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Bergen County Executive Donovan insists Giants, Jets pay fair share

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Bergen County Executive Kathleen A. Donovan accused the Giants and Jets today of “ripping off” county taxpayers by fighting the American Dream development in court and not paying taxes on PSLs — and vowed to do something about it.

Bergen Executive Kathleen Donovan

For starters, Donovan said, she’s going to look at whether both should be required to pay taxes on the sale of personal seat licenses .

In the lawsuit filed last Friday, the NFL teams say an agreement with the developers of the dormant project requires their written consent before work can continue that involves anything that “would have an adverse effect” on fans.

They accused the Triple Five development group of not adequately addressing traffic concerns, including safety.

Donovan, in turn, today said: “The New York Giants and New York Jets have put Bergen County’s economic growth at risk. Unemployment in Bergen is over 7 percent, a slight decline since I took office. We still have 40% unemployment in the building trades.

“American Dream Meadowlands will put some 9,000 construction workers back on the job and employ an additional 15,000 full time workers,” she added. “It will create an economic ripple with service jobs and venues including hotels, which pay additional taxes and reduce local burdens.”

Donovan said she’ll “take immediate steps to review tax breaks given to the teams,” following a lawsuit filed by both last week to stop development of the $3.7 billion retail and entertainment complex retail and entertainment project.

The county executive said she will meet with East Rutherford officials to discuss ongoing litigation against the Sports Authority and also “review independent action to require the teams to pay taxes on the sale of Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs).”

The County Executive said that she will consider taking legal action against the tax breaks given to the New York Jets in Florham Park in Morris County, as well.

“Everything is now back on the table,” she said.

“Since 1976 the Giants and later the Jets have not paid a dime in taxes to Bergen County.  Now they have built and own a $1.6 billion building and they still don’t pay any taxes to Bergen County. That’s wrong and it needs to be corrected,” Donovan said.

On top of that, she said she’s directed the Bergen County Police Department “to take steps to assure the safety of fans arriving and departing MetLife Stadium on game days,” with “special attention” to pedestrian safety a priority.

“The New York Giants and New York Jets cite the safety and convenience of their fans as a veiled excuse for their frivolous lawsuit designed to give them a monopoly at the Sports Complex,” Donovan said.

“In their lawsuit, the New York teams rely on what they call a ‘cooperation agreement’ which was agreed to, not negotiated, by former (acting) Governor Codey,” the county executive said. “I described that so-called agreement as a give-a-way then and do so again today.

“According to the New York teams, that agreement allows them to hold development rights ‘to build themed dining and team and other stores…’

“The New York teams admit that this isn’t about the convenience of their fans. It’s about their greed and their effort to monopolize a public space to the detriment of every East Rutherford, Bergen County and New Jersey taxpayer,” Donovan said.

“The New York teams have gotten their way for four decades,” she added. “They have once and for all abused their free ride. It’s time they not only paid their fair share but participate as full contributing members of the business community.  Our Meadowlands property is some of the most valuable real estate on the east coast and as County Executive I owe it to my constituents to protect their economic interest, not the Giants and Jets.”

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