Saturday, April 07, 2007

"Mayor Criticizes Yankee Stadium Construction" WNBC 4/6/7

Mayor Criticizes Yankee Stadium Construction
Says Men Being Paid By Yankees Have "Criminal Problems"

POSTED: 9:34 pm EDT April 5, 2007
UPDATED: 10:14 am EDT April 6, 2007

NEW YORK -- Mayor Bloomberg says his office called to complain to the Yankee organization about the team's decision to use a construction firm accused of having ties to the mafia. Bloomberg said the construction firm, Interstate Industrial, "clearly is not a firm the city would contract with."

Interstate Industrial has been hired by the Yankees, and its main construction firm Turner Construction Corp., to lay the foundation for the new Yankee Stadium. But Interstate's owners, Frank and Peter DiTommaso, were indicted on perjury charges back in July. Officials accuse the brothers of lying to a Bronx grand jury about $165,000 in illegal payments to given to Rudy Giuliani's former police and correction commissioner Bernard Kerik.

Court and city documents show the City's Department of Investigation, New Jersey state investigators and the FBI have also linked the DiTommasos, and their firm, to members of the Gambino crime family. Part of that evidence is from mafia turncoats who testified in open court during cases like the trial of Peter Gotti.

The DiTommasos insist they are innocent, have been unfairly smeared and have done nothing wrong. "The city maintains, and has maintained documents that totally contradict every derogatory statement made by these informants at those trials," Frank DiTommaso said. He went on to say he would welcome a public city hearing to clear his name.

As for the Yankees, the team again declined comment or provide an official explanation as to why Interstate was hired. Turner Construction has said the Interstate has done great work in the past and submitted a qualified bid. Turner also said monitors are in place at the site to try to prevent any wrongdoing. But sources say the monitor was hired only after Interstate was hired by Turner for the job.

The mayor said it appears "there is nothing legally that the city can do I think to prevent them from working. Obviously I would prefer if (the Yankees) only dealt with reputable firms that didn't have criminal problems."

Turner says Interstate is not being paid with taxpayer money, only Yankee organization money. Critics point out the team is building on city-owned parkland and was given $250 million in taxpayer dollars to help fund the $1.2 billion dollar project.
"Any project that has public dollars supporting it should be done 'high road'," said Bettina Damiani of the group 'Good Jobs New York.' The stadium project "should have best practices and there should be opportunities for transparentness and for more public involvement," she said.


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