The House That Corruption Built

We’ve long known that the Bloomberg Administration bent over to deliver all manner of financial favors to the Yankees, but now the emails are out, and it’s pretty ugly:

Mayor Bloomberg’s aides secretly pressured city tax assessors to inflate the value of land under the new Yankee Stadium so the team could qualify for nearly $1 billion in tax-free bonds, city e-mails show.

In March 2006, the city’s chief tax assessor put the market value for the stadium site at $27 million, far lower than the Yankees wanted. A Finance Department official ordered him to redo the report. Within hours, he jacked up it up to $204 million . . .

. . . “This is the smoking gun,” said Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, who has spearheaded a state probe into the stadium deal. “The professionals did their job. The political appointees then ordered them to change the assessment – and they did.”

This is important, because the higher assessment allowed the Yankees to take advantage of a billion bucks in tax-exempt bonds that an honest assessment would not have.

New Yankee Stadium is built on a foundation of graft. The sad thing is, this fact will almost certainly not be mentioned by the announcers when the Bombers take the field for the first game in April because there will be too many fancy baubles on which to train the cameras.

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  1. scafeets said...

    Not for nuthin’………..
    But doesn’t the value of crappy South Bronx ghetto land go up 10X when a major corporation decides to turn it into a money machine and sports shrine?
    If the original assessment was based on “comps” like the dirt under the bodegas and apartments down the street, then someone had to set the assessors straight.
    I’m sure there was more than a little political pressure, but “graft”?  Wouldn’t that require a bribe or something?

  2. MooseinOhio said...

    Another victory for public records laws.  Maybe they should have used RNC email addresses and then deleted them all before prying eyes could see?

  3. Chris Simonds said...

    And this guy was thinking he was Presidential material? The rest of the country dodged a bullet, but NYC is still stuck with him. Wonder if the new stadium will lose money its first few years, between the high prices and the low state of the economy. That may kill off the rest of Bloomberg’s political ambitions.

  4. Jon said...

    Why should it be mentioned? I’m a Yankee fan and I oppose the sweetheart deals that both baseball teams have gotten.

    It also has absolutely no relevance to their play on the field. Unfortunately, these dealings are rather commonplace in the sports world.

  5. Pete Toms said...

    @ Soxrocker23, I can’t get to the link either.  CC?

    deMause has been writing about this for months.  And I mean, specifically the inflated value of the real estate, as opposed to the general subject.

    This at the same time as the IFA ( right acrononym? ) is considering selling bonds to purchase Wrigley….not good for Tribune….

    This is the baseball subject that has gone from the realm of us chattering classes to a broader audience in the past handful of months.  I think we reached the tipping point.  One example is when the politicans ( Brodsky isn’t alone ) start piling on.  Isn’t the timing curious?  Not a popular time to be one of the super rich.  ( Any sympathy for Fred Wilpon out there?  None here either ).

  6. Pete Toms said...

    Ok, the link works now. This guy Gonzalez has been all over this story for a long time, like deMause.

    Is it official, have we seen the end of PILOTS?  What’s next, TIFs?

  7. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    (rolls eyes)

    OK, Hater.  Have at it.  It’s just that your rants are a better fit for a Sox forum chatroom than here.

    Now I will go pee in public, assault an old lady, rub one out on the subway and all the while wearing my new #52 Sabathia jersey.

  8. yankeeh8r said...

    YoU BUNCH A POMPOUS JERKS..! Yeah, take the big tax break and sign 250 mill. in players. Now go get Tex and ManRAM.  YOU MAKE ME SICK. I hope the team and the stadium fall apart.
    The PROBLEM is, You people think its ALLLL worth it. What a JOKE. Win Lose or draw. a million plus PER game for CC. Whether he goes 2 batters or 9 innings. WOW..! WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THE GAME.?!

  9. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    hater: NONE of us think it’s OK.  Why would you think we would condone it?  Do you condone the bashing of a Yankee fan outside the Fens? 

    It’s illegal, period. 

    And lay off the caps and caffiene, dude.  We’re pretty calm around these parts, no matter who you root for.  We can discuss and debate rationally here, adultishly.

    Then you can rant on SoSH or wherever how much we Yanks fans SUX.

  10. MooseinOhio said...

    Who the heck let Gerry Callahan know about Shysterball? 

    @Yankeeh8r (if you’re not GC) – Give WEEI a try as their ranting seems more in line with your brand of blogging.  As Jason referenced, folks here at Shysterball prefer witty banter and informative dialogue not shouting points and screaming rants (look I made a statement without going all caps). 

    While I may agree with what I believe is your basic thesis (i.e. a wealthy private enterprise getting millions of dollars in public assistance while real peeople struggle to make ends meet) your methodology makes it difficult to take you seriously. 

    Lastly if you are as hateful as your message seem to indicate – please seek help because anyone who sees the world with such animus needs some counsel.

  11. Sara K said...

    Gee, Moose, you could at least have included a link to  wink

    Anyway, is there any indication about whether MLB is obliged to sanction the NYYs over this impropriety?

  12. tadthebad said...

    Moose – good line about Callahan, but even he is more measured and can deliver venomous lines with some charisma.

    h8tr, though I am not one, I do know of at least one Yankee fan who can enjoy the team while chastising the ownership and the City of NY.  Two separate animals.

  13. yankeeh8r said...

    I bash the Yankees.. PERIOD…  their fans are just colateral damage.  I don’t know how anyone can condone ANY of this. And yet EVERY game is sold out. EXPLAIN that NON support.

    2) Maybe your “calmness” has run its course. Your “adultish” ways don’t seem to get the point accross. All the dancing and soft talk on a 175million dollar hike in taxes..  Someone needs to go to jail. AND… They need to post a cease and desist order on the stadium untill its resolved.

  14. MooseinOhio said...

    @ Sara – Just trying to break down the stereotypes of moose as slow, simple and easy going creatures as we can be a rather witty and verbose lot with a tendency to be a wee bit snarky.

  15. Craig Calcaterra said...

    OK H8r.  We’ll all go in together on a two front assault: city hall and the Stadium offices in a simultaneous strike designed to take out command and control operations.  Meet is somewhere in midtown at midnight.  Bring the weapons.  If we’re not there, you start without us and we’ll be along shortly.

  16. Craig Calcaterra said...

    I just too the liberty of deleting the H8r’s most recent comment.  He had been warned against going after people personally and being an obnoxious ass and decided not to listen.  I don’t want that kind of garbage around here and won’t tolerate it.

    I seem to lack the technical capacity to ban him, but it’s just as easy for me to delete his idiocy.

    H8R:  if you’d like to play nice, you’re welcome to post.  If you insist on attacking the readers of this blog, you are not.  It’s that simple.

  17. MooseinOhio said...

    @Jason – Save your money and TiVO it as some cable or satellite channel has be running it for the 1,000th time in the 1am-6am slot.

  18. MooseinOhio said...

    @Jason – Failed to mention the savings from not renting the movie can be applied to your purchasing tickets to see the Yankees play at the House that Bloomberg built.

  19. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    @Moose: good point x2.  (particularly since I work for a cable company)

    as for tickets, unless I get invited, I won’t be there this year.

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