Friday, September 12, 2008

Hartford Insurance Job Guaranty Questionable...

Concerned Citizens FOILed a copy of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement signed by The Hartford, Ryan Companies and Oneida County Industrial Development Agency (OCIDA). After first being told that none exists, and our having to file a FOIL appeal, Attorney Green managed to get one for us.

As part of the PILOT, the Hartford had to sign the Guaranty, Job Creation, Job Retention and Recapture Agreement. Here is a pdf copy of the entire signed Guaranty, Job Creation, Job Retention and Recapture Agreement. Below are excerpts from that agreement.

According to page 2 of the agreement, section 1 (c) is interesting:
The providing of the Facility by the AGENCY and the leasing thereof by the AGENCY to RYAN and by RYAN to HARTFORD will not (except for HARTFORD's relocation within the Town of New Hartford, New York) result in the removal of a plant facility or other commercial activity of Hartford from one area of the State to another area of the State nor result in the abandonment of one or more plants or facilities of HARTFORD located within the State.
Isn't that a contradictory statement? Will not, except for...

Here is General Municipal Law Title 1 of Article 18 A § 862 (the law referred to on page 1 of the agreement, the first WHEREAS):
Restrictions on funds of the agency. 1. No financial assistance of the agency shall be used in respect of any project if the completion thereof would result in the removal of a facility or plant of the project occupant from one area of the state to another area of the state or in the abandonment of one or more plants or facilities of the project occupant located within the state, provided, however, that neither restriction shall apply if the agency shall determine on the basis of the application before it that the project is reasonably necessary to discourage the project occupant from removing such other plant or facility to a location outside the state or is reasonably necessary to preserve the competitive position of the project occupant in its respective industry.
So if they were just going to move from New Hartford to Rome, they wouldn't have been eligible for a PILOT? Or is "an area" defined as moving from one county to another. Does that except clause make it o.k. to move from one building in town to another building about 1 mile away leaving building #1 vacant? Did The Hartford "threaten" to leave the state?

On page 3, section 5:
Lease Guaranty...HARTFORD's Obligations to the AGENCY shall not commence until the Commencement Date (as defined in Section 2(a) of the Sublease) and shall terminate at the end of the tenth (10th) Lease Year...
So after Year 10, the Hartford is free to leave the area? But the PILOT agreement is for 15 years.

On page 4, section 6: Job Creation and Retention Obligations
The initial ten (10) Lease Years of the term of the Sublease shall hereinafter be known as the "Employment Obligation Term". Hartford's Employment Obligation shall mean that, with respect to each of the first (1st) five (5) Lease Years of the Employment Obligation Term, Hartford agrees to retain 600 full-time employees; and with respect to each of the last five (5) Lease Years of the Employment Obligation Term, Hartford agrees to retain 500 full-time employees. From and after the expiration of the Employment Obligation Term, Hartford shall have no further obligation with respect to the Employment Obligation and shall not be liable for any of the remedies specified in Section 8 of this Agreement below. (Section 8 refers to the remedies in the event of a default)
Huh? What about the 690 jobs...you mean that they aren't able to guarantee those jobs for at least the first 5 years? And only a guarantee of 500 jobs years 5-10? Our school, town and county taxes are proposed to be used to fund this project for at least the next 15 years and The Hartford can't guarantee to at least keep the same level of employment that they presently have and after year 10 they can cut the workforce in half...no problem?

Why are they really moving...shouldn't we be seeing an upward trend in employment guaranty instead of a downward trend? Why did they need a larger building, was it an excuse given to circumvent General Municipal Law Article 18A? Isn't that what we have been told...they need more room to accommodate a growing workforce? Why do you need more room if you can't guarantee to keep the same number of people employed?

Bottom of page 4 to top of page 3: Job Creation and Retention Obligations
For purposes of determining the total full-time employees that are applicable to the Employment Obligation, a full-time employee ("FTE") shall mean one that has a minimum of thirty (30) standard scheduled hours per week and whose workplace location is the Facility.
Question is, how many people only work 30 hours a week vs. a 40 hour work week? What did they say the average salary was?

This whole deal smells. There are other parts of the PILOT agreement that we will post tomorrow. In the meantime, don't miss Fault Lines; Strikeslip has an interesting revelation!

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