The facts substantiating this expose came from government documents: public testimony, legitimate studies, court records, investigative journalists and from direct witness by Sung Soo Kim* over his 34 years experience with advocating and servicing small businesses in NYC.    Steven Barrison , Spokesperson for SBC

 

Part II

The Faust Triplet Brothers:

de Blasio, Johnson and Stringer

 

Sold their souls to a real estate lobby and every small business owner has paid the price of having to fight to save their American Dream, with many losing the battle and closing.  

 

 

Silent Scott Stringer’s nine years of

disgraceful governing.

 

 

The 2009 collusion and rigging to stop any legislation giving rights to small business owners was a disgrace to democracy and represented the most anti-immigrant act by a government. It was an anti-immigrant act not just because immigrant families owned the majority of our small businesses (64-68%) and their businesses and jobs represented the major pathway for social mobility for immigrant families, but also because immigrant owners were the targets of the most despicable acts by unscrupulous landlords. 

 

These acts included routine targeting of immigrant owners when their lease expired to extort cash under the threat of throwing them out of business. Another immigrant tragedy was, after years of building up their businesses, upon lease renewal, being given only month to month or one/two year leases, thus being turned into indentured servitude to their landlords.  An immigrant owner who managed to survive a steep rent increase, usually by laying off workers, now faced paying their landlords’ sky high property taxes resulting from the years of speculation encouraged by their own government.

 

Clearly, the American Dream for immigrant families was being destroyed in NYC while Scott Stringer sided with the very wealthy who were destroying it.

 

Silent Stringer’s third chance to show his leadership by resolving a crisis.

 

After the 2009 hearing and Speaker Quinn’s stopping “good government” from working at City Hall, the biggest scandal of collusion and corruption would be enacted.

 

Years ago the corrupt democratic leadership had abdicated the control of economic policy to powerful lobbies. Now, the very same corrupt lawmakers abdicated the role of oversight of small businesses to the same lobbies whose members caused the small business crisis in the first place. This mockery of democracy was assembled at City Hall with the lobby hand picking the Chairman of the Small Business Committee, all the SBC committee members, SBS Commissioners, EDC officers, more BIDS created, more funding to Chambers, more funding to phony community and business groups, and the most negative impact on the future of small businesses, the selection of Speakers MMV and Johnson. 

 

Just like a puppet show, the lobby orchestrated a charade at City Hall using a cast of unethical characters dancing to their tune to cover up the crisis and instead promote fake studies, phony initiatives, worthless bills and useless forums, etc.  A stacked deck against mom and pop at City Hall and Scott Stringer does not object; instead silence.  By doing so, Stringer purposely ignored businesses’ growing crisis and denial of economic justice and refused to be a voice for the voiceless. Instead, he would continue being the voice for the powerful real estate lobby and corrupt party bosses.

* In 2013 Scott Stringer gets an F grade for his lack of leadership on the small business crisis. * https://www.savenycjobs.com/stringer-last-grade-for-mayor-race

 

For the first time in the 30 year debate on legislation regulating commercial lease renewals, no public hearings were allowed for 9 years!  Yes, unconscionable!   During this period the NYC courts issuing 56,378 warrants to evict businesses , an est. 170K-177K businesses closed, and an est. 1.4-1.5 million jobs lost, empty stores on every main street where once thriving businesses were and a crisis growing out of control. But Scott Stringer did not make a single statement to save one business or one job in 9 years!!  He did not even try to find a lifeline to save small businesses.

He refused to even mention the Jobs Survival Act once or call for an honest hearing to find a solution to the growing crisis.  Yes, appalling and he should be embarrassed.   Letting a crisis spread and grow out of control is NOT LEADERSHIP!  Being complicit to City Hall’s denying economic justice to desperate mom and pop owners in not leadership.

 

Fourth chance to show leadership by seeking a solution to a crisis.

 

In our expose we detail the roles Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson played in preventing our small businesses from getting an honest hearing to address their crisis. 

*https://www.savenycjobs.com/part-v

 

As a result of the growing empty storefronts on every main street, many empty for years, the democratic leadership if forced to grant a hearing on the Jobs Survival Act.  They can no longer cover up the obvious wrecked economy for small businesses in plain sight.   Now Comptroller Stringer will get a fourth chance to show his leadership skills in the face of a growing economic crisis.  Once again with the backbone of our economy collapsing and the city’s biggest job creator closing in record numbers, Stringer is a no show and again refused to even recommend a solution or make a statement on the need for a real solution.  Keeping with his MO , expect a fake study or report from him after the hearing with special interests making the recommendations that only serve their intersts.

