Audit: Boston Redevelopment Authority a mess

The Associated PressJuly 17, 2014 

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is promising to overhaul the agency that oversees development in the city after an audit found deep-rooted problems that have led to a failure to collect millions of dollars in lease payments and fees owed by developers.

The audit of the Boston Redevelopment Authority described an agency incapable of performing basic functions, such as tracking payments, collecting rents on public property, and enforcing agreements with developers to improve roads and parks in exchange for approval of their projects.

The BRA has controlled building projects in the city since the 1950s.

The audit also faulted the agency for not having a "central repository" for its documents, most of which are kept in paper files rather than electronically.

"Is it alarming that we find out that there's deals out there that the city hasn't been paid on? Absolutely. That should not happen," said Walsh, who ordered the audit when he took office.

The Economic Development Industrial Corp., a BRA subsidiary, has accrued $4.3 million in outstanding rent for space leased in the Seaport District and Boston Marine Industrial Park alone.

Brian Golden, the BRA's acting director, called the agency a "mess."

"The organization historically has paid more attention to its external mission, urban planning and real estate development, than to its internal operations. So, decades of this neglect of the internal operation has created an abject mess," he said.

Reform is critical as development in the city booms, Walsh said. "I'm hopeful that reforming the BRA will help to make our city an even more attractive place to do business," he said.

The audit was conducted by KPMG.

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