Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"City Declines To Participate In Hearing on Stadium Financing" the Sun 9/17/8

City Declines To Participate In Hearing on Stadium Financing
By PETER KIEFER, Staff Reporter of the Sun | September 17, 2008

The Bloomberg administration is scrapping plans to send one of its top economic officials to testify before a congressional panel that is investigating how sports stadiums and arenas receive public financing.

The president of the Economic Development Corp., Seth Pinsky, confirmed yesterday that he would not be testifying at a congressional hearing in Washington tomorrow called by Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio.

Mr. Pinsky said no other representative from the city will be attending in his place.

"We have informed the congressman that it will not work for us," Mr. Pinsky said. "But we remain happy to speak to him about this subject."

Tomorrow's hearing comes on the heels of a report that was critical of the city's role in helping finance the new Yankee Stadium. The report, issued by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, chairman of the Committee on Corporations, Commissions and Authorities, found that while the public contributed between $550 million and $850 million to Yankee Stadium, the development project will create just 15 new jobs.

The report also accused city officials of assessing the land under the new Yankee Stadium at 10 times the market value of virtually all other land in the South Bronx neighborhood.

At a press conference yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg defended the stadium plan and questioned some of the statistics provided in Mr. Brodsky's report.

"You have a right to your own ideas but not to your own facts," Mr. Bloomberg said. "It creates an enormous number of jobs. I don't know what his problem is."

Mr. Pinsky said the plan will create hundreds of jobs and provide hundreds of millions of dollars in investment in the Bronx, an area that he says is in need of investment.

"The good news is that Assemblyman Brodsky decided to get in his car and come down from Westchester to see a successful development project. The bad is that he issued a report that is willfully misinformed," Mr. Pinsky said.


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