 

Fifth chance for Stringer to show leadership and end the crisis.

 

After the Oct 2018 hearing where Speaker Johnson promised to change the Jobs Survival Act for the claimed purpose to eliminate protection for big Fortune 500 type companies and move it to a vote, the collusion and rigging to stop the bill was again in full effect. Stringers’ next contribution to the real estate lobby’s stopping democracy and a vote on the Jobs Survival Act was his September 25, 2019 Report Retail Vacancy Rate in New York City 2007-2017 Trends and Causes  https://comptroller.nyc.gov/reports/retail-vacancy-in-new-york-city/

 

What is in this report as well as what was purposely left out is the reason Comptroller Stringer should resign and never again hold public office.

 

Another Stringer “Bait and Switch” PR report giving dressed up useless facts and done only with the goal to promote REBNY’s false narrative covering up the true state of our small businesses and the true causes of the vacant storefronts, as well as, the true solution to stop the closings.   Most importantly, the report is disguised to give credibility/shade to only the real estate lobby’s created proposals that would keep the status quo and not save a single business or job.  As Stringer’s hallmark over the years, never mention the Jobs Survival Act as a viable solution to stop the closings in the first place. Always have REBNY’s mantra of a narrow focus on only Retail vacancy. 

 

So why does Scott Stringer discriminate against 70% of our small businesses in his studies? Discrimination against the professional businesses above the ground floor who also face the same crisis as mom and pop businesses, is a disgrace and lack of leadership.  Another glaring failure of his report is why with the city’s businesses in a major crisis is he concerned with 2007-2017 trends and causes?  All smoke and mirrors to distract and allow Stringer to put into play only REBNY’s false talking points and recommendations, and to prevent any “honest conversation” on the Jobs Survival Act or any bill giving rights to small business owners needed to survive.

 

In a time of crisis, a profile of a fake Stringer report.

Key findings, vacancy rates have risen. 

Truth - A walk down any main street in New York City the past five years would have shown this glaring reality.

 

Reasons given:  Blame internet (Amazon) for shift from retail goods sold to services like restaurants and bars.

 

Retail rents rose by 22 percent on average citywide between 2007 and 2017.  In some parts of the City…while falling in others – for example in the Financial District.

 

Property taxes paid by retail tenants as part of their rent are also an increasing burden, 

 

Regulatory burdens – especially those that may be associated with a change of use from selling goods to a personal services use or bar or restaurant – are also associated with greater retail vacancy. The share of Department of Buildings alteration permits unapproved after 30 days is a significant driver of retail vacancy. The average number of days it takes to get a liquor license is also a significant driver of retail vacancy.

 

 

Truth : In 2006 ,with Amazon’s fulfillment center nationwide running, that same year NYC courts were evicting 7,147 businesses with an estimated 23-25K closing.  The 2009 Latin Chamber Small Business Study showed conclusively the real reasons businesses closed or laid off workers was not because of Amazon or internet. The small business owners make clear the reasons for closing: sky high rents, high cost of doing business, and growing high property taxes. What Amazon and the net years later did was speed up the closing of those marginalized businesses hanging on while increasing the closing of the big chains more than the smaller mom and pop.  What does Amazon have to do with the forced closing of a long established successful restaurant?   Nothing

 

Stringer’s report gives disinformation when making the claim “Retail rents rose by 22 percent on average citywide between 2007 and 2017.”  The competitive bidding for prime main street locations citywide by banks and big chains sky rocketed commercial rents in NYC.  Few, if any, businesses located on busy shopping strips ever saw a 22 percent increase in rents, try 220% to 500%, that would be closer.

 

Stringer’s statement , Property taxes paid by retail tenants as part of their rent are also an increasing burden, “ is a knowingly false statement to hid the true role property taxes play on business closings. Every business owner knows they must pay their property taxes separate from rent. They are never part of rent as Stringer falsely states. Also, his use of the word “burden” is purposely misleading because of the serious damage these growing property taxes have on the profit, stability and survival of businesses. Many businesses closed because of the out of control property tax increases. In the future the number one reason for businesses either closing or laying off workers will not be the rent but the property taxes.

