A CORRUPT GOVERNMENT SERVING A WEALTHY FEW.
THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR SMALL BUSINESSES WILL LEAD
TO AN ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE IN NYC!
Before we expose those NYC politicians (Part V) who played a major role in the decade long rigging and corruption to deny economic justice to desperate small business owners, a summary is needed. This summary explains how three Mayors and Speakers turned their economic policy and oversight responsibility over to a real estate lobby. The outcome of this collusion was to ignore an out of control crisis that was slowly destroying our small businesses. A conspiracy of the powerful to use the government to cover-up the dire consequences to desperate small business families as the crisis grew. The foundation of this corruption was power, greed, and unethical ambitious politicians. Because of the scope of corruption of the Democratic Party, only NYC small business owners today face two crisis to survive. This corruption killed the only lifeline to save our businesses. This summary is needed to fully understand how atrocious, disgraceful, and corrupt their actions were and still are today.
Summary of first three parts*, the foundation of the corruption: beginning with former Mayor Giuliani, a Republican “trickle down” economics was made the priority at City Hall. His administration welcomed big box stores and empowered commercial property owners as a voice for mom and pop businesses by establishing BIDS on main streets. Long term, what negatively impacted the stability of our small businesses was his most damming policy of creating and promoting NYC as the ideal place for high return real estate investment and speculation.
The Bloomberg administration greatly expanded the economic policy that Giuliani had begun. He established the Small Business Services under the disguise of serving small businesses. In reality, SBS only served the Economic Development Corporation’s agenda, which was really acting as the lobby for big business at City Hall. The SBS officers, BID Boards, Chamber Boards, or most government funded business organizations never reflected the work ethics or profile of our city’s successful small business owners. The backbone of our local economy and major residential job creators were small business owners, with the majority being hard working immigrant families who own (64-68%). Yet, none of the economic policy makers at City Hall ever owned a small business and few were from immigrant families. The American Dream of the get rich quick, who established the “culture of greed” which dominated NYC economic policy was the true opposite from our small business owners’ American Dream. Which will explain why so many lawmakers were so eagerly and easily corrupted.
Without a doubt, the major victims of our government’s aggressively promoting NYC as the epicenter for world wide real estate speculation, were our neighborhood small business owners. Citywide, no stable neighborhood with its long established mom and pop businesses was immune from the impact of hyper real estate speculation on steroids.
Even the most successful small businesses could never hope to compete with the bidding war between banks and franchises for prime locations on every main street of the city. Even with long established businesses being forced to close in record numbers, City Hall remained silent and did absolutely nothing to protect a single business or job. The SBS was covering up the wrecked commercial rental market forcing good businesses to close in record numbers (court evictions average 612 each month with est. 1,200-1,400 closings each month in NYC)* when their leases expired because the BID property owners were making windfall profits from the speculation. EDC did not want any focus upon the small business closings and the crisis created for fear it would dampen the perfect environment they created for their profiteers and speculators.
In 2009, an independent study of Hispanic small business* owners finally exposed the very real small business crisis that existed in NYC. Then Small Business Committee Chairman, David Yassky was quick to take action (within 2 and half months) to find a real solution to stop the closings of businesses and save jobs. A hearing was held in June 2009 with Chairman Yassky’s opening statement, “ its not an option to do nothing…our small businesses will disappear… to the administration officials, this committee wants to hear solutions.” In the end, the entire committee selected the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, Jobs Survival Act, as the only real solution to stop the closing of small businesses and save jobs. With 32 sponsors, the Jobs Survival Act would have easily passed into law if a vote were taken. But the powerful real estate lobby, REBNY in collusion with the Speakers Office would never allow the vote. A bogus vague FAKE legal claim was cooked up to stop any vote, which marked for City Hall the beginning of over a decade of denying economic justice to small business owners.
What followed this disgraceful act of injustice was the corruption of our government by a powerful lobby committed to protecting the profits of its wealthy members and keeping the status quo. Keeping the status quo that was destroying the backbone of our local economy and countless jobs. First, to assure the Jobs Survival Act would never be voted on, the lobby increased their participation in all elections. They became the most active and biggest campaign donors in NYC elections. They collaborated with the corrupt party bosses to hand pick the Speaker and thus every Chair of the committees. They bought off the most vocal progressives and had them abandoned their progressive values and any support of the Jobs Survival Act. Never again would any progressive be a strong voice for justice for small businesses.
