Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News reports today that an investigation into the public financing of the new Yankee Stadium project by Assembly Member Richard Brodsky, (Chair, Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions) has uncovered emails that show City officials inflated the land value under the new stadium, allowing the team to obtain a higher amount of tax-free bond financing.
This new revelation comes into play as Brodsky and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) chair of the House Domestic Policy Subcommittee have been pushing the city to release all email exchanges among city agencies on the issue. This past summer, Brodsky reported that his initial investigation suggested that the city Department of Finance boosted the value of the land from $26.8 million to $204 million.
While it would be out of character for Brodsky to end his quest for all the documents he’s requested, this newest finding he claims is the “smoking gun”.
But don’t think this recent news would cause city officials to reconsider a new round of public financing for the Yankees or the Mets. Yesterday, the New York City Industrial Development Agency posted a public hearing notice on a proposal to give the Yankees an additional $371 million in tax exempt financing (of which $111.9 million would be federally taxable) in addition to the $942 million approved in 2006. The Mets, which got $547 million at the same time the Yankees got their financing, are requesting $82.2 million more.
In the past few months, the new Yankee Stadium project has taken more twists and turns than any time since the project was announced in 2005. In addition to this week’s news, other emails made public recently showed that City Hall considered withholding its support for public financing if the City didn’t get a luxury suite with free food.
The news of more giveaways to rich baseball teams at a time when Gov. Paterson proposed a doomsday budget yesterday, we hope, will encourage New Yorkers to make their voices heard at next month’s IDA hearing.