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From The NY Daily News 03/30/05:

Jets poised
to score stadium

Seven MTA board members
support the West Side football plan

The Jets should get ready for a victory dance in the end zone – the team is on the verge of winning the MTA’s West Side railyards.
Seven members of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, including the head of the agency’s real estate committee, plan to vote for the Jets’ offer, the Daily News has learned.

“The Jets’ deal is hands-down the best deal,” said James Simpson, chairman of the MTA’s real estate committee. “The Jets is a much better deal for the city and the state.”

The MTA board – a panel composed of 17 voting members, four of whom cast one collective vote – will consider the bids tomorrow. If the Jets get one more vote, the team will have the land for the stadium. If the balloting is tied 7 to 7, MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow, who has not yet declared his position, can cast an extra, deciding vote.

Whit Clay, a spokesman for Cablevision, one of the three bidders for the site and the stadium’s chief foe, said favoring the Jets’ proposal meant “throwing away hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Cablevision sent the MTA a letter yesterday clarifying that the company is prepared “to pay the full purchase price” – $400 million – “immediately following its selection.”

Although the Jets have offered $720 million, only $50 million would be upfront.

A source told The News that all four of the mayor’s appointees are expected to vote for the Jets.

One board member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, predicted: “There will be broad support on the board, from both city and gubernatorial representatives, for the Jets. The bid is that superior.”

Another board member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “I’m going to go with the Jets. It’s a better deal in the long run, it’s a better deal for New York, and for the MTA, too.”

Mark Lebow, one of Mayor Bloomberg’s four representatives on the MTA board, told The News that board members still are deciding. But he added, “The Jets have a lot of advantages. It’s hard money.”

Board members received briefings on the three remaining bids for the property yesterday.

Gov. Pataki, who supports the stadium and appoints the majority of the MTA’s board, said yesterday he’s confident the Jets will prevail.

The stadium serves as the centerpiece of the city’s bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Awarding the property to the Jets would be an enormous victory for the team and an embarrassing defeat for Cablevision, which has spent more than $20million during the past year on lobbying and an ad campaign to defeat the stadium – competition for itsMadison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall.

Even if the Jets get the MTA’s nod, the deal still needs the approval of two state boards, the Empire State Development Corp. and the Public Authorities Control Board.

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