´`Brodsky Seeks Delay in Yankee Stadium Vote`´ Yonkers Tribune 1/2/8
Brodsky Seeks Delay in Yankee Stadium Vote
Seeks Disclosure of Yankee Stadium Information
Elmsford, NY -- Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester), Chairman of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, today released a letter to the members of the New York City IDA asking them take two immediate steps with respect to the request for an additional $454 million in public funding for Yankee Stadium and Citi Field Stadium. The first request is to immediately make public secret documents bearing on additional funding requests and the role of City officials in the process. The second request is to delay the scheduled final vote until questions and concerns raised by the public can be answered. The final vote is now scheduled for 9 a.m. the day following the public hearing, after originally being scheduled for Inauguration Day, January 20.
"At a time when we can't fund the MTA or schools, the Bloomberg administration's insistence on an additional $454 million of corporate welfare makes no sense. The IDA is an independent State agency which is not supposed to be under the thumb of the Mayor's office. We are asking IDA board members to allow for a deliberate and open process to ensure that all points of view are heard and that New Yorkers are protected from more corporate welfare for the wealthiest corporations in our area. The spate of taxpayer bailouts of large corporations was at least justified by the threat that they would otherwise go out of business. There is no reason to provide public assistance to these hugely successful businesses at a time when taxes are rising, services are being cut, and jobs are being lost. We call on the IDA to do the right and legal thing."
A public hearing on the funding is currently scheduled for Thursday, January 15, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. at the NYCIDA offices at 110 William Street, 4th Floor, in New York City.
Assemblyman Brodsky has also provided to the board members copies of documents about the legal failures of the initial funding for Yankee Stadium and is seeking documents that clarify and explain the request for additional funding, the role of the IDA, and the role of other parties in the decisions that have brought us to this point, and has not received that information. The actual use for these additional millions of dollars remains unclear. It appears that any such information will be made publicly available only on Friday, January 9, 2009, and apparently only if inspected on-site at IDA offices, leaving only three business days to review the information.
"The lack of public information, the controversial nature of the proposal, the undue haste and secrecy surrounding this deliberation are inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the state laws governing IDA procedures," said Assemblyman Brodsky in his letter. "...We are particularly interested in the justification for the new funding, inasmuch as the initial funding was justified on a supposed Yankee threat to leave the City. Since the Yankees have signed a non-relocation agreement, it is unclear what justification can be made for the additional funding."
Please find below a copy of the letter sent to the following members of the NYCIDA Board of Directors:
STATE OF NEW YORK
RICHARD L. BRODSKY CHAIRMAN
Committee on Westchester County Corporations, Authorities and Commissions
December 31, 2008
Dear Ms. Burden,
I'm forwarding to you a copy of Reports and Memoranda that resulted from our examination of the decisions to provide public assistance for the construction of the New Yankee Stadium, which you may find of interest in your consideration of additional funding.
With respect to that decision, please note that the Committee has sought information and documents that would clarify and explain the request, the role of the IDA, and the role of other parties in the decisions that have brought us to this point. We have not received that information.
It appears that any such information will be made publicly available only on Friday, January 9, 2009, and apparently only if inspected on-site at IDA offices. This leaves only three business days to review the information.
Furthermore, it appears that a final vote on the additional funding has been scheduled for 9:00 a.m. the following day, rather than the vote previously scheduled for January 20, 2009, which, as you may know, is the date of the Presidential Inauguration.
The lack of public information, the controversial nature of the proposal, the undue haste and secrecy surrounding this deliberation are inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the state laws governing IDA procedures. As you can see from the Interim Report, the manipulation of the IDA process including the use of a Deviation Letter and an Inducement Resolution inconsistent with each other, the artificial inflation of property tax assessments by the City, the successful pursuit of a luxury suite for City officials, the failure to consider the affordability of stadium tickets, the lack of permanent job creation, the uncertainty about the Community Benefits Agreement and the parkland replacement are issues that must be considered as the additional funding is advanced. We are particularly interested in the justification for the new funding, inasmuch as the initial funding was justified on a supposed Yankee threat to leave the City. Since the Yankees have signed a non-relocation agreement, it is unclear what justification can be made for the additional funding.
Given these important unresolved matters, and the secrecy surrounding the information and decision making process, and given that the IDA is, as you know, supposed to be an independent state authority subject to the laws of the state, we ask that you require immediate publication of all relevant documents and postpone the actual vote to a time after answers to legitimate concerns and questions are provided. The integrity of government processes themselves is at stake, as much as the correctness of any decision to provide public assistance to the Yankees at a time of economic distress. I look forward to an early reply.