Thursday, October 4, 2007


Dinner, on the city’s tab (Giuliani's fiscal conservatism)metro new york ^ OCT 4, 2007 patrick arden and tiffany kilfeather

Posted on 10/03/2007 10:14:16 PM PDT by ellery
Yanks deduct meals — and more — from rent

MANHATTAN. Maybe that $444 steak dinner was brain food.
The New York Yankees counted this meal ticket as part of a food-and-bar tab it deducted from the rent it pays to the city, using a clause inserted into its Parks Dept. lease by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on his last day in office. That provision allowed the team to deduct all “planning costs” for a new stadium up to $25 million through Dec. 31, 2005.

Since the deal was inked in 2001, the Yanks have subtracted at least $22.5 million from its city rent to pay for all sorts of things, from $700-an-hour lobbyists to a portion of executive salaries. But by the end of 2005 the team had yet to use up its allotment.
That might explain why the team was allowed to deduct $9,035,636 from its rent after the lease clause had expired, as revealed by journalist Neil deMause and the government watchdog group Good Jobs New York.

Under a Freedom of Information Law request, they reviewed receipts and invoices the Yankees presented to the Parks Dept., including $28,000 in souvenirs and $31,364 for food and drinks over just two nights of the 2005 postseason.
“No cost was too small,” said Bettina Damiani of Good Jobs New York, who sent out an itemized list yesterday that had such “planning expenses” as a dozen crystal baseballs, meals for umpires, sending batting helmets to Tampa, a farewell lunch for an intern and a tow-truck bill.

“Elected officials are turning a blind eye to the fact that the Yankees seem to have unfettered access to the public trough,” Damiani said. Good Jobs’ running tally of government subsidies going to the new stadium now stands at $737.6 million.
DeMause published the findings in yesterday’s Village Voice. A mayoral spokesman told Metro the provision allowing for these deductions from rent had been “extended when the stadium project was delayed.” The Yankees did not return calls.

The city comptroller last audited the planning-cost deductions in 2002, though it frequently finds overstatements in annual maintenance deductions. While some city officials have pinned the blame on Giuliani’s love of the Yankees, Damiani also blames Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“Never once did Giuliani claim the stadium would cost taxpayers nothing,” she said.

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