Next, they built a great economic network to carry out “institutionalized discrimination” against small business owners, especially immigrant family owned. They would: hand pick every Small Business Commissioner, Small Business Committee Chairman, promote property owner BIDS in every neighborhood of the city, influence funding to pro real estate Chambers and other business organizations, hand pick appointments to EDC and other government agencies, influence through their political cronies the appointments of machine and pro real estate community board loyalists, and actually influence the writing of many pieces of worthless distraction “do nothing” legislation and useless business initiatives which their political cronies would rubber stamp. The entire City Hall government would promote only the REBNY talking points and their false narrative against the Jobs Survival Act and the true state of our small businesses. In other words, they RIGGED the system.
With their control of the ambitious lawmakers they bought at election time and the total control of an economic policy network they created using their hired guns, they created “institutionalized corruption” of our city’s economy to favor only the wealthy few. For over a decade, as our city’s small business crisis grew out of control, this corrupt government covered up the consequences of the unchecked and unregulated real estate speculation. Not a single lawmaker at City Hall had the courage or political will to stand up to demand something be done to stop the closings of our small businesses. NOT ONE! Not a single lawmaker protested the “in plain sight” rigging by the Speaker’s Office and lobbies to deny even a honest hearing to even try to find an honest solution to the sky high rents forcing the closings. For the first time in the long 30 year debate on legislation to regulate commercial rents to save businesses, no public hearings were held! Even as the crisis grew worse and spread to every borough, nothing was done to save a single business or job. Our desperate small business owners did not have a single voice at City Hall to demand justice and fair treatment. Every so called progressive was either afraid to challenge REBNY or welcomed their money to advance their careers.
Under Mayor de Blasio the corrupt system was continued except for one addition. Under his watch he politicized the small business crisis by funding community groups under the disguise of promoting economic development. A hearing was finally held in Oct 2018 but only because of the empty storefronts on every main street in the city. The corrupt government could no longer cover-up the obvious crisis and the empty stores were the “dead canaries” on main street every citizen saw every day, year in and year out. Unlike the last hearing in 2009, with true progressive lawmakers holding an honest hearing to find the best solution to stop the closings and save jobs, this hearing had the opposite goal. A sham hearing orchestrated by a lobby whose members created the crisis, with the goal of stopping any legislation from giving rights to small business owners they needed in order to remain in business.
A hearing that was so rigged that small business advocates were forced to call for a boycott of the shameful exhibition of a corrupt government. Part III* details the disgraceful hearing highlighting the corrupt lawmakers and corrupt network colluding at City Hall to prevent economic justice to desperate small business owners. What is relevant to today’s small business crisis created by the coronavirus is that the outcome of that charade hearing would likely determine the outcome of survival for the majority of our small businesses today.
The truth is many once proud progressive lawmakers sold out our small businesses for their own political careers. They allowed the destruction of our local economy and jobs to continue unimpeded and never once even tried to do anything to save them. Morally corrupt democratic leadership turned over to a lobby the power to control a hearing with the goal to “bury once and for all” the only real lifeline to save small businesses, the Jobs Survival Act., and they did bury it.
By doing so these corrupt lawmakers put every small business owner in jeopardy of closing when their leases expired and they still have no rights. NONE! By successfully burying the only lifeline to save the small businesses they made our city’s small businesses the most vulnerable in the nation to survive the coronavirus! Only NYC small business owners face two crisis at the same time. The most corrupt democratic leadership has served a powerful lobby for over a decade with the outcome being the most anti small business environment in the world. Not a good place to be in a pandemic crisis.
No other big city government would have allowed their “backbone of their economy “ to face a crisis and do nothing. No government would have allowed in time of crisis, pro real estate owner Mark Gjonaj to be Chairman of the Small Business Committee or inept and unqualified Gregg Bishop to be Small Business Commissioner. None would have allowed over 1,200-1,400 businesses to close each month for over a decade and done nothing to save even one; BEFORE COVID-19! Unconscionable but true, no government would be so corrupt to refuse a lifeline to save businesses facing two crisis. Lawmakers with no moral obligation to even try to stop the closings of small businesses, knowing if small businesses become extinct in NYC, it will trigger a certain economic catastrophe. Shameful!
Part V Who are these self proclaimed progressives who allowed a lobby to corrupt our democracy at City Hall and destroy the backbone of our economy?