- (Huffington) - 4 years, 10 months ago...
"Wall Street bankers supposedly back the Yankees; Smith College girls approve of them. God, Brooks Brothers, and United States Steel are believed to be solidly in the Yankees' corner... but, as they say, who can fall in love with U.S. Steel?" - Gay Talese in "There Are Fans... And Yankee Fans" On Thursday afternoon, some 48,271 New York Yankees fans took a break from the drumbeat of lost jobs and looming tax hikes to take in the season opener, forking over anywhere from $95 to $2,625 for a seat with a view. As these good folks tried to get relief from endangered paychecks and rising property assessments, at least a few suffered envy and anger as they thought about the millions, perhaps even $1 billion-plus, in public subsidies that went into building the brand-new stadium. The beneficiary of all that cash is one of the most lucrative sports operations in the country, Yankee Global Enterprises LLC, the franchise George Steinbrenner bought for $8.7 million in 1973 and turned into an empire with a value pegged, last year, at $1.2 billion. Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg did not blink at this transfer of money to the deserving rich - George Steinbrenner and his two sons, Hal and Hugh. Not everyone shares the Giuliani-Bloomberg view of how to spend taxpayer dollars. Westchester County Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, the Don Quixote of sports politics, has been conducting a one-man assault on the financing of Yankee Stadium, but, so far, has little or nothing beyond few headlines to show for it. In a series of lengthy, detailed and footnoted reports, Brodsky has tried to prove that the construction of the new stadium is, as he told the Huffington Post in characteristically moderate New York language, "the most outrageous and dishonest a deal as has ever existed," engineered by Yankee executives who are nothing more than "bullies and thugs." Brodsky, chair of the NY Assembly Committee on Corporations, Commissions and Authorities, found that "inappropriate and secretive lobbying by highly paid and politically connected procurement lobbyists, inappropriate hiring of politically connected former government officials, disposition of public property for less than its true value, [and] interference with investigations of such behavior" produced a deal with a "total cost to taxpayers and savings to the Yankees [of] between $585 million and $826 million." The Mayor's office, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the NY City Industrial Agency (IDA) dispute Brodsky's calculations, and, using different accounting methods - method some challenge -- argue that the city emerges from the deal a net $59.7 million ahead. In fact, as the baseball season starts in earnest and the basketball and hockey seasons wind down, New York got what might be described as one of the "least bad" deals in negotiating who will pick up how much of the tab fo...see complete article.
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