Sunday, September 22, 2013

Menino's Last 'Kiss In The Mail' For Sox Owners

Boondoggle Alley (FenwayNation Photo)
On his way out of office, Boston Mayor Tom Menino delivered one final gift to his buddies in the Red Sox New Ownership Group (NOG). And this one was a beauty—worthy of Menino's distant predecessor James Michael Curley. Thanks to 'Mayor Mumbles', the Red Sox now own the right to close off Yawkey Way during games—essentially—in perpetuity. The cost for this carte blanche is a measly $7.3 million—about the yearly jock strap budget for the owners' foreign soccer club. Oh, we forgot to mention, the sweetheart deal also grants the club "air rights" over Lansdowne Street—also as long as the NOG plays in their 101-year old ballyard. The development implications of this windfall is a boondoggle of epic proportions. Estimates are that the team garners $4.5 million per year from these street uses—meaning they pay back this "kiss in the mail" in less than two years. By the way, the state's inspector general, Glenn Cunha, has said that the properties should have been subject to competitive bidding. But, when you've got a pal at City Hall, who cares what some other bureaucrat thinks? Interestingly, the Boston Globe aggressively reported on this story in the past—but now, of course even they will be owned by John Henry. This all happens while a "feel good" mood pervades The Nation. Nice sleight-of-hand, NOG!