Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"New York assemblyman heads to D.C. over stadium subsidy" New York Newsdays 9/15/8

New York assemblyman heads to D.C. over stadium subsidy
By VALERIE BAUMAN | Associated Press Writer

ALBANY, N.Y. — State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky said he will issue a report Tuesday finding that New York City manipulated the assessed value of the new Yankee Stadium to get an Internal Revenue Service tax exemption.

"We have done a fair, careful, thorough analysis and have uncovered some very disturbing things," Brodsky said.

Seth Pinsky, president of the New York City Industrial Development Agency, said he hasn't seen the report but rejects its claims. He said the new stadium will create 1,000 permanent jobs, add new infrastructure and transportation access to the Bronx and was already subject to nearly 20 public hearings.

"It appears the assemblyman is rehashing charges that he has made repeatedly and to which we have responded," Pinsky said.

Brodsky has questioned the Yankees' request to subsidize the stadium with US$336 million in public funds issued by the IDA.
He said the report indicates that tax payers - not the Yankees - are paying for the construction of the new stadium. The report indicates that tax payers have spent between $550 million and $850 million on the project to create only 15 new permanent jobs.

Brodsky is the chairman of the Assembly committee on corporations, commissions and authorities, which has jurisdiction to review proposals involving IDAs.

The Westchester Democrat said the IDA may have violated the law by creating massive amounts of public debt and by failing to assure public benefits from the taxpayer investment.

Brodsky also said the city didn't protect the public from excessive ticket prices by the Yankees.

Yankees spokeswoman Alice McGillion questioned the report's accuracy.

"Assemblyman Brodsky has never let an accurate fact stand in the way of his grandstanding in a press release or press conference," she said.

The report is based on a review of thousands of pages of documents and sworn testimony and meetings from city officials. Brodsky plans to present the report to Congress on Thursday.

Brodsky also said the IDA and Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office secretly acquired a luxury suite with proceeds from stadium bonds.

Bloomberg spokesman Andrew Brent said the project was examined thoroughly in numerous public meetings and hearings before being approved by the Assembly and Brodsky.

"Not only does the assemblyman have the facts wrong, but also his willingness to ignore basic information about the project suggests that getting the facts right may not be his chief concern," Brent said.


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