  

Scott Stringer should be ashamed for listing “Regulatory burdens” as a serious cause for businesses to close and remain empty. This lame false statement has been used by REBNY’s cronies repeatedly to cover up the real causes of small business closings.  This

willful lie is an insult to “good government” as well as to every small business owner desperate for a real solution from City Hall to save them.  Omitting the real reasons for the business closings to protect the landlords is a major reason New Yorkers cannot trust Scott Stringer to be Mayor. Never will a Stringer report tell the truth and blame big landlords for their role in our city’s small business crisis.  His reports do not seek the truth but cover up the truth.

 

The Truth: Every New Yorker knows why their local mom and pop businesses are closed. When the businesses’ lease expired and they had no rights, their greedy landlords want them out so they can rent to deep pocket businesses. Other profiteer landlords and speculators want all their tenants out so they put the property on the hot market clean of tenants. Others will only be offered short term leases so their landlords are in a great position to take advantage of the out of control rental market. Some businesses can only get leases so short, sometimes month to month, that the business owners must walk away because they know they have no future. Many immigrant businesses no longer can survive being extorted for cash ( their life’s savings) when their leases expire. Most business owners are not able to negotiate reasonable lease terms allowing them to make a reasonable profit, instead only a “take it or leave” from their landlords.

Many business owners refuse to work day and night just to make their landlords richer. Some business owners opened their mail to receive a 30 day notice to vacate the premise.

 

Many business owners today just “do the math” and realize they cannot pay exorbitant rents, high cost of doing business and pay their landlord’s growing property taxes and make a reasonable profit.

These realities or the truth will never show up in a Stringer study on the reasons for businesses to close and remain vacant.

 

After a decade of nationwide economic growth, the reason for NYC’s soaring vacancy rate is years of unchecked hyper real estate speculation and lawmakers who benefit from collusion with profiteers. The outcome being the greatest transfer of wealth from hard working business owners and hard working families transferred to speculators, profiteers, grossly overpaid bureaucrats and profoundly immorally corrupted democratic leadership. 

 

Stringer only promotes REBNY ‘Switch” Recommendations.

Recommendations to substitute for and cover up the only real solution to stop the rising vacancy rate, the Jobs Survival Act and instead promote useless REBNY created proposals.

 

Right out of REBNY’s playbook of false narrative for distractions and government actions known not to address the small business crisis.  A Stringer hallmark of any study or report, never mention the Jobs Survival Act as the best solution to stop the closing of our small businesses. In fact, never make a priority of finding a solution to stop businesses from closing in the first place. That goal, of preventing store closings in the first place, would seem the most logical to addressing vacancy, otherwise the vacancies would continue year after year unchecked. Which is what has happened under Stringer’s watch his entire career.  Shhh, don't wake Scott.

Below is not a joke!  Yes, ridiculous and absurd but Stringer’s recommendations.

 Scott Stringer’s recommendations would not save a single small business or job and would not address a single real problem facing small business in their time of crisis.  The goal of Scott Stringers’ recommendations is keeping the status quo for his campaign donors.  Yes, despicable and appalling as it is, he should be embarrassed by his recommendations, but this is NYC where a real estate mafia runs City Hall and Stringer has been a good Capo.  

(from his own report)

Actions to Reduce Retail Vacancy 

Creating a more small business-friendly city would also help address the changing face of street front retail space.  The Comptroller’s 2016 Red Tape Commission spelled out some sixty steps the City should take to help improve the city’s small business environment, including separating the enforcement and permitting functions of the Department of Buildings, improving the streetscape through prompt removal of unused sidewalk scaffolding, improved street parking, and a more business-friendly approach by City agencies.

Provide tax incentives for independent merchandise retailers in high-vacancy retail corridors.  The City should provide tax credits for independent retailers to help lower the cost of space in retail corridors with persistently high vacancy rates.  ( only done by Albany and ridiculous with 200K businesses in over 50 neighborhoods , another hit for taxpayers, when will big business pay their fair share of taxes?)

Create a single point-of-contact customer service for businesses occupying retail space.  To expedite and facilitate a change in use of retail space from goods to personal services or an eating or drinking establishment, the City should create a multi-agency task force staffed with single point-of-contact customer service representatives to assist new businesses by coordinating and expediting the necessary regulatory actions. The City should also waive permitting and inspection fees for businesses taking over existing space that has been vacant for a given period of time. ( ?)  double talk,  isn’t this already the job of SBS /BIDS and dozen other funded organizations? 

