Thursday, September 06, 2007

"Still waiting for cash from Yankees' Stadium deal" Daily News 9/5/7

Still waiting for cash from Yankees' Stadium deal

Wednesday, September 5th 2007, 4:00 AM
Foot-dragging by Bronx elected and political officials has delayed the implementation of a lucrative community benefits agreement with the Yankees.

The agreement was worked out in April of last year and paved the way for City Council approval of the Yankees' new $800 million stadium. Construction began shortly afterward.

But more than a year later, the required structure has yet to be set up for turning the paper agreement into cash grants - totalling $800,000 a year - for needy community groups, schools, youth and sports teams, and other nonprofit organizations.

The agreement also calls for the Yankees to provide 15,000 free Yankee tickets a year to Bronx youth and sports groups and others, along with sports equipment and promotional merchandise valued at $375,000 a year.

None of that has happened because Bronx elected and political officials haven't set up the required Bronx Community Trust Fund to administer that part of the agreement. Nor have they obtained the proper charitable exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.

"There have been too many cooks involved in making the soup," one knowledgeable Bronx official said.

The Yankees placed the $800,000 that could have been paid out this year in escrow until the trust is properly established.
"The New York Yankees stand ready, once a legally constituted trust is established to move the money from escrow to the fund," said Yankees spokeswoman Alice McGillion.

Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, who opposed the new stadium because it appropriated parkland, blasted the delay.

"It's disgraceful," he said. "It's reprehensible these funds have not been distributed to those most impacted, instead of sitting in some supposed account."

Among the officials who are supposed to establish the fund and name its advisory panel are the eight City Council members from the Bronx, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión and Bronx Democratic chairman and Assemblyman Jose Rivera.

Carrión's spokesman, Mike Murphy, stated, "The list of nominees for the Yankee Fund Advisory Panel has recently been submitted to the New York Yankees and it is expected that this panel will convene shortly. The borough president is pleased that this process is moving forward and it is his expectation that once the panel is in place the process for distributing the funds will begin."


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