Democratic Controller Candidate Brett Mandel today said he would do everything in his power to get back the $8 million the city has sought from the Philadelphia Eagles for years. Mandel held a press conference outside Lincoln Financial Field and promised to withhold required operation and maintenance payments to the team until the issue is resolved.
This dispute started when the city sought $8 million from the Eagles in promised skybox revenue at Veterans Stadium for the 2000 and 2001 season. The Eagles didn't pay up and then blamed the city for turf problems at the stadium that caused a 2001 pre-season game to be canceled. The Eagles said that that cost them $8 million.
UPDATE: Here's a response from current City Controller Alan Butkovitz, courtesy of Daily News reporter Dave Davies:
“This is a naïve recommendation,” Butkovitz said. “I’ve publically called on the Eagles to pay the $8 million, but I cannot act illegally to stop payments I disagree with…if this were doable, you can be sure Mayor Nutter or Mayor Street would have done it already.”
Here's Mandel's press release:
MANDEL PLEDGES TO DENY EAGLES PAYMENTS UNTIL CITY RECEIVES
$8 MILLION IN VETERANS STADIUM SKYBOX REVENUE
Philadelphia – Today, Brett Mandel, candidate for City Controller, held a press conference outside Lincoln Financial Field. Mandel pledged that if elected Controller, he would refuse to approve any future payments to the Eagles until the Eagles pay $8 million in Veterans Stadium skybox revenue presently owed to the city.
Highlighting his personal track record on this issue, Mandel stated "When the city entered into the deal to build Lincoln Financial Field, I worked in the Controller's Office as its Director of Financial and Policy Analysis. I performed the analysis that showed the stadium deal was a loser for city taxpayers. I refused to stand silent as city tax dollars were used turn millionaires into billionaires. Despite my efforts, the city went ahead and committed millions of tax dollars to the stadium-finance deal."
Mandel vowed to use his power as City Controller to inform citizens about how city spending and how decisions about public spending will affect the city budget. "If elected Controller, I will perform the analysis necessary to inform the citizenry about all significant deals that commit public money including the casino deal and the DROP program," Mandel said.
"We're talking about our money," Mandel continued. "This is money that could be used to keep our pools open, hire police officers, or put computers in our children's classrooms. With folks struggling to make ends meet, this city needs a Controller who will do the job. I will watch over the city budget just like we watch over our own."
Video of the press conference will be available at http://brettmandel.com.