Recently released email messages suggest that Mayor Bloomberg‘s office gave the Yankees parking spaces and the rights to three billboards in order to secure a spacious luxury suite at the new stadium.
NY Times: The Bloomberg administration was so intent on obtaining a free luxury suite for its own use at the new Yankee Stadium, newly released e-mail messages show, that the mayor’s aides pushed for a larger suite and free food, and eventually gave the Yankees 250 additional parking spaces in exchange.
The parking spaces were given to the team for the private use of Yankees officials, players and others; the spaces were originally planned for public parking. The city also turned over the rights to three new billboards along the Major Deegan Expressway, and whatever revenue they generate, as part of the deal…
It is hard to determine the precise value of what the city gave the Yankees as part of the exchange. The public parking, though perhaps a convenience to those who drive to the stadium, was to be run by a parking garage operator, not the city, before it was turned over to the Yankees for team use. The billboards would most likely generate about $750,000 annually, given their location. The Yankees are expected to charge $600,000 to $850,000 a year for stadium luxury suites, according to reports.
The project required permission from the Internal Revenue Service because of the team’s desire to use tax-exempt bonds to finance construction. In one heated exchange, city lawyers threatened they would not make the request to the I.R.S. for the use of the tax-exempt financing unless the Yankees would consider providing the luxury suite.