Incorporate retail demand into neighborhood planning.  The City should require an analysis of retail demand in any major development proposal or rezoning, to ensure that the right amounts and types of retail space are incorporated into the planning process. ( Yes, foolish and shows a total ignorance of business, and has nothing to do with existing businesses or their problems) more double talk.

What Stringer purposely left out of all reports will cost him his race for Mayor.

 

What is purposely missing from this report and all Stringer’s reports on small businesses is the critical role small businesses play as revenue collectors for our government.  Never does any democratic leader at City Hall draw attention to how much revenue our over 200K small businesses generates towards paying for our city’s budget.  When collectively added, the 200K small businesses revenues together: sales tax, permits, income tax, fees, corporate taxes, utility taxes, and a huge percentage of property taxes, etc.  they make our small businesses a top generator of revenue for our city. 

 

Why wouldn’t Scott Stringer, Speaker Johnson, or other leading democratic lawmakers want the public to know this vital fact? They do not have a problem telling the public our businesses are the “backbone of our economy, job creators and the spirit of our city.” But they have been totally dishonest in all their studies, initiatives, media, hearing etc in passing this vital information onto the public of their role as revenue generators, for only one reason. If the public knew the critical role small businesses played as revenue generators, which helps keep the property tax burden lower for property owners,

and allows for more hiring and higher wages in government,  they would demand an explanation from lawmakers of why they allowed the backbone of our economy and major revenue generators to close in record numbers year after year while lawmakers did nothing to save them. What possible explanation could be given to voters, especially property owners for allowing a long established thriving business who is generating revenue year after year to close and remain empty with no revenue being collected for years? Stringer, Johnson and de Blasio along with the democratic leadership have been promoting and protecting a failed economic policy that is insanity in the extreme.  An economic policy that only serves a wealthy handful, one that can only end in an economic catastrophe, with massive layoffs and sky high increased property taxes.   

 

 

Sixth opportunity to show leadership for Stringer.

 

The corrupt democratic leadership never had intentions to ever vote on the Jobs Survival Act ( even with 29 sponsors) or any bill that regulated commercial landlords. The coronavirus crisis should have changed that policy with honest lawmakers calling for an immediate vote on the bill to save as many businesses and jobs as possible.

But NYC does not have enough honest lawmakers who have the political will to stand up to the real estate lobby. Even with our small businesses already shaky and barely hanging on from the first crisis, and knowing the coronavirus crisis will greatly speed up the closings of our businesses, why are lawmakers refusing to vote on the only real solution to give them a fighting chance to survive? Shamefully, the control of REBNY is so great that our council will not even attempt to throw a lifeline to save them. Instead, what lawmakers are ordered to do by the real estate lobby concerning the two crises destroying our businesses and economy is produce more deceit to cover- up the cover- up.

 

Scott Stringer doubles down in corrupt collusion with the real estate lobby. He has no concern for the potential catastrophic consequences to our economy and jobs by serving only his fat cat friends. He will continue to refuse to even try to throw a real “lifeline” to mom and pop businesses facing two crises, one he helped keep alive and made worse.

 

What real leadership looks like is not a study counting empty stores but a study on the lost revenue from empty stores. The impact upon our economy of lost jobs.  This study will never happen until after the 2021 election and new progressive lawmakers are elected.

 

On August 5, 2020 Comptroller Stringer issued his program:

SAVE MAIN STREET  *

A Crash Program to Help Save NYC Small Businesses

* https://comptroller.nyc.gov/reports/save-main-street/

 

SAVE MAIN STREET is a disingenuous title by Comptroller Stringer. A more accurate title should have been COVERING UP FOR MY CAMPAIGN DONORS.

 

His report starts off with the standard Stringer report, first the “bait” describing the importance of small businesses and their need for help.  Then putting forth a false narrative of both the severity of the problem and the causes to lay a foundation for a weak or worthless solution.  An example of his false narrative is when he writes, 

And yet, many are hurting like never before as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic shutdown caused by the virus. Shamefully, he omits the dire state every small business owner faced prior to the virus.  A crisis jeopardizing the survival of every business for the past decade caused by the unregulated real estate speculation, he helped promote. The coronavirus is speeding up what was already taking place in NYC for more than a decade?  Even without the coronavirus ever happening, every business owner feared being forced to close when their leases expired.

