City swings suite deal with Yanks while fans strike out
BY ADAM LISBERG DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF
Monday, July 28th 2008, 9:34 PM
Fans will have to pay through the nose for good seats at the new Yankee stadium next year - but city officials will get a luxury suite for free at every game.
The free "Landlord's Suite" must have eight seats plus standing room for four and offer the same "accommodations, services and amenities" as the other suites in the new $1.3 billion stadium, according to the Yankees' lease with the city agency financing it.
The city also gets the right to purchase up to 180 tickets at every home game "for the best seats available" at face value - even for playoffs and the World Series.
"The more you dig, the more strange stuff you find," said Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester), who is probing how the Yankees and the city Industrial Development Agency issued $943 million in tax-exempt bonds for the project.
"I'm not so sure why the city or the IDA deserves a luxury suite," Brodsky said. "I'm not so sure that we want to develop these complicated deals to give someone access to a luxury suite."
The Yankees are seeking another $366 million in tax-free financing for the stadium, but Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez reported yesterday that Congress is probing whether the value of the stadium land was wildly inflated to justify the tax-exempt bonds.
"I don't think we should be spending money to build skyboxes for City Hall or anyone else," said Bettina Damiani of Good Jobs New York. "The Yankees should be building their own skyboxes."
The Landlord's Suite is supposed to be built with taxable bonds, so American taxpayers will not subsidize its construction.
The new stadium has 47 luxury suites in all, according to published reports, and renting one for a year costs anywhere from $600,000 to $850,000.
The Yankees project they will rake in $253.2 million at the stadium next year. The team says 50% of tickets will cost $45 or less, but seats near home plate will cost as much as $2,500 next year, while some seats behind the dugout will shoot to $850 from $250.
Asked about the city's free suite yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg mistakenly said there would be no such deal at the new Yankee stadium or at Citi Field, the Mets' new home in Queens.
Mayoral spokesman Stu Loeser later acknowledged that the mayor was wrong, but said the city had not decided what to do with the suite.