No Runs, No Hits, Many Errors
January 13th, 2009

The Bloomberg administration’s decision to give up its luxury suite and other perks at the new Yankee Stadium has not stopped criticism of the city handling of the financing for the stadium. In a statement released today, City Comptroller William Thompson slammed the administration for ” financial incompetence saddling city taxpayers with astronomically steeper costs” for the house that George built.

According to Thompson, who is running against Michael Bloomberg, taxpayers were told in 2006 that they would shell out $129 million for direct capital costs for the stadium, such as replacing parkland and improved infrastructure. That figure has now increased to $325 million.

As much as New Yorkers may love the Bombers (those of us who aren’t Mets fans, away), spending for their stadium has come under increased scrutiny as the city has slipped into tough fiscal times.
Thompson certainly took up that theme, saying in his statement, “At a time when we can least afford it, the administration is bending over backward to subsidize an enormously profitable corporation, one that just signed three players to contracts worth a total of $423 million.

On Friday, the city Industrial Development Agency will vote on whether to issue an additional $370 million in bonds — some of them tax exempt — to finance the stadium. Thompson called for the vote to be postponed ” so that the city can negotiate a better deal.”

That money, Jim Dwyer reported in the Saturday Times, will go to upgrade suites, washrooms and other seating, improved television and sound systems, and new and expanded dining facilities. Reminding readers that Bloomberg canceled stadium deals in 2002, when the city also faced hard times, Dwyer asked, “How is it that Mayor Bloomberg wants the public to help a professional sports team pay for a Yankee steakhouse and televisions in luxury suites?”

Meanwhile Assemblymembers Jim Brennan and Richard Brodsky will hold hearings into the financing of the stadium, particularly the plan to issue the additional bonds. Like Thompson, Brennan and Brodsky apparently would like the city to postpone approving the extra funding. “The citys attempt to ram through this complicated project without disclosure of its implications is not acceptable, Brodsky was quoted as saying.

Bloomberg continues to defend the stadium deal. Today his spokesperson, Andrew Brent told the Associated Press that the arrangement “will result in New York City getting back more tax revenue than it will cost and the South Bronx getting thousands of new jobs and more than $1 billion in private investment.”

By on January 13, 2009, 3:30 pm
In category: Albany,Gotham City,Land Use,Parks,Public Finance | Comments Off on No Runs, No Hits, Many Errors

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