SBD/Issue 232/Franchises

State Of NJ Rejects Request For Public Subsidy For Nets Bid

NJ Rejects Funding To Assist Corzine &
Kushner In Nets/Devils Bid

The state of NJ has "rejected a request for at least $100[M] in funding that the partnership of U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) and real estate developer Charles Kushner would use to help buy the Nets and Devils," according to George Jordan of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Sources said that the request was made because the Corzine-Kushner partnership is becoming "wary of buying the teams." Former U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) said yesterday that the partnership "needs help from the state to compete with an array of financial incentives being offered" to N.Y. developer Bruce Ratner, who wants to relocate the Nets to Brooklyn. Torricelli said, "New York is considering a public subsidy to take the teams from us and in [NJ] this is a business deal. It's going to have to stand on its own merits." But NJ Sports & Exhibition Authority (NJSEA) President George Zoffinger said, "We have worked very hard to take the sports authority out of public subsidy and we have no intention, for anybody, to reverse that direction" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/26). Zoffinger: "I do want to save these teams in [NJ]. I want them to stay in [NJ]. But if [N.Y.] and Long Island want to put together big, subsidized packages, we're not going to compete" (ASBURY PARK PRESS, 8/26).

MATCH GAME: In NJ, Daniel Sforza cites two sources as saying that the teams "have demanded $125[M] in state-funded operating subsidies to make them more attractive to a buyer" who will keep the team in NJ. But YankeeNets President Finn Wentworth denied the reports, saying, "That's absolutely false. The only request that has been consistently made is to build an arena in Newark." The sources added that YankeeNets had told NJ officials that, if the state can match a $125M subsidy promised by Ratner, they will sell to a group "that would be inclined to keep the Nets" in NJ. Wentworth also denied that claim (Bergen RECORD, 8/26).

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