Monday, October 29, 2007

"How new is ‘new’? Fuzzy math in city’s Yanks parks plan" Metro NY 10/29/7

How new is ‘new’?
Fuzzy math in city’s Yanks parks plan
by patrick arden / metro new york

OCT 29, 2007
SOUTH BRONX. The Bloomberg administration has always claimed more parkland will be created by the new Yankee Stadium project, which swallowed the 102-year-old Macombs Dam Park.

In recent months, the city has upped the numbers, saying 27.6 acres of replacement parkland will be built here, a clear gain of several acres for the community.

Yet 45 percent of these new parks — or 12.5 acres — already exist, either as mapped parkland or, in one case, as a schoolyard. Two of the replacement fields will be more than a mile away.

The replacement plan’s reliance on existing park parcels was acknowledged by Parks Dept. spokesman Warner Johnston, but “just because property is mapped as parkland, or Parks property, does not mean that it is fully developed into a dedicated park,” he said.

“They’re passing off park land the public’s been using for at least 70 years,” said Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates.
As a boy, Croft played punch ball on an asphalt parcel at 161st Street. It was used for parking during Yankee games, but always had a chain-link backstop and painted bases. The lot now has an interim artificial turf field and track, but will eventually be lost to a five-story garage.

Johnston explained the city’s plan will “transform” similar park property surrounding Yankee Stadium. “The replacement parks will reconstruct the parkland with new amenities and landscaping,” he said. A new artificial turf field at the West Bronx Recreation Center, for example, will go down on what was an “empty lot.”

That lot is 1.2 miles uphill from the former Macombs Dam Park. A mile southeast of the old park, another acre of artificial turf is being installed on the asphalt playground of P.S. 29, built 45 years ago.

“They’re putting in artificial turf — that’s not replacing anything,” Croft said.

Two tiny parking lots on River Avenue, both owned by the Parks Dept., will become the closest replacement parks. The smaller one shares its 0.24 acres with elevated train tracks.

Last Saturday, little league teams were still playing in what remains of Macombs Dam Park. Soon this 7.3 acres will become a construction site for a massive underground garage. The park is slated to return with its grass fields replaced by artificial turf on top of that garage. This won’t help coach Gabriel Barcacel, whose teams must move four miles north to play next year.

“The new fields are far away, and these are neighborhood kids,” Barcacel said, nodding at the cranes looming above the new stadium. “But what can we do? The giant wanted our park.”

Three easy pieces

The biggest chunk of replacement parkland will be the 8.9 acres under the current stadium. A 1.1-acre sidewalk plaza to the west is being counted as a new park, and a 5.4-acre parcel by the Major Deegan Expressway will be turned into a tennis concession.

The city and the state are spending $14 million to clean up this last spot, a polluted site on the Harlem River. When asked about the size of this parcel, a Parks Dept. spokesperson said it had now grown to 9.7 acres, because the city is including parkland the Related Companies promised to create as part of the government-subsidized Gateway Mall at the Bronx Terminal Market.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Stadium garage plan gets OK; Carrion drops opposition" Daily News 10/16/7

Stadium garage plan gets OK; Carrion drops opposition

Tuesday, October 16th 2007, 4:00 AM

A controversial plan to subsidize the new Yankee Stadium's parking garages has cleared its final hurdle, despite concerns over financing and traffic congestion.

The city's development agency voted for the plan last week after Bronx elected officials gave their approval.

The last obstacle was removed Oct. 5 when Borough President Adolfo Carrión dropped his opposition, and the Borough Board voted to endorse it.

Carrión had blocked the last attempt by the city's Industrial Development Agency to approve a $225 million tax-free bond issue to fund construction of the garages because, he said, the agency was withholding crucial documentation on the project.

But with what Carrión called "a thorough and informative presentation" by the city Economic Development Corp., which oversees the IDA, he endorsed the financing plan as "yet another important step toward realizing the goal of investment and community participation in the redevelopment of this area."

Councilwoman Helen Foster, however, whose Highbridge district covers the stadium area, voted against the plan.

"All along I've been opposed to the stadium and the traffic and congestion it would bring to the neighborhood," Foster said. "And this [garage] project will just encourage even more people to drive to the west Bronx."

Many of Foster's constituents worry the 9,000 parking spaces around the stadium will turn their already traffic- and asthma-choked neighborhood into a de facto park-and-ride hub - especially if the mayor's Manhattan congestion pricing plan becomes reality.

