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Bonds News

N.Y. Yankee stadium cost up, mayors blamed: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Baseball’s New York Yankees will get taxpayer subsidies worth $217 million more than first estimated for a new stadium, a civic group said on Friday, blaming ex-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the ballooning cost.

Yankee Stadium, "The House that Ruth Built" and site of 23 World Series since it was built in 1923, is shown in this 1994 file photo. Baseball's New York Yankees will get taxpayer subsidies worth $217 million more than first estimated for a new stadium, a civic group said on Friday, blaming ex-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the ballooning cost. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine

City, state and federal taxpayers will pay $663 million in today’s dollars for the new stadium in the Bronx, according to Good Jobs New York, a nonpartisan group.

That is $217 million more than its April 2006 estimate.

Some $69 million of this rise stems from a decision by the city’s Independent Budget Office to hike its estimate of how much tax revenue the city, state and federal government lost by letting the Yankees sell tax-free stadium bonds. The IBO said it took this step after the civic group questioned its figure.

The latest estimate also includes almost $90 million of city and state funds for a new Metro-North station for the stadium. Good Jobs New York applauded this expenditure because it will encourage mass transit.

Giuliani’s firm, Giuliani Security and Safety, was listed as a stadium security consultant in 2006 court documents, the group said. And the ex-mayor approved a $21 million rent reduction for the team when he was in office.

“Public faith in government is eroded when private corporations hire former government officials and use their expertise and influence to evade participatory planning and established economic development principles,” the report said.

A spokeswoman for Giuliani, a passionate Yankee fan and now a Republican presidential candidate, had no immediate comment.

A source close to the team said Giuliani’s firm was hired in 2004 to improve security for the 85-year-old stadium, whose facade was crumbling. “It (the contract) has been over for a long time,” said the source, who requested anonymity.

Yankee owner George Steinbrenner once vowed to leave the Bronx but the team has been reknitting its links to the outer borough.

Yankee Spokeswoman Alice McGillion said: “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.” Businesses in the Bronx have gotten $100 million of contracts, she added.

Bloomberg wants a city agency to sell $190 million of tax-free bonds for a new parking garage and spend $32 million on infrastructure and new trees for the new stadium, the group said. Mayoral officials had no immediate comment.

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