Devils dispute with mayor 'concerning'

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 06, 2012
The New Jersey Devils' top executive took issue Friday with Newark Mayor Cory Booker's recent harsh criticism of him, particularly accusations that the National Hockey League team reneged on a promise to construct a community center as part of its deal to build the Prudential Center arena five years ago. Booker ripped chairman and managing partner Jeff Vanderbeek on Wednesday in a news conference in front of the arena, a day after arbitrators ruled in favor of the Devils in a long-running dispute with the city over arena parking revenue. Booker indicated that the city's attorneys were considering legal recourse. Among other colorful descriptions, Booker called Vanderbeek a ''Grade-A huckster'' who came to Newark with ''a mouthful of promises and pocketful of lies.'' One of the unfulfilled promises, Booker said, was that the Devils would build a community center next to the arena in downtown Newark, the state's largest city. Vanderbeek told The Associated Press on Friday that Booker's remarks both surprised and concerned him. ''It's concerning that after choosing to take the Prudential Center to court and then have the court ruling that they needed to go to arbitration, and taking it to arbitration, that after that ruling the mayor chooses to not obey the law of the land but seems to be following Booker law,'' Vanderbeek said. ''Our concern is that in a city like Newark where we are trying to set a platform to draw private business in, that businesses are going to think twice when they think about the risk of coming into Newark,'' he added. A 2007 letter signed by Vanderbeek and Newark Housing Authority head Keith Kinnard said that Devils Renaissance Development, the team's development arm, ''shall not be required to construct a separate, free-standing community center; rather, DRD shall only be required to incorporate and conduct community programs in the `second sheet of ice' that will be constructed as part of the Arena Project.'' Kinnard said Friday that he signed the letter at a time when the arena negotiations were at a critical stage and the city had already sunk about $100 million into the project. He said the Devils threatened to move to Kansas City if they didn't receive the concessions spelled out in the letter. Booker on Friday echoed Kinnard's account and didn't back down from his earlier remarks. Vanderbeek ''claimed to be an altruist and that he wanted to help the community, but he went on finding every legal way imaginable to squeeze out of every commitment,'' Booker said. ''This just shows the character of the man, that he's more concerned with squeezing every possible dollar off the table. The rec center is just one chapter.'' The Devils haven't paid rent to the city since the arena opened in 2007 because of the parking dispute. This week's arbitration ruling ordered the city to pay $2.7 million per year in parking money to the team. Combined with other payments and fees, the city owes the team about $15 million, or a few hundred thousand dollars more than the Devils owe the city in back rent and other fees. The city contributed $210 million toward building the arena, paid for through a renegotiated lease with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for Newark Liberty International Airport property. The team provided $100 million. The Devils played their first game in the Prudential Center, known as The Rock, in October 2007 after playing at an arena in the nearby Meadowlands since the 1982-83 season.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Adam Jones: Bengals dominated Steelers in playoff game

Robert Griffin III on QB battle: Only one of us runs 4.3

Gordon defends friendship with 'good friend' Manziel

Geno Smith ‘kind of pissed off’ about Ryan Fitzpatrick’s return

Bell admits he knew about missed drug test, lied to media

Report: Chargers rookie Joey Bosa to hold out of camp

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

Five NFL teams set to underachieve in 2016

WATCH: Belichick gets annoyed by Jimmy Garoppolo question

Ronda Rousey denies being pregnant despite rumor

Eight most overpaid offensive players in NFL

Giants acquire All-Star Eduardo Nunez from the Twins

Vikings QB injured trying to kick open door

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker