Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Randy Levine subpoenaed

It was inevitable. This had to happen. And I am not the least bit surprised.

I have mentioned many times how I feel about and view Yanks President Randy Levine. His back-and-forths between being a NYC government insider and a MLB insider have had me wondering for some time how his fingerprints must be all over the new Stadium (mostly the ugly, business side of it).

And now Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, a Democrat from Westchester County, has his committee issuing a subpoena for Levine (as well as city Industrial Development Agency Chairman Seth Pinsky).

Brodsky said the subpoenas compel the officials to appear for questioning at a hearing Wednesday, and to provide documents the committee wants for its investigation into whether public money should be used for the new stadium in
the Bronx.
Both teams have given long lists of reasons why they want more public bonds, including construction delays, government requirements such as security and fireproofing, and design changes such as enhanced scoreboards and bigger food service areas.

The Yankees are asking for another $259 million in tax-exempt bonds and $111 million in taxable bonds, on top of $940 million in tax-exempt bonds and $25 million in taxable bonds already granted for the $1.3 billion Bronx stadium.
Last week, the Bloomberg administration said it would forgo luxury boxes, valued at as much as $850,000 for the new Yankee Stadium and up to $500,000 at the new Mets ballpark, following months of criticism about its handling of the projects.
I had this to say about good old Randy just last week:
I'm on record here saying that I don't trust Randy Levine OR any of the dealings with NYC. Levine is an ex-NYC government insider [Before joining the Yankees, Levine served as New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, Planning and Administration. He also served as New York City’s Labor Commissioner. Prior to joining the mayor's office, he served as the chief labor negotiator for Major League Baseball and negotiated the 1996 MLB labor agreement]. We've seen some of the ugly details come out over the last year about some of the back-office deals and wink-wink, nod-nod agreements. I think Levine is the force behind all of this.

We like to joke about the Yanks being the Evil Empire. That might be true, but I don't think the guy behind the black mask and cap is a Steinbrenner; I think it's Levine. The Steinbrenners might push to control the on-field decisions, but it's Levine who is manning the helm with some of these other, more sketchy, dealings.
And from early December:

In a particularly brief but scathing exchange that doesn't look good for Yanks President Randy Levine:

The Economic Development Corporation's Seth Pinsky wrote to Doctoroff that Yankees President Levine "said he would give his word" (Click to see e-mails) that if parking spaces hurt the city's rent arrangement, the Yankees would "work with us to figure out how to fix the problem."

In minutes, Doctoroff responded, "Let's not give. I don't trust [Levine]."

We, the fans, know we're being screwed in this whole ballpark thing. We know, deep down, that there's blatant corruption going on behind the scenes (mostly). But when it becomes public, that's when we can bark and yell "SEE!?!?" Except the only thing we, the fans, can do in protest is not go to the Stadium. Which will never happen. So there's little deterrent for the politicians and Yankee execs to treat us, the fans, properly.

So go enjoy the new Stadium, pay thru the nose to sit there and behold the
holy temple of awesome.

It just sucks knowing you're being screwed while they smile at you, patting you on the back with one hand, emptying your wallet with the other. I think we'd rather be blissfully unaware of the corruption than knowing what's gone (or is going) on.


Anonymous said...

Idiot...Randy Levine has done a marvelous job as President of the Yankees. The Yankees mean only class to baseball but there are the punks and stupids like you that attack who should not be attacked. It is a disgrace that you are wearing Yankees shirts.. and that you abuse freedom by your incisive attacks against Mr. Levine.
You are a disgrace for society at all.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

"punks and stupids". I love it.

I know that Levine is instrumental in getting the new stadium built, but can you honestly tell me you think it was done properly, fairly, legally?

Levine's had his hands in both cakes in the past.

Thanks for the comments, Anon. Don't mistake criticism for not being a fan.

Alex K said...

I don't relly know how I feel about Levine but he is very persuasive. I listened to him on the Michael Kay show yesterday and came away thinking that the Yankees had done nothing wrong. I know that's not the case, but that guy can talk.

dinologic (Dean D) said...

You don't get to be in the position he's in without being persuasive.

This WHOLE THING is making it really difficult to continue being a fan of this team. Ugh...it hurts just saying that. I've had more arguments/discussions this offseason about payroll and the business side of the game with Mets and Sox fans than conversations about actual BASEBALL. When did it become more about contracts and subpeonas than it is about 'my team is better than your team'?

(Short answer: around 2002 when the YES Network launched.)

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Exactly, Dino. Being a fan of a team, especially the Yanks, requires different things than being a fan of a smaller market teams. With the added $ and top notch talent comes increased financial issues and scrutiny.

Levine IS a very smart and talented guy. That doesn't make him a "good guy". What we (all of us here) are trying to do is dig a bit deeper and in doing so, we are learning that Levine is the chief architect of the Yankee financial empire and that some of his dealings benefit only the Yanks, at the expense of many, many others.

His financial acumen has enabled the on-field management (Cashman, etc.) to go out and spend wildly.

But that doesn't mean I have to root for him, even if he's part of my favorite team's management.