Mikhail Prokhorov had a good day Thursday. According to the Forbes Real Time Billionaire Tracker, he made $26.37 million or almost enough to pay for Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace's salaries next season...in a day! Its that kind of wealth and the willingness to spend it that separates Prokhorov from most NBA owners ... and those who previously controlled the Nets.In other words, for Prokhorov, it's pretty much painless, and his wealth is based on savvy deal-making, good fortune, and inevitable corruption.
As Stefan Bondy writes Friday, the Nets moves already accomplished this week, plus the hoped-for acquisition of Dwight Howard would put his luxury tax bill for the next five years at $107.5 million.
But Prokhorov and especially his partner Bruce Ratner are pretty chintzy on the other end. Prokhorov saves from all the deals that Ratner, his partner on the arena, has made. And Ratner, rather than dig deeper into his corporate pocket or trade a greater share of ownership for Prokhorov's cash, has tried to save on many aspects that might make the project more "civic."
Here are a few things Ratner hasn't paid for or won't pay for:
- an Independent Compliance Monitor for the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)
- wages for trainees in a much-promoted training program that was mandated in the CBA, now subject of a lawsuit
- a replacement railyard the size initially promised
- increases in police coverage generated by the arena
- increases in subway service generated by the arena
- a residential permit parking program, as in a model CBA
- the removal of street trees (though Ratner eventually coughed it up)
- increased garbage pickup on blocks near the arena (this is unresolved)
And that's not even mentioning the significant direct subsidies ($271.5+ million), the giveaway of naming rights ($200+ million), tax breaks, low-cost land, and other benefits for the project. The New York City Independent Budget Office called the arena a money-loser for the city.