Saturday, August 4, 2007

Speaking Of Empire Zones

A terrible, terrible mistake has been made.

"I met the full requirement of my commitment," said Giotto, president of Fiber Instrument Sales, on Wednesday.

Empire State Development sent letters to about 3,000 businesses, including 157 in Oneida and Herkimer counties, notifying them that they are in danger of being decertified from the Empire Zone program because they failed to meet the requirements. The state based its information on 2005 annual business reports, but will make a final determination based on an audit of 2006 business reports.

Oriskany-based Fiber Instrument Sales had estimated a total investment of $4.37 million, including $3 million to construct a 40,000-square-foot building and $875,000 to develop products, when it was certified in the Oneida County Empire Zone in June 2002.

The company had only invested $1.3 million, or 29.8 percent, of its projected amount by the end of 2005, according to Empire State Development.

Empire State Development failed to include the $3 million that had been invested in the construction project by Aug. 1, 2001, nearly a year before the company was Empire Zone certified, Giotto said.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember that the Fiber Instrument Sales building wasn't in an Empire Zone in 2001 and most of 2002. The borders of the zone, and "border" is a pretty meaningless term when it comes to how these absurd zones are configured, weren't revised to include that property until August of 2002.

It's not just an Empire Zone, it's a retroactively magical Empire Zone!

Update: An email asks "Isn't this the kind of basic fact-checking the reporter should have done while writing the article in the first place?" It does seem like the timeline of events would be pretty important to understanding what happened, and the validity of the actual Empire Zone credit, now that he/she mentions it.

Update: This would seem to support the idea that the Fiber Instrument Sales building was outside of the Zone when it was built.