(Yankee prez Randy Levine unveiling plans for a bust of Rudy Giuliani in Monument Park)
Though the Mets are running away with the NL East and the Yankees are in a dogfight for the AL Wild Card, there will always be one realm in which the Highlanders are far and away, the superior of the two clubs. And that’s when it comes to fucking over the people of New York. From the Village Voice’s Neil deMause (link courtesy Wojohowicz).
City documents newly uncovered by the Voice reveal that the New York Yankees billed city tax- payers hundreds of thousands of dollars for the salaries of team execs and high-powered consultants to lobby the city and state, thanks to the team’s sweetheart lease deal engineered by the Giuliani administration.”You’ve created this weird circular situation where the city is, effectively, paying with taxpayer money to have itself lobbied for potentially more taxpayer money,” says Common Cause’s Megan Quattlebaum, one of several government watchdogs who were dumbfounded when the Voice told them last week about the deal. “Taxpayers would not be pleased at all to hear that the city is subsidizing someone to come back and hold their hand out to lobby for more.”
The Yankees are apparently taking advantage of a clause in their lease with the city that allows “planning costs” of their new $1.3 billion stadium”groundbreaking for which could take place as soon as next week”to be deducted from the team’s rent. The planning deductions date back to a lease renegotiation arranged by Mayor Rudy Giuliani in his final days in office. Under the December 28, 2001, lease deal, both the Yankees and the Mets were allowed to deduct up to $5 million apiece from their annual rent payments to the city, to be used for planning the new stadiums that Giuliani proposed to build, with city aid, across the street from the teams’ existing homes.
One month later, incoming mayor Mike Bloomberg scotched Giuliani’s stadium plans, declaring it was “just not practical this year to go and build stadiums.” But he let the new Giuliani leases stand, even as Comptroller William Thompson insisted they were unnecessary giveaways and demanded they be renegotiated. As a result, according to the city parks department, which oversees the teams’ leases, from 2001 to 2005 the Yankees charged the city $15.97 million under the “planning cost” clause; the Mets, $20.2 million.
For starters, Yankees president Randy Levine (a former deputy mayor under Giuliani) and the team’s chief operating officer, Lonn Trost”the two top Yankee officials working for passage of the stadium deal”received a combined $312,500 in city money in 2004. The Yankees’ justification, according to the documents: The amount totaled 30 percent of Levine’s annual salary and 20 percent of Trost’s, representing the time each spent working on the stadium project.