By Editor | September 23rd, 2009 - 6:19pm
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U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) wants the National Basketball Association to review a deal for a controversial Russian billionaire to purchase the New Jersey Nets.  Mikhail Prokhorov, a 44-year-old nickel and gold producer considered to be the richest man in Russia, has announced plans to purchase an 80% stake in the NBA team for a reported $200 million.

"Mr. Prokhorov's background raises questions about his fitness to be the owner of a high-profile NBA franchise," Pascrell wrote to NBA Commissioner David Stern.  "Both Mr. Prokhorov's business and personal history have come under intense scrutiny in his home country and abroad."

Pascrell, citing media reports, says that Prokhorov has agreed to finance much of the construction costs for a new arena in Brooklyn.   The current Nets owner, Bruce Ratner, could lose his tax-free financing if he doesn't break ground by December, and is facing some financial and legal obstacles.

"According to documents released by the Empire State Development Corporation, taxpayers are providing over $2 billion dollars in financing and direct grants towards the Atlantic Yards project," Pascrell said.  "This represents a significant investment and risk by the taxpaying public.  Should this sale go through, a large stake in the project, as well as a majority stake in the Nets, would be controlled by a foreign corporation, a first for the NBA."

Pascrell says that taxpayers would be "directly subsidizing the profits and business risks of this foreign corporation, whose investment will be reportedly smaller then the public's, instead of benefiting the taxpaying public. 

"Especially during these tough economic times, this is, at best, a questionable use of taxpayer money and it is a question that should be explored," said Pascrell.

The Back Room

Sweeney goes on offense

Days after Jersey City Mayor (and 2017 gubernatorial hopeful) Steve Fulop declared his support and fundraising devotion to South Jersey Congressional candidate Bill Hughes, Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) see-sawed onto Fulop's turf with his own "I can find pockets of love in every part of this state including JC" statement.

Read More >

Wake-Up Call

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Op-Ed

Paterson can flourish with a second chance

By ASLON GOOW, SR. I have spent the past three decades raising a family, building a business, and working to improve our Paterson communities.  I am proud of those accomplishments.  In 2002, I spoke at an expungement... Read More >

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Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"This is my first Mark Smith event. There have been a lot of changes in Hudson County over the last year and a half, and the most important change that has happened is that there really is unity. For the first time, we really are working together. Despite political differences. Mark and I have worked very hard to repair that. I'm really happy to be here in support of him, because I recognize that when you work together, politics becomes secondary and you really have time to focus on government, which is the most important thing." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop

- PolitickerNJ.com

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