If you have ever harbored thought of becoming a delinquent tenant, the Boston Redevelopment Authority is your kind of landlord.
According to a just-released audit, the city’s main development agency has left millions of dollars on the table in uncollected rents and fees for the property it owns, from the Marine Industrial Park to Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Just how much has gone unclaimed isn’t known, because, frankly, the city’s pro bono auditor didn’t have time to get to the bottom of the BRA’s bookkeeping.
The auditor was shocked that operations that in any modern business would be computerized have instead been recorded on legal pads, the details of long-term leases all but forgotten. One tenant in the Marine Industrial Park recently agreed to settle a $1 million debt for $400,000, after city officials discovered a string of incorrectly forgiven missed payments.
“I was surprised that there wasn’t a better process in collecting money to the city,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Thursday. “It’s money that could be used for housing and amenities and other things to free up tax dollars.”
As a candidate last year, Walsh talked about revamping the BRA. Back then, he had no idea what its real issues were. He thought the biggest problem with the agency was that it didn’t listen enough to neighborhood concerns. With access to its inner workings, he has learned that the agency’s problems are far more basic.
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