SBD/September 26, 2013/Franchises

Watchdog Group Calls The City Of Boston's Recent Deal With Red Sox "Irresponsible"

Boston finance officials are upset the deal was not put through public process
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino "balked yesterday" at intervening in a proposed $7.3M deal between the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Red Sox for air rights over Lansdowne Street and game-day concessions on Yawkey Way, "as the state Inspector General’s office said it would review the deal and an independent watchdog group called it 'financially irresponsible,'" according to Goodison & Graham of the BOSTON HERALD. Menino said, "Why should I? It’s a good deal." The Boston Finance Commission, in a letter to Menino dated Tuesday, called for him "to take action, saying the deal made public late Friday and set for a BRA vote today -- wasn’t reached via a transparent, public process and could 'shackle generations of Bostonians to an agreement that over time will prove to be financially irresponsible.'" The Red Sox deal includes $2.47M for air rights over Lansdowne Street for Green Monster seats and $4.87M "to shut down part of Yawkey Way during city-licensed ball park events" (BOSTON HERALD, 9/26). Menino spokesperson Dot Joyce accused BFC Exec Dir Matthew Cahill of "trying to make headlines" and reiterated the mayor "would not intervene" to stop the BRA. Cahill said the BRA is attempting to "give away rights to a public street without reasonable public notice, without public advertisement, and without utilizing a public process." In Boston, Callum Borchers notes there were "no public hearings about the deal, though the board will vote during a public meeting." BRA Communications Dir Susan Elsbree yesterday said that the agency "has attempted to explain the rationale behind the deal to the Finance Commission but has been unable to set up a meeting with Cahill since he wrote the letter to Menino" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/26).
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