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October 25, 2008

Testy Kucinich presses city officials on “gaming” Yankee Stadium assessment; big disagreement over “smoking gun”

Atlantic Yards Report

A Congressional subcommittee hearing, “Gaming the Tax Code: Public Subsidies, Private Profits, and Big League Sports in New York", was held yesterday by Rep. Dennis Kucinich. The hearing was mostly concerned with how Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) are being used to to enable federal funds to finance the new Yankee Stadium. A similar financing scheme is being used to pay for the proposed Nets arena.

During a charged but inconclusive Congressional subcommittee hearing yesterday, a sometimes testy Rep. Dennis Kucinich pressed officials from the New York City Department of Finance (DOF) and New York City Industrial Development Authority (IDA) on how and why an assessment for the land under Yankee Stadium leaped sixfold in a day.

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During a charged but inconclusive Congressional subcommittee hearing yesterday, a sometimes testy Rep. Dennis Kucinich pressed officials from the New York City Department of Finance (DOF) and New York City Industrial Development Authority (IDA) on how and why an assessment for the land under Yankee Stadium leaped sixfold in a day.

The hearing aimed to examine whether city officials improperly reported to the Internal Revenue Service and prospective bond purchasers inflated values for land and buildings in order to secure more tax-exempt bonds for the construction of a new Yankee stadium. City officials said no, that in part the value was related to the cost of the expensive new building--but they couldn’t fully defend using comparable assessments from as far away as Alphabet City in Manhattan.

Atlantic Yards was hardly mentioned, but IDA head Seth Pinsky emphasized that city and state officials considered the new regulations more important to get the arena built than to get additional bonds for the two baseball stadiums, which are already under construction.

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Posted by steve at October 25, 2008 9:28 AM