NEW YORK CITY-A lineup of former city officials were employed by the New York Yankees organization to help push through a new baseball stadium even though the project won’t benefit taxpayers or community members, claims a new report by Good Jobs New York. Yankees officials, however, tell that the group’s charges are “disgraceful” and that the project is a producer of thousands on local-area jobs.

The report, Insider Baseball: How Current and Former Public Officials Pitched a Community Shutout for the New York Yankees, also reveals cost increases of nearly $100 million for a total taxpayer hit of $655 million.

“The new Yankee Stadium is economic development on steroids: plenty of bravado but void of benefit for New Yorkers,” says Bettina Damiani, director of GJNY. “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.”

Damiani tells that the project is costing taxpayers over half a billion dollars and the costing community 22 acres of heavily used parks. She adds that public officials involved in the project directly violate Bloomberg’s plaNYC2030, an initiative by the Bloomberg administration to make the city a more environmentally sustainable city by 2030.

“By destroying open space and subsidizing fans to attend games by automobile, while ignoring a nearby transit station, the new stadium and its huge new garages will increase traffic,” she explains.

The report says that, “Taxpayer subsidies for the project are still flowing: the city is offering to further subsidize thousands of stadium parking spaces on the former park lands by allocating $190 million in civic facility bonds. The IDA has held a public hearing on the garage financing but has yet to vote on the project.”

In order to do this, Damiani explains, when referring to the seizing of public parklands, win rapid permitting, and land massive taxpayer subsidies for their new stadium in the South Bronx, “the New York Yankees hired numerous former public officials and benefited from the actions of a few current elected officials to play insider baseball, shutting out Bronx residents and New York City taxpayers.”

Heavy hitters named by the report include 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, who would not comment after numerous discussions with his campaign managers.

“The fiscal benefits for the Yankee project are worse than a zero-sum game,” says 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.”

The report does not suggest any illegal behavior or conflicts of interest, but does claim that the Yankee project was rushed through the public approval process without “meaningful participation from the community or clearly defined benefits residents and taxpayers.”

A spokesperson for the Yankees organization tells that, “The report is not worth responding to. It is a rehash of the same failed arguments and inaccuracies that ‘No Jobs NY’ has already presented in nine public hearings, and in countless reports as well as state and federal courts–all of which were rejected in the most transparent political and legal process. It is disgraceful that ‘No Jobs NY’ continues to attempt to garner publicity by attaching themselves to the Yankee name.”

They explain that, “As promised, the new Yankee Stadium has created thousands of construction jobs and the New York Yankees have kept their commitment to hiring Bronx based workers and vendors. More than 31% of the contracts have been let to Bronx based businesses at a value of $100 million and 26% of the work force are Bronx residents. Of the total work force that has been hired 43% are minority workers. In addition, when the stadium is completed there will be 1,000 new jobs created.”

The report said that, “The new Yankee stadium project undermined democratic planning principles and benefited the Yankee’s profit margin over the employment, recreational and public health needs of the community. Despite the opposition of the local community board and a ‘no’ vote from the city council member representing the neighborhood around the stadium, the project was rammed through so hurriedly that community members were only allowed to weigh in after major decisions had been made.”

GJNY is a joint project of the Fiscal Policy Institute and Good Jobs First. FPI focuses on tax, budget, economic and related public policy issues. Good Jobs First is a nonprofit, nonpartisan national resource center for constituency-based groups and public officials that promotes corporate and government accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families, according to the company’s websites.

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