092908silver.jpgThe much-maligned Lower Manhattan Development Corporation is in the news again with charges from the Post that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has turned it into "his own multimillion-dollar piggy bank." The LMDC is the Ground Zero rebuilding agency whose closing has been called upon at various points by former Governors Pataki and Spitzer and most recently by Mayor Bloomberg this summer. While funding for the agency has gone down overall, the amount of grants that have gone out to groups supported by Silver has allegedly tripled in the last two years. One anonymous critic tells the paper, "The allocations look more like [Silver's] 'member items' these days." Spokesmen for both Silver and the LMDC defend the grants as all going to groups vital in the rebuilding process and wh have all been approved by a board of directors put in place by Bloomberg and Spitzer.