Students find owner ignored 1993 agreement critical to states approval for construction as officials say its too early to say whether arena will disburse funds
Three high-school students in Massachusetts have discovered that the owner of Bostons TD Garden, the home of the NBAs Celtics and NHLs Bruins, has ignored an agreement with state legislators that green-lit the construction of the multi-purpose arena in 1993, the Boston Globe reported on Thursday.
Jeremy Jacobs, the owner of the Bruins and developer of TD Garden, agreed to a state law with the city of Boston requiring him to hold three fundraisers a year to benefit the Metropolitan District Commission, which operated the citys recreational facilities and has since been merged with the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
The three teenagers, Jonah Muniz, Mabel Gondres and Lorrie Pearson, discovered this spring that TD Garden has failed to hold even one of the promised fundraisers over the last 24 years, ignoring a condition that was critical in winning state approval for construction to begin on the $160m arena in 1993.
The students from Bostons Jamaica Plain neighborhood were researching ways to secure funding for a local recreation center in their underserved neighborhood when they came across the law.
A spokesperson for TD Garden told the Globe they were previously unaware of the requirement and are working to broker a resolution with state lawmakers.
The students said they hope the arena will honor the obligation in the form of a one-time payment, which could help fund a planned $21.5m, 50,000 sq ft facility with a regulation-size ice rink in one of the citys poorest neighborhoods. But state officials confirmed to the newspaper it was too early to say whether the arena owner would be responsible for any compensatory payment for the ignored obligation.
The Globe reported the students acted on a tip from a longtime neighborhood councilperson to look up the Massachusetts laws enacted in 1993, where they found: An act furthering the establishment of a multi-purpose arena and transportation center.
It continued: The new Boston Garden Corporation … shall administer … no less than three charitable events per year … and shall pay the net proceeds … to said Metropolitan District Commission.
The students declined to go to the media at first, attempting to confirm interpretation of the law and whether any of the promised fundraisers had been held, but a continued lack of response and a FOIA request that did not reveal a responsive record led the students to conclude the arena had not held up their part of the deal.