A Screw-up of Olympian Proportions
Meanwhile, back in New York, the 9/11 tragedy skewed everybody's priorities.
Further, the NYC2012 Committee failed to take into consideration the traditionally testy relations between New York City and the state government in Albany.
The problem went back to 1969 when novelist Norman Mailer ran a campaign for mayor of New York with the impish, iconic New York reporter Jimmy Breslin as the candidate for city council president. Their agenda was to secede and make New York City the 51st state.
Their campaign was a hoot, but liberal Mayor John V. Lindsay was reelected. In the economic maelstrom that followed, New York City became a financial basket case. Albany stepped in and began exercising control over the city's finances, which it does to this day.
Instead of courting the state and city politicians from the get-go, the arrogant multi-billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his deputy, Daniel L. Doctoroff, spent their time and money rounding up support from chief executives of major New York corporations.
In addition, Cablevision, which owns Madison Square Garden, perceived the new stadium to be a threat to its business and mounted a vicious campaign "on a scale never attempted by a private company against a City Hall project," wrote The New York Times.
In the meantime too many people in high places had been dissed. City and state elected officials felt that if $300 million were poured into New York City, it should be for the economic rebuilding of the downtown region decimated by the 9/11 attacks rather than for the benefit of an NFL franchise.
According to Bob Herbert in The New York Times, following his veto Speaker Silver was asked if the Olympic project was really dead.
"It was never alive," he replied.
On June 12 it was announced that the NYC2012 deal was still alive as a result of an eleventh-hour deal whereby Mayor Bloomberg twisted the arm of New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon to commit to $600 million for a new 45,000-seat stadium. The city and state would pick up an additional $280 million to enable it to be expanded to 80,000 seats for the Olympics. Speaker Silver and Senate Majority Leader Bruno have reportedly endorsed the new plan.