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Avella Calls for Stricter Reviews of State Property Sales to Private Entities

Senator's bill would require state's attorney general and comptroller to approve all sales of property valued at $100,000 or more.

State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, is calling on the state to require that all sales of property with a market value over $100,000 to private entities be reviewed by New York's attorney general and comptroller.

The senator's bill would amend the state's public authorities and public lands laws by requiring Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to review and approve the transactions when a public sale or auction is not required.

"Unfortunately, the lack of oversight from local governments have led to instances of favoritism and lost revenue for the state," Avella said. "We need to eliminate the loopholes that allow private entities to acquire valuable state lands at extremely discounted rates and create a form of oversight that ensures that these deals are done fairly, honestly and at a competitive price."

The legislation would also require a review from local members of the state's Legislature and the county executive in affected areas prior to the transfer of state land to a public benefit corporation or public authority.

Avella said he proposed the bill following a review of the state Dormitory Authority's sale of 4.5 acres of land on the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center's campus in Queens Village in a no-bid deal to the Indian Cultural Community Center for a fraction of its value.

"One of the main intentions of this legislation is to prevent any perceived or actual improper influence from an elected official pressuring state agencies or public authorities to sell state land to specific groups at a discounted rate for political gain," he said.

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