Yankee Stadium

2014: A Landmark Year for Subsidy Accountability

Two-thousand fourteen was a banner year for our movement, hands down. The first move to require standardized subsidy-cost reporting! The first half of a legally-binding two-state cease fire deal! The first state ban on tax-break commissions! A big surge found in state disclosure of subsidies! Big improvements to our Subsidy Tracker, enabling first-ever mash-ups!

Bondholders of Yankee Stadium Garage Bonds Get Extra Innings

The April 1 deadline for the Bronx Parking Development Corporation to get its act together is no prank. Thanks to a glut of parking space at the new – subsidized to the hilt - Yankee Stadium, the parking garages, also subsidized to the hilt, have gone so unused the owners are struggling to pay its bondholders. It was widely reported that the $237 million in private activity bonds to finance the garage were going to default at the end of next week. However, today Juan Gonzalez at the Daily News reports that directors at the firm agreed to dip into its debt reserves (again) to pay the bondholders as well changes to its operations, like getting approval for expenses from an appointee chosen by the bondholders.
 
We can’t say New Yorkers didn’t see this coming.

Report Documents Proof of Low-wage Employment at NYC Subsidized Projects

This week, Good Jobs New York, along with the Fiscal Policy Institute and the National Employment Law Project, released a report highlighting how New York City economic development policies often support low-wage jobs.

New York Baseball Teams’ Win Is Taxpayers’ Loss

Last Friday, just one day after a heavily attended public hearing, the New York City Industrial Development Agency (IDA) approved

“Gaming the Tax Code” Hearing Yields No Winners

It didn't break through the coverage of the presidential election or the meltdown of our financial system, but corporate welfare was center stage at the Capitol last Friday.

In his fourth Congressional hearing into the economic benefits - or lack thereof - of taxpayer-subsidized stadiums, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) summoned to Washington the masterminds of America's most expensive stadium: the Yankees' new palace going up in the South Bronx. There was Randy Levine, President of the Yankees; Seth Pinksy, President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation; Martha Stark, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Finance defending the project. Also testifying was Assembly Member Richard Brodsky who as Chairman of the state's Assembly Committee on Corporations, Commissions and Authorities is conducting an investigation into the use of public financing for the project.

If attendees (yours truly sat in)  and web watchers (see www.fieldofschemes.com and www.atlanticyardsreport for the play by play) expected the hearing to clarify how the Yankees project  - considered by many the murkiest deal in recent New York history - got a bundle of bond financing, they came away disappointed.

Legislative Umpires Call Yankees Out

The controversy around the public financing of the new Yankee Stadium heated up this week as a New York State legislator and a member of Congress put the squeeze on the team and New York City officials who helped finance the $1.3 billion stadium.

Testifying before the House Subcommittee on Domestic Policy, New York Assemblyman Richard Brodsky revealed that his summer-long investigation into the public financing of the new stadium shows that the city's job creation figures and property tax assessments might not be up to par.  And Rep. Dennis Kucinich, chairman of the Subcommittee who has held two previous hearings on the use of tax-exempt bond financing for stadiums said:

"In the case of the new Yankee Stadium, not only have we found waste and abuse of public dollars subsidizing a project that is for the exclusive benefit of a private entity, the Yankees, but also we have discovered serious questions about the accuracy of certain representations made by the City of New York to the federal government."

Maybe some subsidies for MLB are not meant to be

With all the public funding New York City has lavished on the Yankees and Mets for their new stadiums (with amazingly high ticket prices), Major League Baseball is having a field day in the big apple.