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July 28, 2008

Congress probing whether city wildly inflated value of land for new stadium

NY Daily News
by Juan Gonzalez

The News columnist probes two divergent opinions of the value of the land underlying the new Yankee Stadium — both emanating from New York City officials!

A Congressional committee has launched a probe into whether the city and Yankees wildly inflated the value of the site for the team's new stadium to float nearly $1 billion in tax-free bonds.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) last week demanded "specific documents and reports" that could show the city claimed the land beneath the new Yankee stadium was worth nearly seven times its true value.

The massive switcheroo allowed the city to sell $941 million in bonds for the stadium, which must by law be linked to a site's actual value.

Kucinich, who heads the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is zeroing in on dramatically different estimates the city offered for the stadium land - one of $275 per square foot and another of just $45. A hearing is set for September.

Why such wildly different values for the same property?

"Our assessors jacked up the numbers and the comparables for the Council to justify the stadium bonds," said a Finance Department official familiar with the project.


NoLandGrab: Vacant land in the Bronx? $275 per square foot.

Vacant land in the Bronx? $45 per square foot.

The possibility of the United States Congress denying tax-exempt financing to the Yankees, Mets and Atlantic Yards developer and Nets owner Bruce Ratner? Priceless.

Posted by eric at July 28, 2008 11:43 AM