City: SI Yanks owe $300K in payments

Is Scott Downs worth the cost?
Open Thread: Happy Veteran's Day

According to the New York City Comptroller’s Office and the Economic Development Corporation, the Staten Island Yankees, New York-Penn League affiliates of the Bronx club and owned by the Yanks, owe the city $300,000 in back-rent, unreported attendance totals and improper deductions. The team does not agree, and the SI Yanks plan to bring the issue to an arbitration hearing.

The finer points of the dispute are rather arcane, but Comptroller John Liu lays them out in a press release which accompanies his office’s audit report (PDF). In essence, the terms of the lease deal between the SI Yankees and the EDC make rent payment levels contingent upon game attendance figures, and the team must pay a fee for each now-show complimentary ticket it issues over the course of the season. The team, says Liu’s office, underreported attendance totals for the 2009 season and now owes the city $118,366 in rent and $39,140 in no-show and complimentary ticket fees. Separately, the team took unallowable deductions in calculating money owed to the city through its net-signage revenue provisions and now must pony up $151,058. The EDC, leaseholders of the stadium in Richmond County, say the team owes back-rent and ticket fee payments only but not the net-signage revenue.

To rectify these deficiencies, the Comptroller’s Office has urged the team over the $308,564 it ostensibly owes while instituting better controls for its complimentary ticket policy. Since the various parties disagree, to arbitration this will go. As Frank Donnelly at reported, the two sides “want to put the issue behind them,” but the EDC is prepared to go to court to collect its money. And once again, a professional sports franchise with a sweetheart stadium deal from its host seems to be withholding money that should go to fill the city’s coffers.

Is Scott Downs worth the cost?
Open Thread: Happy Veteran's Day
  • Xstar7

    I wonder where all those missing tickets went….

    • Ghost

      Maybe Allen Iverson was in attendance and they gave it to him so he could accommodate his new Turkish fan base?

  • Tom Swift

    Aren’t you assuming that the City is right? It may be that the ball club has a valid basis not to pay.

    • Chris

      Exactly. The city may be in error – which is why there is an arbitration/court system for this.

  • The Ed(itor)

    I think the tickets went to the Mayor.
    I have never known an audit by a governmental unit to be accurate. That is why there is arbitration.

  • Larry

    Interesting to read the actual audit report and such…basically the city claims that they should have rent calculated on suites they donated to charities for auctions and whatnot. The Yankees say that the agreement specifically excludes these type of things from attendance calculation (I assume because the team is not paid for them). It does not seem to be disputed that the suites were in fact used for charity type things (they have letters from the donees thanking the Yankees and such), nor does it seem that there is any dispute that such tickets are excluded from attendance counts.
    It just seems like the city is saying that is not what they were really for…and the Yankees are going to put evidence on that yes it was.
    Any one who has dealt with government agencies would get a laugh out of some parts of the report (they make a series of what they call “recommendations”…several of which are “Pay us $300,000”)

  • S

    Its funny when you see the actual attendence they are recording now compared to how successful they said they were the last few years. Hasn’t this been the organization bragging about sellouts and posting attendence records of over 200,000 per year? All you read in the papers was 26 sellouts in ’09 . . if you count the box scores you may find something different. Interesting . . . maybe the city isn’t at fault.