A New Controversy at the New Yankee Stadium

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If you’ve been watching the antics around the development of the new Yankee Stadium, it shouldn’t be a surprise that another controversy has taken place.

The issue being raised in recent days by Rep. Kucinich (D-Ohio) and New York Assembly Member Richard Brodsky is that city officials may have lent a helping hand to the Yankees by boosting the value of the land for the new Yankee Stadium for property tax purposes.

It appears that city assessors jacked up the value of the land under the new stadium so that the Yankees would receive nearly a billion dollars in tax free bonds. Making the land more valuable allowed more borrowing.

Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News reported yesterday that the city may have estimated the value of the stadium seven times over. He reports that one estimate stands at $275 a square foot, far from what is land is valued in the South Bronx.

Rep. Kucinich isn’t holding back and has requested documents related to assessments from the Internal Revenue Service, National Park Service (the city needed the NPS’s OK since the new stadium is being built on a park upgraded with federal funds), New York City Department of Finance, New York City Economic Development Agency (that via its Industrial Development Agency allocated $942 million in tax-free bonds) and Randy Levine, President of the New York Yankees. Kucinich’s committee expects to hold a hearing in September.

It’s worth pointing out that neither Kucinich, the Congress Member from Ohio nor Brodsky represent New York City. One can only guess why elected representatives from New York City are sitting this one out. Brodsky represents a portion of suburbs north of the city and is chair of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions.

Media alert: I’m scheduled to appear on tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) edition of Democracy Now! (check out your stations listings or podcast info) hosted by Juan Gonzalez about the Yankee project with others to include guests Rep. Kucinich and stadium subsidy guru Neil deMause.

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