The new stadium project has faced strong local opposition from the surrounding neighborhood, in part because the city took away two large, popular local parks and gave them to the wealthiest franchise in sports.

"When are we going to put the needs of the community above the needs of an organization?" Foster asked.

The city controller's office, which also had expressed concerns about EDC's refusal to turn over documentation, endorsed the $225 million tax-free bond issue as well.

"We requested and received summaries of the lease agreement, the construction contract and the financing agreement," said controller's spokeswoman Laura Rivera. "And were told that the final versions would not differ substantively from what was shown to us."

Friday, October 12, 2007

"Yankees pull a squeeze play with stadium rent" Daily News 10/12/7

Yankees pull a squeeze play with stadium rent
Friday, October 12th 2007, 4:00 AM

The Yankees have failed to adequately account for $14 million the team deducted from its city rent bill the past two years - money team executives say they used for planning costs for the new Bronx stadium.

City officials confirmed yesterday they are challenging more than $9 million the team deducted from money it owes the city for its 2006 stadium rent.

In addition, thousands of canceled checks and invoices the team submitted to the Parks Department to justify the $9million deduction - plus an additional $5million deduction the team took for 2005 - are in such disarray that Yankees executives agreed last week to submit the paperwork all over again.

According to records the Yankees filed, copies of which the Daily News reviewed in a Freedom of Information request, the team grossed nearly $300 million last year from stadium admissions, concessions and cable TV receipts. Yet it paid $2.3 million - less than 1% of total revenues - in rent to this city.

Without the $9 million deduction and other credits the team took for stadium maintenance, the actual rent to the city would have been more than $17 million.

Among the documents the Yankees submitted to the city as deductions for "New Stadium Planning Costs" was a bill for more than $25,000 for hotel lodging for the players and coaches at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle in August 2005. The Yankees played a series with the Mariners during those dates.

Then there was an August 2006 tab for $11,000, covering the cost of 9,000 copies of 8-by-10-inch photos of players. Exactly what team travel bills and promotion photos have to do with planning a new stadium is anybody's guess.

"We've spoken with the Yankees, and all parties agree the receipts are not complete," said Parks Department spokesman Warner Johnston. "We received many expenses never intended to be accepted as rent credits. They [the Yankees] are making amendments, including a list of which expenses are to go to the rent credits and which do not."

But beyond just the bush-league accounting of baseball's most storied franchise is the bigger controversy over whether the Yankees had the right to claim the $9 million credit for last year.

In 2001, then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani negotiated a five-year lease extension that allowed the team to deduct up to $5 million in stadium rent each year for planning costs for the new stadium.

The deal was followed by a similar three-year extension by Mayor Bloomberg. Between the deals, the team received what amounted to a $40 million public subsidy of the new stadium.

Both agreements, however, required the Yankees to submit proof to the city that the costs incurred actually went for the new stadium. The Giuliani lease extension specified that the Yankees could deduct "the lesser of" $5 million each year or the "planning costs incurred by the tenant for such calendar year."

During those first five years, the team claimed only a total deduction of $16million in new stadium costs. Then last year it deducted an additional $9 million retroactively for costs from 2001 to 2004 - something city lawyers say doesn't appear to be permitted by the lease.

"The city is reviewing whether the $9million plus in credits claimed for costs in 2001 and 2004 ... whether they can now take that credit," a Law Department source said.

"We just disagree and we think it's covered in the amendments to the lease," said Alice McGillion, a spokeswoman for the Yankees, when told of the city's challenge.

As for all the ineligible bills the Yankees submitted to the city, McGillion conceded some errors were made, but said they would be fixed in the amended material the Yankees are preparing.

"We welcome the scrutiny and an audit," McGillion said. "We're confident the submission will pass muster."

But Bettina Damiani, the director of Good Jobs New York, a nonprofit economic group that has long opposed the huge public subsidies for the new stadium, isn't so sure.

"Yankee officials have perfected the art of corporate giveaway," Damiani said. "None of us would be permitted to manage a personal property transaction this way. Why do they get to play with our tax dollars so easily?"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Fiscally feasible? City pitches in for new stadium parking" Metro NY 10/10/7

Fiscally feasible?
City pitches in for new stadium parking
by patrick arden / metro new york

OCT 10, 2007
MANHATTAN. The city finally vowed to study the economic feasibility of building massive parking garages at the new Yankee Stadium yesterday — but only after it had given $218 million in tax-exempt bonds to the developer.

