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.


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