Sunday, November 30, 2008

So, the 2006 IRS ruling the city requested for the Yankees hinged, in part, on a free luxury box

No major daily newspaper has been looking hard lately at Atlantic Yards, but the press keeps running with the Yankee Stadium story, thanks in part to new revelations via Assemblyman Richard Brodsky. E-mail messages from city officials acquired by Brodsky tell an interesting tale, as the Daily News reports:
Mayor Bloomberg's top aides engaged in a behind-the-scenes brawl to win a free luxury suite at the new Yankee Stadium that could wind up costing taxpayers, e-mails show.

Joseph Gunn, a city lawyer, in fact warned that the city would refuse to request a ruling from the Internal Revenue Service to allow tax-exempt funding if the city did not get the luxury suite.

As we know, such a Private Letter Ruling was achieved in 2006 for the Yankees and for the New York Mets. And the city this year successfully went to bat to get those rules grandfathered in for additional tax-exempt bonds for the baseball teams and, most importantly to the city, for tax-exempt bonds for the Atlantic Yards arena.

The coverage in the Times adds this piquant quote from Seth Pinsky of the New York City Economic Development Corporation: “This is a big issue to the mayor.”

We kind of knew that.

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