Thursday, October 04, 2007

"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."

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