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City Traded Parking Spots for Yankee Stadium Suite

2:20 PM EST on December 1, 2008

yankpark.gifNot that we need more evidence that the Yankee Stadium parking deal was rancid to the core, but a Saturday story in the Times reveals the sad details of the Bloomberg administration's push for luxury game day digs -- a 12-seat suite in left field -- for which it traded 250 spots to the team.

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.

The quest for perks first made news months ago following an inquiry by Assembly Member Richard Brodsky, but the nature of recently uncovered e-mails between the team, the city, and the Economic Development Corporation is depressingly banal.

At another point, raw personal feelings emerged, as evidenced during this exchange, starting June 29, 2006, between top city officials about Randy Levine, the Yankees president.

"If we want a deal on the suite, he wants 250 spaces," Seth W. Pinsky, then the executive vice president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, wrote to Daniel L. Doctoroff, a former deputy mayor. After Mr. Doctoroff did not respond, Mr. Pinsky, a bit sheepishly, wrote the next day: "It comes down to how much we’re willing to rely on Randy’s word."

"Let’s not give," Mr. Doctoroff replied. "I don’t trust him."

The Daily News has more, including PDF files of some e-mails. The News notes that taxpayers could end up paying for the spots if stadium garages, as expected, take a loss.

And the kicker? Follow the jump for mind-bending quotes from Westchester's faux-populist-in-chief.

Mr. Brodsky said what emerges from the e-mail correspondence is a sense of entitlement ingrained in Bloomberg officials. He said that the city appeared to be pushing for use of the suite for not just regular-season games, but for the playoffs and the World Series, and for special events like concerts, too.

"There’s this 'Alice in Wonderland' quality to the question of, what is the public interest here and who’s protecting it?" said Mr. Brodsky, who conducted a hearing on the issue of public financing of sports stadiums this summer. "We can’t find the money for the M.T.A., or schools, or hospitals, and these folks are used to the perks and good things of life, and expect them."

Richard Brodsky railing about entitlements and perks -- in the name of the MTA? We are through the looking glass, indeed.

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