For two years, doubts have swirled around the controversial plan to invest hundreds of millions in garages that would be of use for just 81 games a year. Yesterday a spokesman for the city’s Industrial Development Agency acknowledged the “difficult economics” and the fact that, after a nearly two-year search, only one developer was found willing to take on the risk.

This developer turned out to be a politically connected not-for-profit that already defaulted on a taxpayer-financed project upstate. In the case of another default, the city could be liable for the debt, a spokesperson for Comptroller William Thompson told Metro in July.

When Community Initiatives Development Corp. was named by the IDA last April, its senior v.p. Joseph Seymour — a former executive director of the Port Authority — described the not-for-profit as a “pass-through to give the parking garages tax-exempt financing.” The money would go to a new subsidiary, Bronx Parking Development Co., which would be run by a board with representatives from three city agencies.

Tax-exempt financing lowers building costs, but questions remained about the financial viability of the garages. In September, IDA executive director Maureen Babis said the bond buyers had been located, though they were expecting a higher rate of return.

Yesterday they wanted assurances too. IDA spokesperson Janel Patterson said investors had requested that an outside consultant perform the study to validate the city’s financial projections. “The bonds should close this month,” she said.
In addition, BPDC will get $70 million from the state. One garage was eliminated from the plan to lower the cost, but after the 2008 season that lot can be developed by BPDC for retail or mixed use. Revenue from that “will flow into the garage project,” explained Patterson. Though the land is owned by the Parks Dept., she said, it “is not parkland, so [state] alienation is not needed.”

The new stadium required the alienation of 22 acres of parkland. BPDC will receive $32 million from the city to put a 7.3-acre portion of replacement parkland on top of one garage.

The city estimates the project will create 500 construction jobs, but just 12 full-time positions (and 70 part-time jobs) earning $11 an hour.

“It’s sad they gave their stamp of approval to a project that will create so little opportunity for the working poor,” said Bettina Damiani of watchdog group Good Jobs New York. “Can you imagine the people sitting around that table getting by on $11 an hour?”

Testimony of Bettina Damiani of Good Jobs New York Before the Domestic Policy Subcommittee Oversight and Government Reform 10/10/7

Click the title to read her testimony in full, but here is a taste:

"The Yankee Stadium project has drawn most of our attention because it so egregiously undermined democratic planning principles. It put the Yankee’s bottom line before the employment, recreational and public health needs of the South Bronx. It threatens to create more air pollution after the team and officials covertly seized 22 acres of heavily used parkland where the new stadium and parking facilities are currently being built. The committee heard from a local resident, Joyce Hogi, at your hearing held last March the impacts this project is having on her community."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"For Yankees, the Numbers Game Goes On" NY Times 10/10/7

For Yankees, the Numbers Game Goes On

Published: October 10, 2007
Baseball has ended in New York for this autumn, but the game continues. Yesterday morning, it was parking spaces: One of the invisible arms of city government agreed that 3,600 parking spots would be built in the Bronx for the new Yankee Stadium at a cost of about $80,000 per spot. Of these, 600 will be turned over to the Yankees for the team’s exclusive — and free — use. The general public will pay up to $25. The mind reels.

During Rudolph W. Giuliani’s last days in office, he said the team could deduct $5 million a year in “planning expenses” for the new ballpark from the rent it pays to the city for the old stadium. This arrangement was continued by Mr. Giuliani’s successor, Michael R. Bloomberg.

It is now Year 7 of the planning era, which runs through 2008.

And what is a planning expense? This summer, when asked by the city to document those costs, the team delivered a box of receipts, according to Warner Johnston, a spokesman for the city Parks Department, landlord of the current Yankee Stadium.

The impression given by this paperwork — mistakenly, the Yankees say — is that no one associated with the team ate a meal, parked a car, or drew a breath that could not be counted as part of the cost of planning the new ballpark, thus foisting it onto the taxpayers.

Included in the documents the team provided was a bill for 1,896 souvenirs for a raffle on Fan Appreciation Day in 2005 — $1 trinkets bought from a concession at the stadium. The team ran an online sweepstakes and hired a law firm to spell out the rules; the bill for the legal fees was in the planning expense box. So was the tab for thousands of dollars in baseball caps handed out to people in the luxury suites; a bill for 12 crystal baseballs that came to $1,825, including a “rush charge”; and thousands of dollars in meals billed by the Stadium Club restaurant for the clubhouse, umpires and “new business.”

