The Small Business Congress, NYC

Media Advisory


Comptroller Stringer’s Shameful Study Exposed!


Comptroller Stringer Study Helps Big Campaign Donors and Hurts

Mom and Pop Fighting to Survive.


The hallmark of leadership for lawmakers has always been how well they address a crisis. How quickly, fairly, efficiently, and competently they find the best solution to end the crisis. In the case of NYC’s growing small business crisis, Comptroller Stringer gets an F- in leadership.


He releases a study: Retail Vacancy in NYC claiming the data is needed to guide him and other lawmakers to produce legislation and programs to help small businesses.  Nothing could be further from the truth nor more disingenuous.  Stringer’s poorly disguised study is a continuation of the decade long charade at City Hall, orchasted by the real estate lobby REBNY, to stop the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (Jobs Act), a bill giving rights to business owners when their leases expire. The study is a disgrace to good government because its true goal is to distract away from finding a real solution to save businesses.  And instead, to give credibility to REBNY’s false narrative on the causes of the small business crisis while recommending only REBNY created proposals intended to keep the status quo. 


Concerning finding the best solution for the growing small business crisis, Comptroller Scott Stringer continues to do what he has done since taking public office. He remains silent and purposely avoids making any real effort, encouragement, or commitment to address the root cause of the majority of long established businesses being forced to close, which is the unfair commercial lease renewal process. The only time you hear from Scott Stringer is when REBNY needs a lawmaker to cover-up the consequences to the small business crisis and too produce a distraction (study)  away from legislation offering a real solution to end the crisis. Comptroller Stringers’ recommendations are absurd and an insult to every small business owner in NYC because none give a single right to small business owners when their leases expire and thus would not save a single business or job.  Desperate small business owners ask Comptroller Stringer, “what good is any initiative, proposal or bill if the business closes?”


Regardless of how long in business or how successful a business had been, in NYC commercial tenants have no rights when their leases expire.  Only the landlord has all the rights, and after decades of hyper real estate speculation this has resulted in the dramatic changing of the character of neighborhoods, exorbitant rents, landlord abuses like the extortion of mainly immigrant owners for cash, loss of jobs, empty stores on every block where thriving businesses were and the destruction of the backbone of our local economy.  This one sided failed commercial lease renewal process which has made many real estate speculators and landlords wealthy while destroying the American Dream for countless families has been acceptable to Comptroller Stringer his entire political career.  


If I sound angry at Stringer for his fake study and useless recommendations, I have good reason to be. His fake study with its ridiculous recommendations designed to keep the status quo for big real estate is not the first time Stringer has been called upon by his big campaign donors to deny economic justice to struggling small business owners.  


The NYC small business crisis is not new.   The first official proclamation showing a crisis existed in NYC was the USA Latin Chamber’s study done at the request of then Small Business Committee Chairman David Yassky in 2009.  The immediate response from David Yassky, “ The major creators of our jobs, our small businesses are going out of business. That’s what is at stake here, if we don’t keep our small businesses we will not keep those jobs. The one thing we cannot do in the face of this Crisis is nothing.”    At the same time Yassky was pledging to find a solution to stop the closing, then Manhattan President Stringer did his study, called “Saving the Mom and Pops.” * see below


This study was a sham and the same shameful Stringer study of today but with less colorful bells and whistles.  The quickly thrown together study of 100 surveys was “classic bait and switch” still used by Stringer in today’s study. First the findings show the dire state of small businesses with half at risk of closing due to not being able to negotiate leases with fair rents.  Then just like today’s Retail Vacancy study, the “switch” with recommendations that have nothing to do with lease renewals, high rents, or giving rights to owners and thus would not save a single business. 


Like today’s study, Stringer’s recommendations were absurd and an insult to businesses facing a crisis.  His first recommendation was to survey all small businesses in the city every four years so hard data could be obtained for the future. If this sounds familiar it is because Council Members Carolina Rivera and Helen Rosenthal have passed bills that call for similar ridiculous actions, counting empty stores for hard data to guide them in making policy.

None of Stringers’ recommendations makes any sense in seriously addressing the small business crisis. Like,  “We’ve got to do more micro-lending,” Stringer said.  Comptroller Stringer’s Retail Vacancy Study is just the dusted off “ Saving Mom and Pops” with the same goal to look and sound like he wants to save mom and pop but really Stringer is serving his big campaign donors by promoting their narrative and useless proposal to keep the status quo.


Scott Stringer never wanted to save small businesses in Manhattan because doing so would interfere with Manhattan being the world’s center for real estate speculation.  These are the facts about Stringers’ small business policy he does not want the public to know.  Since Stringer was sworn in as Manhattan President in Jan 2006 until he was termed out in 2013, the NYC Courts issued warrants to evict 53,082 businesses, and Manhattan lead all boroughs every year in court evictions.

 An estimated* 115,000-125,000 small business closed with the majority in Manhattan.  An estimated 700,000-800,000 jobs were lost, with the majority in Manhattan.  The truth is all the high priced PR and Consulting firms can’t cover up Scott Stringers economic policy, it’s big real estates’ economic policy. He helped create the most pro real estate policy in the nation.   His “red carpet” policy to every real estate speculator in the world, and his complicity and silence for a decade to the rigging by the Speaker’s Office and REBNY to stop the Jobs Act are the real reasons for the empty stores today that Comptroller Stringer is counting citywide. If you want to know who Scott Stringer really serves, walk down any block in Manhattan and you will have an answer.


Under Manhattan Borough Scott Stringer’s watch, every Manhattan business was at risk of closing when their leases expired and he refused to use his office even once to gain rights to protect businesses from landlords greed and abuses. His vacancy study of 2009 for Manhattan was followed by “doing nothing” his entire term.


Scott Stringer built a reputation for holding the most press conferences by a lawmaker. He and Senator Schumer took turns holding media events in NYC. Yet, never once in 14 years, as this crisis spread, did Scott Stringer hold a media event or testified at a hearing calling for government to do something to stop the closing of small businesses. Never once did he call for giving rights to small business owners when their leases expire. Never once did he call for legislation to stop the illegal extortion of targeted immigrant owners being demanding cash to stay in business. Never once did he call for legislation to stop the unethical short term leases given to mostly immigrant owners. Shameful leases of sometimes month to month or one year, that turned small business owners into indentured servitude to their landlords.


Every time there is any effort to address the closings of small business, which is rare at REBNY controlled City Hall, the small business advocates promote the Jobs Act.  REBNY and their cronies counter by producing false narratives and misinformation about the Jobs Act, like calling it commercial rent control and claiming it’s unconstitutional.  Always, REBNY can count on Mayor, SBS, Speaker’s Office, and those lawmakers greatly funded by them to back their agenda. Even in the face of a growing citywide small business crisis, REBNY cronies stall a vote on the Jobs Act. The one lawmaker who REBNY can always rely upon to create fake studies and promote REBNY created proposals to stop the Jobs Act, or any law giving rights to business owners, is Scott Stringer. 


If Comptroller Stringer is sincere in wanting to help small businesses in their time of crisis then I have a suggestion for him.  Comptroller Stringer should hold a press conference on the steps of City Hall. Joining him would be Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson,  Borough Presidents Katz, Adams, Brewer and Diaz Jr., and they all announce they are all giving back the real estate campaign money given them and pledge to restore democracy at City Hall and end the economic injustice against small business owners