It seems Cory Booker has put away his feud with Jeff Vanderbeek — for now.
On Wednesday, the Newark mayor downplayed issues with the Devils owner (in April, Booker called Vanderbeek a “high-class huckster”), opting to focus on safety, security and a successful Stanley Cup finals.
“We’re doing everything necessary to make sure that the record of security for Devils hockey games continues to be what it is, which is virtually flawless,” Booker told WCBS 880. “We’re just thrilled about it. It’s going to be an exciting time.”
While Booker did reference his issues with Vanderbeek — “my prayer is that they work themselves out in the long run,” he said — he remained steadfast in his desire to see New Jersey bring home its fourth Stanley Cup.
“We have nothing but goodwill,” he said. “The reality is right now everybody in Newark is pulling for the Devils to win.”
Newark mayor calls Devils owner “a highfalutin, high-class huckster and hustler”
After calling Devils owner “high-class huckster”, Newark mayor says he was denied Springsteen tickets
Devils owner says Newark Mayor’s comments are “concerning”
Newark Mayor Cory Booker hasn’t been shy about voicing his displeasure with Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek over an arbitration ruling that ordered the city to pay the club $2.7 million a year in parking revenues. Booker claims Vanderbeek hasn’t lived up to his promises and called him a “high-class, highfalutin’ huckster and hustler.” The mayor also resorted to using rhymes to make his point because…
Anyways, in the wake of all this, Vanderbeek says he should have listened to friends when they told him not to move the team to Newark. (The Devils’ former home was in East Rutherford, N.J.)
That being said, now that he’s in Newark, Vanderbeek isn’t leaving.
“We plan on being here. The mayor can say whatever he wants,” Vanderbeek said. “I’m a big boy.”
Vanderbeek thinks Booker is targeting him to score political points, while Booker says that he’s merely fighting for the taxpayers. Meanwhile, the Devils will open up their first-round series against the Florida Panthers on Friday.
After being subjected to a series of criticisms from Newark Mayor Cory Booker, New Jersey Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek has fired back.
On Friday, Vanderbeek took issue with a number of Booker’s claims, which came after arbitrators ruled in favor of the Devils in a long-running dispute with the city over arena parking revenue. Angered by the decision, Booker called Vanderbeek a “high-class huckster” and alleged he’d been denied tickets to a Bruce Springsteen concert at the Prudential Center because he went public with his critiques.
Vanderbeek’s response, from the AP:
“It’s concerning that after choosing to take the Prudential Center to court and then have the court ruling that they needed to go to arbitration, and taking it to arbitration, that after that ruling the mayor chooses to not obey the law of the land but seems to be following Booker law.
“Our concern is that in a city like Newark where we are trying to set a platform to draw private business in, that businesses are going to think twice when they think about the risk of coming into Newark.”
According to reports, the Devils haven’t paid rent for the Prudential Center since 2007 because of the parking revenue dispute. The arbitration ruling ordered the city to pay $2.7 million per year in parking money to the team and, combined with other payments and fees, the city now owes the team about $15 million.
Booker was still visibly upset about the situation when reached for comment on Friday.
“[Vanderbeek] claimed to be an altruist and that he wanted to help the community, but he went on finding every legal way imaginable to squeeze out of every commitment,” Booker said. “This just shows the character of the man, that he’s more concerned with squeezing every possible dollar off the table.”