Other expenses included gasoline bought by the grounds crew at the Singh Auto Mart on the Grand Concourse, the cost of shipping batting helmets to Tampa, Fla., and a cake inscribed “NY Yankees Welcomes Starwood.”

And then there was the serious money: hundreds of thousands the team paid to lobbyists and law firms as part of its planning costs.

These receipts, and others, were obtained under the Freedom of Information Law by Good Jobs New York, a labor-funded group that is critical of city subsidies for the new stadium. The Yankees, for their part, say the documents have been misunderstood: the team was not actually charging the city for all these costs, just a fraction of them.

“It has now been suggested that all items that were submitted were the subject of a rent credit request by the Yankees,” Alice McGillion, a spokeswoman for the team. “This is entirely, absolutely and definitively incorrect.”

The team will submit additional documentation “to avoid existing and future confusion,” Ms. McGillion said.

Mr. Johnston of the Parks Department said, “The Yankees will be working to identify which receipts are intended to be used for the planning credit.”

Even so, this is a moment in which the trivial is a reliable window onto the larger shape of things. The gasoline bills and grilled salmon meals will surely disappear from the $40 million provided by the public to help the Yankees, an immensely profitable private enterprise, plan a new, smaller ballpark with even more expensive tickets.

What will remain in the planning costs are the fees paid to politically connected lobbyists, bond lawyers and other advisers. (The Yankees retained Mr. Giuliani’s security firm to advise it on protecting the team and the old stadium.)

There is more to come, even in the side dishes like parking garages. The city’s Industrial Development Agency yesterday approved the issuance of $225 million in tax-free bonds for new parking platforms near the stadium and to renovate old garages. The state is giving $70 million. Just the closing costs on the bonds come to $14 million.

The city is supposed to receive $3.2 million in annual rent, if there is enough cash left after the bonds have been repaid. But other money vanishes: the city, state and federal governments will lose $58.3 million because the parking bonds are exempt from income tax, said Bettina Damiani, director of Good Jobs New York. She estimated the total subsidies for the new stadium at $795 million. Even if she’s batting .500, it’s clear this is a game worth playing year-round.

"Yanks Get New Garages After All" The Real Estate 10/10/7

Click the title to get the original post, but here's a taste:

"The lease—which will say just how much (or little) the city is going to make from letting a private operator build and run garages on its land—is still not complete, however, nor is the feasibility analysis, which will show just how well these garages will do financially and if they will be able to sustain themselves.

“It has redefined putting the cart before the horse,” said Bettina Damiani, project director of Good Jobs New York and a critic of the deal. “Details of the lease and feasibility of the project should always come first. It is more than disappointing to say that the board pretty much waved this through today without any serious debate.”

"Curveball thrown at public with Yankee Stadium garages" Daily News 10/10/7

Curveball thrown at public with Yankee Stadium garages
Wednesday, October 10th 2007, 4:00 AM

Taxpayers got a double whammy yesterday when a city agency approved $225 million in tax exempt bonds for a nonprofit group to build parking garages for the new Yankee Stadium.

First, the city's Industrial Development Agency, which approved the project, quietly inserted new provisions that guarantee millions more in taxpayer subsidies if the garages don't make a profit, documents show.

Second, the little-known nonprofit group picked to build the garages failed to list on its city application a previous foreclosure on another upstate project financed with tax-exempt bonds.

In 2002, the city of Syracuse foreclosed on $7 million in bonds issued to the Community Initiatives Development Corporation, the Hudson, N.Y.-based group chosen to build the Yankee garages.

CIDC, a little-known organization used by some local governments around the state as a vehicle for tax-exempt financing, built an apartment complex for senior citizens with the money. When the Syracuse complex failed to produce enough revenue, that city foreclosed on the bonds.

In March of this year, in a disclosure form to New York City's Economic Development Corp., CIDC chief William Loewenstein checked "no" to the question: "Has real property in which Applicant, or Affiliate or Principal, holds or has ever held an ownership interest ... now or ever been the subject of foreclosure."

Loewenstein did not respond yesterday to a call for comment.

"We are aware of the CIDC transaction in Syracuse," a spokeswoman for EDC said. The spokeswoman said the firm's "credit-worthiness" has nothing to do with the bond issue.

