New Yankee Stadium in trouble?

June 11, 2008 7:23:03 PM PDT
New York City officials confirmed Wednesday that the New York Yankees may be interested in seeking more public financing to build their new stadium, pending a regulation change by the IRS.The team stressed, however, that its bid to change the Internal Revenue Service regulation wasn't going to affect the completion of the new Bronx stadium.

"The effort on the completion bonds will not affect the completion of the stadium," team president Randy Levine said. "We are working under the strong leadership of the city and state along with other projects to seek relief from the IRS regulation."

Janel Patterson, of the New York City Economic Development Corp., which is working with the Yankees, said the project isn't threatened. But she said the city is working to relieve an IRS regulation that prohibits more public debt to be incurred for the stadium. State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, of Westchester, said that IRS change also is being sought to help stadium and arena projects for the New York Mets and New Jersey Nets.

The $1.3 billion Yankees stadium is scheduled to open next year across from the historic current stadium, which is still being used.

"The Yankees have expressed an interest in receiving additional financing for their project," Patterson said Wednesday.

"Currently, they are not permitted to do so on a tax-exempt basis pursuant to IRS regulation."

She said the city Industrial Development Agency, which can use public financing to help companies expand, would consider increased funding, but no decision has been made.

"The city is working with the state in Washington to seek relief from the applicable IRS regulation, as this regulation has taken away a tool that would be useful for a number of important New York economic development projects, not just Yankee Stadium," she said.

Brodsky said Seth Pinsky, president of the city's Economic Development Corp., "told me that the Yankees have said they may not complete the stadium if this issue is not resolved."

Patterson, in a statement issued later Wednesday, said Pinsky said the Yankees have assured the city that they intend to complete the project on time.

Brodsky, chairman of the state Assembly's committee governing public authorities and their borrowing, criticized the closed-door dealing for millions of dollars to benefit the Yankees in the face of public transit and other needs that aren't being funded fully.