog says:

Since 2000, NYPA has sponsored the event, spending $25,000 on it last year from an unregulated slush fund of public money...

The argument in favor of the Winter Challenge, which dates back to the days of Sweeney’s predecessor, the late U.S. Rep. Gerald Solomon, is that it allows people who could be instrumental in securing federal funds for the facilities to visit them and, the thinking goes, predispose them to helping.

What Sweeney’s wife, (who was on the event’s guest list but did not attend), or a GE lobbyist might do to help secure funds for ORDA is a bit unclear at this point.

ORDA President/CEO Ted Blazer and NYPA Chairman Frank McCullough Jr. will testify tomorrow at 11 a.m. in Hearing Room C at the LOB. People who won’t be there include Sweeney and anyone from the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The event was full of lobbyists and Sweeney donors, and included two members of the Card Family. For a run down of the guest list, see our earlier report.

The guest list lacks folks who could actually contribute to the financial well being of the region. The criteria for an invite seems to have been being Sweeney's friend or giving money to the Sweeney campaign.

I'm glad that ORDA is good for the economy, I fail to see how spending our money on the Sweeney event has had anything to do with that.


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