"The bonds [for the parking garages] will be supported entirely by the operating revenues from this project," she said.
Well, if the financial magicians at EDC are so sure the garage project is a guaranteed money-maker - even though it has ballooned in price to nearly $300 million - why did they insert a provision in the plan at the last minute sticking taxpayers with any losses?

Don't take my word for it.

Here's what an internal memo from EDC staff says about any payments-in-lieu of taxes (PILOTS) the garage owner would normally be required to pay:

"If in any year the project cash flow is insufficient to make a full payment of PILOT, payments will be deferred with interest ...."

Same goes for the rent the parking garages are supposed to pay. Right now, the city gets $3 million a year as its share of the Yankees parking revenue.

The new garages, the ones with thousands of additional spaces, the ones that will be charging $25 per game for parking, will be required to pay $3.2 million annually in rent to the city.

But that's only after the bond service and expenses are paid.

"If in any year, the project cash flow is insufficient to pay full rent to the city," says the EDC memo, "such rents will be deferred with interest ...."

In other words, after the bondholders get theirs, after all the management fees for the garages and employee salaries and the maintenance and overhead is taken care of, then and only then will city taxpayers see a dime for all the land and financial support given to the new Yankee Stadium garages.

Here's betting we never see a nickel.

"This is another huge giveaway," a stunned senior city official said when told the details of the garage financing.
Nothing of the sort, claims Mayor Bloomberg's EDC.

"To the extent that the cash flow is not sufficient to pay those amounts in full, the unpaid portions will accrue with interest to be paid later," the agency spokeswoman said.

Try that one on your credit card company.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"City Approves Subsidized Yankee Stadium Parking" Streetsblog 10/9/7

Streetsblog announces that the NYC Industrial Development Agency has approved $225 million in tax exempt bonds for parking deck construction at the new Yankee Stadium.

Click the title above for the details.

Friday, October 05, 2007

An open letter to BP Carrion

October 5, 2007

Honorable Adolfo Carrion, Jr
Borough President of the Bronx
851 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10451 by fax

Dear Borough President Carrion:

We are a group of Bronxites, environmentalists and community activists who have serious concerns about the development of new parking garages for the new Yankee Stadium

First, we want to thank you, Borough President Adolfo Carrion, for taking the lead in questioning the public financing of the garages for the Yankees. We are happy that the team is committed to staying in the Bronx. But while we are sure it is not intentional, many in the Bronx community feel estranged from the Yankee organization.

We hope that the pause for consideration that the Borough President has provided can lead to a more reasoned discussion.

There is a serious possibility that there is not as great a need for parking as was once thought and in fact that the cost of the garages cannot be supported by income from those who pay to park during games. Indeed parking Garage D has already been eliminated. If the Yankee Stadium plan proposes more parking than the stadium needs or can afford, we would argue that the garages shouldn’t be built. If there is flexibility in the number of spaces needed we propose the following in the hopes that a dialogue can begin.

Since parkland was alienated, that should be the first place to eliminate a garage. We propose that before alternate uses are considered for extra parking spaces, that the people's land, that is our parkland, be returned. We have a remarkable opportunity to close the gap in our estranged relationship with our neighbors.


Anita Antonetty
Karen Argenti
JJ Brennan
Greg Bell ~ Insight for New Housing
Joyce Hogi
Dart Westphal

Encl. List of concerns

Concerns surrounding Garages for Yankee Stadium, October 4, 2007

Relinquish Parking lot B returning a recreational facility to the community

Relinquish Parking Garages A and C to be developed and renovated exclusively as park. There could then be a continuous park including the current Yankee Stadium site at the same grade. There would be one continuous park from Sedgwick Avenue to River Avenue with plazas joining to Franz Siegel and Joyce Kilmer parks and the newly redesigned Grand Concourse.

Parking Lot 15 should be the site of the specialized high school

Establish a project monitoring committee that includes community residents

Parks should not be closed on game days

Parking Lots 7 & 10 should be used for buses with electrical hookups to prevent idling when the drivers want to keep their air conditioners on

Park and ride lots should be restricted to the riverfront to keep traffic out of the community, preferably Parking Lots designated 13A and C, with direct access to and from the Major Deegan Expressway

Reasonable parking fee for residents in the garages with options for game days

Resident ID stickers for street parking

Year-round bicycle parking facilities

Provide areas for tailgate parities and crew for cleanup

Ramp from Macombs Dam Park at Ogden Avenue to parks across 161st Street & Macombs Dam Bridge
Clarification of neighborhood retail space at area designated as Garage D

Identify area for closure / security staging on game days ~ possibly 164th Street

Thursday, October 04, 2007

"Watchdog: Yankees Abuse Stadium Tax Break" WCBS 10/4/7

Watchdog: Yankees Abuse Stadium Tax Break
Liz Hur, CBS 2 News

BRONX (CBS) ― The Yankees begin the post-season push Thursday night in Cleveland against the Indians. But back in the Bronx, a group claims that team officials are yanking your tax money to line their pockets.

