We try not to repeat headlines, but the 1997 St. Patrick’s Day archives show exactly the one we’re wearing today. At the time, the Dolan family’s Cablevision was taking full control of Madison Square Garden, and we called for an end to the property tax break the state had given the arena in 1982, when there were fears that the Knicks and Rangers could move to New Jersey. .
More than a quarter century ago, the gift from Albany was worth the Dolans about $9 million a year. This year it is $41.5 million and cumulative savings since 1997 have been $585,997,438, or $699,547,962 adjusted for inflation.
That $700 million courtesy of the rest of New York City taxpayers hasn’t brought the Knicks or Rangers a championship and Jim Dolan is doing everything he can to antagonize everyone. Go ahead Jim.
Dolan is using facial recognition to exclude hundreds of lawyers from firms in litigation against the Garden, a clear violation of a 1941 law that prohibits such exclusion and which Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg should prosecute. Dolan also hired a private detective to shadow an investigator for the State Alcoholic Beverage Authority as the agency investigates whether MSG is breaking the rules with its attorney ban.
As chair of the City Council’s finance committee, David Weprin pushed for the repeal, and the Council passed a resolution urging Albany to end the lottery. He continued his search in the Assembly and local Assemblyman Tony Simone is sponsoring Weprin’s bill. The two senators who share the Garden in their districts, Liz Krueger and Brad Hoylman-Sigal, are sponsoring the senate version. The Senate included the repeal in its own budget bill last week.
Governor Hochul says she’s not sure. This is a local matter, so let the locals decide. Hochul must not be swayed by the Dolans’ campaign contributions.
Dolan can cover the $41.5 million by dividing it among 19,000 seats for 82 home games at $26 per seat. Or sell the naming rights to the Garden to a facial recognition company.