Pfizer Pays Up

December 8, 2010

Yesterday, Bloomberg News


pharmaceutical giant Pfizer paid New York City $24.7 million for subsidies it used along with a penalty, for failing to live up to promises made in a $46 million corporate retention


awarded by the Industrial Development Agency in 2003.

While this is indeed welcomed news, it’s diminished by the fact that the subsidy package should never have happened in the first place.


GJNY testified

at a hearing before the subsidy was awarded, Pfizer is a mainstay of Manhattan’s East Side and didn’t need taxpayer’s money to expand its offices. Others, angry at Pfizer’s drug policies concerning

distribution of drugs

to poor people and those with


, were offended that public money would go to the pharma giant’s real estate pursuits. To top it off, in June of 2003, an executive was

quoted in Crain’s New York

saying the firm never planned to leave the city.

While details are sketchy, we assume the company fell out of favor with the city after closing its Brooklyn plant in 2007 where it’s been since the mid 1800’s and when word got out about

reductions in its workforce and Manhattan office space

. The Pfizer deal, while egregious, shows that the Bloomberg Administration allows for strong


(compared to his predecessor Rudy Giuliani) especially in the very early years of a deal; the city can demand 100% repayment and penalties for job losses before June 2011. Though the city’s handling of

the MetLife

deal shows recapture provisions aren’t always equally enforced.

The city, as of yet, hasn’t put out a press release detailing where the Pfizer deal went array, but it shouldn’t be shy about holding companies