Score one for the little guy. After facing intense scrutiny over aggressive e-mails and shady land dealings, the City of New York will be giving up its luxury suite at the new Yankee Stadium for a cash payment. While this doesn’t really solve the rampant problem of the tax-exempt bonds, it’s a victory, albeit a small one, for good government groups.
Fernanda Santos has the story in The Times today:
After intense criticism, the Bloomberg administration has given up a perk it worked fervently to secure: a free luxury suite at the new Yankee Stadium.
The city will relinquish use of the 12-seat box in exchange for whatever revenue the Yankees generate by selling the seats, minus the cost of marketing them. Although neither the city nor the Yankees have publicly disclosed the market value of the suite, similar suites at the new stadium are being sold for as much as $600,000 a year…
Under the new arrangement with the city, the Yankees will be allowed to keep the parking spaces and use of the billboards, and the city will be guaranteed at least $100,000 for each baseball season, even if no one buys the suite. The deal was formalized last month in a letter from Mr. Pinsky to the Yankees president, Randy Levine, that was made public on Tuesday. A similar arrangement is being negotiated with the Mets, which also gave the city free use of a suite in its new ballpark, Citi Field.
While I think this is a fair deal, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky is a bit skeptical. “The taxpayers who are paying for the construction of Yankee Stadium cannot afford to buy tickets for the games, but the mayor was getting a luxury box, so he had to back off,” he said to The Times. “But the reason he backed off is because next week, the city is going to give the Yankees more taxpayer money.”
Next week, the city should just make the Yankees take taxed bonds. This whole thing would be over. Either way, King Mayor Bloomberg has discovered that if he doesn’t play nice, he doesn’t get his perks, and the city will give up a luxury box it probably could have gotten through more legitimate means. Such are the way of things.