Construction on the new Yankee Stadium is well underway, but construction of the $1.2 billion ballpark has had its share of protesters.

In 2006, protesters gathered against the idea.

"Give us back our parks! We do not want 400 trees cut down!" Bronx resident Geneva Causey said at one rally.

Today, the new stadium construction is a done deal, but the Yankees remain under a microscope.

A watchdog group says that Yankees officials are up to no good, claiming that team officials are making taxpayers pay for the Yankees' lavish expenses.

In 2001, then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani signed off on allowing the Yankees to deduct up to $5 million a year from their city taxes on stadium planning costs as rent payments for five years.

The group "Good Jobs New York" alleges that as part of their costs for building the new stadium, Yankees officials are submitting expense reports that are unrelated to planning costs, including crystal baseballs, post-season bar tabs and gifts for corporate clients.

However, a spokesperson for the team said that the new stadium is a privately funded project and says that the watchdog claims are "absolutely and definitively incorrect."

He said that receipts have never been submitted for rent credits.

Even so, Good Jobs New York maintains that it has proof of the expense reporting and is calling on the city comptroller to conduct an immediate audit.

"Yankees accused of misusing city money" Crain's 10/3/7

"Advocacy group Good Jobs New York accused the New York Yankees of using “stadium planning” subsidies to finance nearly $60,000 in frivolous expenses, and called on city Comptroller William Thompson to conduct an audit.

"The money in question was provided to the Yankees in 2001, when former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani authorized the team to deduct up to $5 million of stadium planning costs per year from its rent for five years.

"Under an April 2006 Freedom of Information Request to the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, Good Jobs received copies of Yankees receipts for the years in question and discovered charges that included $31,364 in food and bar tabs for two nights of the 2005 post season. In addition, approximately $28,000 was spent on novelties that included a dozen crystal baseballs ($1,978), “rivalry” wool caps for home games against Boston and Toronto ($8,600), 500 logo baseballs for an annual sales meeting ($1,037) and $2,037 in gifts for corporate clients like Sony, Ford and Continental Airlines.

“Everybody from local council members to the Comptroller to the mayor needs to make sure the Yankees don’t take advantage of the taxpayers’ dollars,” said Good Jobs project director Bettina Damiani."

Click the title to continue reading the article at Crain's.

"The Yanks Got Balls" Village Voice 10/2/7

"Mayor Mike Bloomberg has long insisted that his hands were tied by the Giuliani lease. But the latest documents show that Bloomberg's largesse to the Steinbrenner clan has gone far beyond even what was allowed by his predecessor. The original lease provisions allowed the teams to deduct "all [stadium planning] costs and expenses incurred by or on behalf of Tenant during the Credit Period"—defined as from January 1, 2001, through December 31, 2005—up to a limit of $5 million per calendar year. By the end of 2005, however, the Yankees had only spent down $16 million of their allotted $25 million.

"According to the parks department, the team was nonetheless allowed to deduct an additional $9,035,636 from its rent the following year, after the stadium-planning clause had expired. (The Yankees got an additional no-questions-asked $5 million rent break in 2006, as well as similar reductions in 2007 and 2008, courtesy of a clause added by Bloomberg as part of the final stadium deal.) Mayoral spokesman Jason Post says the lease was amended by Bloomberg in 2005 to allow late deductions "because the project was delayed."


"Dick Dadey, executive director of the Citizens Union, says the latest revelations only make the Yankees' sweetheart deal even sweeter: "I'm not surprised there is lax oversight over an ill-defined phrase in the agreement. But to allow the Yankees to include such ludicrous expenses as part of their stadium planning defies any reasonable person's sense of logic."

"Damiani points the finger at Bloomberg, who has built his reputation on minding the store: "To have nobody doing checks and balances on the New York Yankees is an embarrassment."

Click the title to read the full article.