Friday, September 19, 2008

"Dennis Kucinich says Yankee Stadium tax deals smell bad" Daily News 9/18/8

Dennis Kucinich says Yankee Stadium tax deals smell bad

Thursday, September 18th 2008, 8:08 PM
Taxpayer handouts for the new Yankee Stadium should stop until questions are answered about "improprieties and possible fraud" regarding $942 million in tax-exempt bonds already approved, a congressman said Thursday.

In a hearing on Capitol Hill, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) claimed his ongoing probe of the deal has uncovered "substantial evidence of improprieties and possible fraud by the financial architects of the new Yankees Stadium."

Neither the Yankees nor city officials showed, though both were invited.

Kucinich zeroed in on disparities in the appraisal of land under the stadium raised last week by the Daily News' Juan Gonzalez.

A city-hired appraiser valued the land at $40 million, while a city agency put the figure at $204 million, documents show.
The $204 million appraisal was used last year to get the Internal Revenue Service to sign off on $924 million in tax-exempt bonds.

Kucinich raised the possibility that the approval could be rescinded if the appraisal was discovered to be a lie.

He said his investigation had raised "serious questions about the accuracy" of unnamed city officials' statements to the IRS in winning approval for the original funds.

An IRS official, Stephen Larson, implied the tax agency would likely look at The News' articles on the appraisal disparities, stating, "Given what's in the papers recently, we have a fact pattern that's getting awfully close."

Thursday Alice McGillion, a spokeswoman for the Yankees, declined to comment on the subjects raised at the Kucinich hearing.


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