Another day, another fun story from the New York Daily News about just how sleazy getting a ballpark built in New York can be. The other day, the Yankees were accused of lobbying a Congressman to pressure the IRS at the team's benefit. That was naughty enough. But today, New York Assemblyman Richard Brodsky is alleging the Yankees have cheated the rules at every step to secure as much public financing as possible for the new Yankee Stadium. That's not very nice, either:
The new Yankee stadium got up to $850 million in taxpayer investments but will create just 15 permanent jobs, a scathing new report charges. The city "manipulated" the assessed value of the stadium to meet the need for an IRS tax exemption. The city appraised the value of the new stadium land at $21 million, but told the IRS it was worth $204 million. [...] "Sworn commitments" to the IRS and the National Park Service were not kept. [...] The Industrial Development Agency and the mayor's office "secretly" acquired a luxury suite.
And so on and so forth. Perhaps the most damaging -- and least accurate, if you believe a Yankees spokesperson -- is that the new stadium is merely providing 15 new jobs to the community. At a cost of $850 million in taxpayer funds, that's a really, really ugly number. If it's true.
The takeaway here is not that the Yankees are evil. It's that achieving anything this large in New York, with this much public money at stake, is incredibly dirty business. Well, gee whiz. Who knew?