Monday, September 15, 2008

More details emerge on Yankees lobbying efforts re tax-free bonds

The Daily News has the scoop:
The city and the Yankees secretly crafted a letter Rep. Charles Rangel used to lobby the IRS for tax changes that would save the team $66 million, the Daily News has learned.


The arena connection

Yes, the Atlantic Yards arena is part of this controversy. The article concludes:
In 2006, Akin Gump - a bipartisan firm that for years has donated thousands to both Democrats and Republicans - reported that the Yankees hired the firm to lobby the U.S. Department of Interior for "federal approval required to complete stadium relocation."

That job ended Jan. 1, 2007. Levine said the Yankees hired the law firm again three months ago - this time to represent the team in a congressional probe on the use of public funds for sports arenas. Hearings are set for this week.

Levine said the firm had nothing to do with the Rangel letter and insisted the letter was meant to serve the interests of the Yankees and other projects, such as the Mets' new stadium and developer Bruce Ratner's proposed Nets' arena in Brooklyn.

Mets officials said they had nothing to do with the letter.

A spokesman for Ratner did not return calls.


So one of the lingering questions is whether Forest City Ratner had anything to do with the letter.

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