Mayor Rips Devils Owner

Newark, N.J., Mayor Corey Booker blasted New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek April 4 after an independent arbitration panel’s ruling.

The panel ruled the city must pay the Devils $2.7 million per year in parking revenues. The parking agreement was contained in a 2005 letter between the city and the team but was never formally approved, according to the city. Since Newark opened the Prudential Center in 2007, the team has not paid rent to the city while the parking dispute dragged on.

Standing in front of the arena, Booker said Vanderbeek used “Legal jiu-jitsu” to convince the panel to rule against the city.
“He came to this city with a mouthful of promises and a pocketful of lies,” Booker said. “He is a high-falutin’, high-class huckster and hustler.”

Devils Arena Entertainment, which operates and manages the arena, said, “We recognize it is hard for the mayor to accept a legal loss and understand what must be his frustration with his housing authority’s dubious decision to initiate this arbitration.”

The city contributed $210 million toward building the arena, paid for by the proceeds of a renegotiated lease with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for Newark Liberty International Airport property. The team provided $100 million.