- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Panel for Yankee Stadium Funds Revealed, Money Still Not Spent | Bronx News Networkbronx

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Panel for Yankee Stadium Funds Revealed, Money Still Not Spent

As part of its new stadium deal with the city, the Yankees baseball club signed a community benefits agreement that included a stipulation: every year until 2046, the team would funnel $1.25 million ($800,000 in grants and $450,000 in tickets, merchandise and equipment) back into the Bronx community through various nonprofit groups. A special panel was to supposed to be appointed to decide where the funds should go.

But 17 months after stadium construction began, none of those funds has made it back into the community and, according to a NY Times article, the special panel has yet to meet.

The Yankees referred questions about the funds to Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, who is supposed to be organizing the panel and overseeing the fund distribution effort. Carrion wouldn't speak to reporters about it because he was too busy, according to his spokesman Mike Murphy.

Murphy went on to say the process of choosing a panel had not been completed because it "took time for people to look at the list [of panel candidates] and come to a consensus." Murphy said the interim president of the panel was Serafin Mariel, a Manhattan resident who used to run the now-defunct New York National Bank.

The latest news on the panel came last week from the Spanish-language daily El Diario, which reported that Mariel said the panel had been chosen and would start distributing the funds in March or April.

They also listed the rest of the panel: Ronald Bailey, pastor for Love Gospel Assembly Church; Leo Martinez, executive director of Alliance for Community Services; Ted Jefferson, executive director of Bronx Shepherds Restoration Corporation; Roberto Crespo, director of Knock for Freedom; and Harold Silverman, an ex-judge.

According to Muriel in the El Diario article, a seventh member of the panel dropped out because of a conflict of interest. Neither the Yankees or Carrion's office would say how and when a new seventh member would be chosen, the article said.

The community benefits agreement with the Yankees was signed in 2006 by Yankee President Randy Levine, Carrion and council members Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Maria Baez and Joel Rivera.

Only del Carmen Arroyo has spoken about it. She told El Diario that she and the other signatories on the agreement should take responsibility for the delay and, if she could do it over again, she would have first told the public that the process would not be very fast.

Other Bronx elected officials, including council members Oliver Koppell and Helen Foster (who represents the area around Yankee Stadium) said they had been left out of the loop while decisions about the fund were being made.


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