Tuesday, July 10, 2012

While Prokhorov opens wallet for stars, community facing the Barclays Center arena won't see money for more cops, new railyard, increased subway service, worker training

Brooklyn Nets fans, led by the pseudonymous Net Income (aka Bob Windrem) are thrilled by the emergence of the team's big-spending owner, who's on the cusp of landing Dwight Howard, as I wrote today. As Windrem wrote July 6 on NetsDaily:
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.
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.
In other words, for Prokhorov, it's pretty much painless, and his wealth is based on savvy deal-making, good fortune, and inevitable corruption.

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:
This saves Ratner well over $100 million, just on the railyard. The rest are, relatively speaking, modest expenditures, though the police and subway costs should be among the more substantial.

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.

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