 

Stringer should be embarrassed to write “ many are hurting like never before”, knowing full well that every block of every main street has empty stores where once thriving businesses were and every month the NYC courts issued warrants to evict on average 440 businesses* with 1,200-1,400 closing each month citywide, BEFORE COVID.  Stringer willfully ignores the fact that only our city’s businesses face two crises to survive.  Contrary to his description, NYC small businesses are way past just hurting thanks to lawmakers like Stringer refusing to allow democracy to work at city Hall to find a true solution to their first crisis.  Wouldn’t it make sense for any program with the headline SAVE MAIN STREET to first resolve the first crisis causing businesses to close? * NYC court evictions

https://www.savenycjobs.com/nyc-court-evictions-

 

Keeping with his hallmark “bait and switch” reports, Stringer switches from Saving to Strengthening, blueprint for strengthening the city’s small businesses and the neighborhoods they call home. We must strive to build a true, five borough economy—one where every business has the support they need to thrive.

( always end with thrive or vibrant, never with SAVE) 

 

Again, right out of REBNY’s playbook, distractions away from the real problems causing small businesses to close in record numbers for more than 10 years. Distractions away from the main root cause of the majority of business closings, which is the unfair and one sided commercial lease renewal process that favors only the landlords, and gives tenants no rights. Distractions away for the only real solution to save small businesses, Jobs Survival Act.  If ever there was a time our small businesses needed long term leases and rights to provide some predictability of their future it is now facing two crises.

 

Stringer’s report follows only the REBNY false narrative of what small businesses’ need. And empowering the very identities that colluded for years to put small businesses in their crisis and covered up their dire plight: BIDS, SBS, Chambers, corrupt lawmakers, and unethical funded fake community and business groups. 

 

This report’s only purpose is to allow him to put forth worthless programs that small business do not need or want, programs that keep the status quo for his campaign donors, big real estate.  He is consistent in all of his reports on small business, never recommend any legislation or policy that gives business owners any rights and never recommend any legislation that regulates the landlords or solves any of the major problems facing small businesses.  In Stringers’ entire career he has not created one bill that would save one small business or job, what he has produced is many phony reports with the word SAVE small business in them. Disingenuous is Stringer’s Hallmark  

 

If the hallmark of leadership is how well a lawmakers addresses a crisis then Stringer in no leader for failing two crises and making them worse. His silence speaks loudest which side he is on.

 

I have worked day and night for over 30 years to solve the problems of immigrant business owners. Comptroller Scott Stringer throughout his entire career has shown time and again by his actions he has no respect for immigrant families. He has no respect for the hard work and scarifies made by immigrant small business owners. No appreciation of their contribution to our city’s economy, to him they are totally expendable. No immigrant family who is still fighting to keep their American Dream alive should ever trust or vote for Stringer. Every immigrant family that has suffered and lost their American Dream can put some of the blame on Stringer for his failed record of remaining silent and doing nothing to save them.

 

I am baffled by progressive lawmakers that endorsed Stringer claiming he is progressive. Stringer knew that mainly immigrant small business owners were targets for illegal extortion of their life’s savings and that was acceptable to him for over a decade, how progressive is that?   He knew many immigrant owners were only given month to month or one year leases and this was acceptable to him, never to a true progressive.  That entire communities were stabilized by immigrant owners’ hard work and investing in them and now could never hope to survive the sky high rents making landlords rich, and Stringer remained silent for a decade. Not a progressive. Stringer’s silence and doing nothing for years as the immigrant owners were forced out of business speaks for itself.

In the most desperate time for immigrant small business owners and their immigrant workers facing two crises, Scott Stringer shows no sympathy what so ever for their plight.

 

How low has the political bar been lowered that a career politician

who has served only big real estate and the corrupt machine can be labeled progressive? Before they endorsed Stringer, why didn’t these lawmakers follow the money of the big PACs and real estate which always leads to corrupt lawmakers?  Do they believe big real estate and corrupt party bosses have backed and funded Stringer’s career because of his progressive values?  Maybe it is time to create a new meaning of progressive and new progressive leadership in NYC.    

 

Scott Stringer is the front runner for Mayor because there is no doubt that he is the master of Machiavellianism in the influence peddling capital of the world. Regrettably for all New Yorkers, there is also no doubt that if he is successful in stopping any real solution to save our small businesses that the greatest economic catastrophe will occur.