Yankees’ Subsidy Deal Gets Stranger and Stranger

The Yankee Stadium subsidy package is the gift that keeps on giving. If you're the Yankees.

Following up on his tour of the smelly swath of plastic turf the Yankees installed in the South Bronx after turning actual park land into a stadium construction site, Neil deMause reports in the Village Voice that a yanksbill.jpgclause in the Yanks' lease agreement with the city -- initiated by Mayor Rudy Giuliani and extended by Mayor Bloomberg -- allows reimbursements for stadium "planning" expenses. As of 2005, deductions include apparent write-offs for food, alcohol, and thousands of dollars in schwag, like caps and souvenir crystal baseballs.

Seems the Yankees haven't been spending enough on stadium "planning" to take full advantage of the rent break, so to justify additional deductions, the club began handing over loads of receipts to the Parks Department.

[W]hereas the earlier receipts were limited to stadium-related expenses -- although questionable ones, like the $700-an-hour lobbyist bills and restaurant tabs for engineering consultants -- by late 2005, the files had begun to look like those of an organization hastily trying to spend down its account by billing the public for everything but the kitchen sink.

Here's a sample itemized list, courtesy Good Jobs New York:

  • $31,364 in food and bar tabs at Yankee Stadium for two nights of the 2005 post season
  • $1,978 for a dozen crystal baseballs
  • $8,600 in "rivalry" wool caps for home games against Boston and Toronto
  • $1037 for 550 logo baseballs for an annual sales meeting
  • $2,037 in gifts for corporate clients like Sony, Ford and Continental Airlines
  • $25,000 for office space near Newark Airport
  • $10,145 for press room rental
  • $1,948 for party for Verizon
  • $78 to ship batting helmets from Yankee Stadium to Tropicana Field

Images of actual receipts are here, here and here.

GJNY has issued a media release calling for an audit by City Comptroller (and potential mayoral candidate) William Thompson -- something the city has not done since 2004, when it examined the Yankees' stadium planning costs from 2001 and 2002.

"Considering the impact the new Yankee Stadium has had on the taxpayers and the neighborhood," reads the GJNY statement, "Good Jobs New York calls on Comptroller William Thompson to bring up to date all audits of the team to ensure no improper expenditures were in fact borne by the taxpayers."