"New York assemblyman queries Yankees on stadium subsidy" Daily News July 28
New York assemblyman queries Yankees on stadium subsidy
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Monday, July 28th 2008, 4:22 PM
ALBANY, N.Y. - New York Assemblyman Richard Brodsky wants the Yankees to explain why the proposed value for land under Yankee Stadium appears inflated in an Internal Revenue Service tax estimate.
He also wants to know if the city agencies considering the team's request for public funds will get a luxury suite in the new stadium.
The Westchester Democrat raised the questions in a letter to Yankees' President Randy Levine released Monday. Brodsky has questioned the Yankees' request to subsidize the new stadium using $336 million in public funds issued by the city's Industrial Development Agency.
Brodsky also questions the Yankees about 2009 ticket prices and if there will be access for poorer fans.
A spokeswoman for Levine declined comment. A spokeswoman for the IDA said she hasn't seen Brodsky's letter and had no immediate comment.
"This goes to the heart of whether it is a public project or a private project," Brodsky said in an interview. He said his review of documents concerning the project differ from public comments about the deal that would use public support to help the Yankees build their new stadium in the Bronx.
IDA funds, which can include temporary tax breaks and incentives, are most commonly used to attract employers to an area served by the IDA and who promises to increase the number of jobs. Brodsky is chairman of the state Assembly's Corporations, Authorities and Commissions committee, which has jurisdiction to review proposals involving IDAs.
Brodsky seeks answers to several questions about:
A New York City appraisal, obtained by Brodsky, that shows the land under the new Yankee Stadium is valued at $21 million, while city officials once told the IRS the land was worth $204 million.
The apparent purchase of a luxury suite" at the stadium by officials for the city and the city IDA
Ticket prices for 2009 and whether low-income fans will have any seats set aside at prices they could afford.
Facts backing up statements from the Yankees organization that the team would have left New York City if it didn't receive a public subsidy.
The number of jobs to be created by the short, but expensive move across the street from their current stadium.
In a July 2 letter from Levine, released Monday by Brodsky, the Yankees stated about 35 percent of tickets at the new stadium will cost $25 or less. Levine also stated that, so far, New York state firms (including a large share in the city) have received $443 million in contracts.
Levine also noted that the stadium proposal has already been reviewed by several state and city government boards, including the state Legislature where Brodsky supported it twice, and was picked apart by critics and in two losing lawsuits against the project.
The Yankees seek additional public support from the New York City IDA beyond the $941 million in tax-exempt public bonds the organization already has issued for the $1.3 billion stadium. Under current IRS regulations, the Yankees cannot ask for more public debt to be incurred for the stadium. But city officials have been lobbying Washington for a change in IRS regulations that would allow the Yankees to get the additional tax-exempt bonds they say they need.
Such a change could help other big stadium projects.