Cardinale: Corzine Must Protect Taxpayers’ Interests, Not Interests of Wealthy, Pro Sports Team Owners

October 26, 2009

Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen) issued the following statement regarding published reports that a deal brokered by Jon Corzine between the Prudential Center and the Izod Center is imminent. The deal would allow the New Jersey Nets to void their contract with the Izod Center to facilitate a move to the Prudential Center without incurring the negotiated $7.5 million penalty for vacating the lease early.

“If the Prudential Center and the Izod Center can come to an understanding that allows the Nets to move to their preferred venue, as is being reported, that is certainly a positive development. However, that does not justify handing the Nets a $7.5 million windfall at the expense of the New Jersey taxpayers. Moreover, what will happen to the proposed ‘deal’ if the Nets move out of the Prudential Center in two or three years? Will the Izod Center still have exclusive rights to family events in the region?

“If a private business wanted to move to a new location, it would be charged for that accommodation. Instead the Corzine Administration wants to pay the Nets a fee to move to its preferred venue.

“Sadly, it seems that since the Nets move involves taxpayer money, Governor Corzine and his allies are more than willing to be generous. I would prefer to see the Corzine Administration protect the interests of the New Jersey taxpayer, rather than the interests of the privileged few who own professional sports franchises.”