Press Release: New Report Reveals Squad of Former Public Officials Used Their Expertise to Ram Yankee Stadium Project through Public Approvals
Contact: Good Jobs New York Bettina Damiani 212.721.7996 (cell 347.432.0315) or Dan Steinberg 212.721.4865 (cell 917.855.9506)
New Report Reveals Squad of Former Public Officials Used Their Expertise to Ram Yankee Stadium Project through Public Approvals, Taxpayer Hit to Be Millions of Dollars Higher Than Previously Reported
Former Mayor Giuliani, Yankee President Levine, Former Bronx Democratic Leader Ramirez and Others Prioritized Team Profits Over Community Needs
New York, NY July 20, 2007 – A deftly assembled lineup of former elected and appointed officials were employed by the Yankees organization to help push through a new baseball stadium even though the project won’t benefit taxpayers or community members, claims Insider Baseball: How Current and Former Public Officials Pitched a Community Shutout for the New York Yankees, a new report by Good Jobs New York. The report – available at www.goodjobsny.org - also reveals cost increases of nearly $100 million for a total taxpayer hit exceeding half a billion dollars. Among the public servants turned Yankee high rollers are former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former deputy mayor Randy Levine, and former Assembly Member and Democratic party leader Roberto Ramirez. “The new Yankee Stadium is economic development on steroids: plenty of bravado but void of benefit for New Yorkers,” said Bettina Damiani, Director of Good Jobs New York. “The project’s costs keep rising, the community lost its parks and there’s no one to hold accountable for creating new jobs. The only winners are the Yankees owners and management.” Despite cost overruns the Industrial Development Agency is proposing an additional $190 million in tax-exempt bonds to finance 9,000 parking spaces at the stadium (to be built where Macombs Dam Park and parts of Mullaly Park stood). Insider Baseball is an exposé of the political maneuvering behind the $1.3 billion project – costing taxpayers over half a billion dollars and the community 22 acres of heavily used parks – revealing a myriad of lobbying, consulting and law firms led by former elected and high ranking agency officials that helped the Yankees get massive subsidies and lucrative approvals.
- Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who approved millions of dollars in subsidies for the team and whose firm, Giuliani Security and Safety is listed as a security consultant for the stadium;
- Randy Levine, former chief labor negotiator for Major League Baseball before joining the Giuliani Administration as Labor Commissioner and then Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, is now President of the Yankee organization;
- Roberto Ramirez, former Bronx Assembly Member and Bronx County Democratic Chair, who lobbied his former colleagues on behalf of the Yankees;
- Stanley Schlein, a Bronx political operative since the Koch Administration, who worked for Bronx elected officials and was also chair of the civil service commission until Mayor Bloomberg refused to reappoint him last year under a cloud of concerns about his conduct as a judicial appointee, widely lobbied city officials and agencies; and
- Numerous other former officials – once responsible for protecting the public coffers – now work at firms that helped the Yankees and its partners win land use approvals and taxpayer subsidies. These firms include: Nixon Peabody (which in a shocking revelation represented the Yankees and the New York City Industrial Development Agency); Fried, Frank; Tishman Speyer; Sive, Paget & Riesel and; Stadtmauer, Balkin.
“The fiscal implications for the Yankee project are worse than a zero-sum game,” said Dan Steinberg, Good Jobs New York’s research analyst. “The flawed development process belittled the community and created a mirage of economic benefits for taxpayers.”
To guarantee there’s no replay of the Yankee Stadium fiasco the report offers policy options that would support the Mayor’s recently proposed PlaNYC initiative for a sustainable city including:
- Embracing not gaming the city’s land use process (called the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure or ULURP);
- Disclosing on applications for approvals and subsidies the names of former officials and other consultants working on economic development projects;
- Strengthening the City’s conflict of interest laws to ensure elected and agency personnel have a significant time-out between public service and private profits;
- Scratching the three huge subsidized parking garages and instead encouraging fans to arrive via a planned nearby Metro-North station.
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