Teens discover Boston’s TD Garden has been failing on its charity promises

Posted July 14, 2017, at 6:02 p.m.

All teenagers Lorrie Pearson, Jonah Muniz and Mabel Gondres wanted was a new ice rink in their Boston neighborhood. They never knew that while researching ways to fund a new rink in Hyde Square they’d discover TD Garden, the home of the Celtics and Bruins, had cheated the city out of millions of dollars by failing to fulfill its legally binding charitable obligations.

“Let’s just read this one more time,” Pearson, 17, told the Boston Globe about what she first thought when she came across the legislation that had been forgotten for the past 24 years.

According to the Times (via Deadspin), which reported on the legislation in 1993, the legislation requires “that the Garden be available at least three times a year for charity events to benefit the commission that oversees state recreation facilities.”

For some reason, that legislation was forgotten, only to first be resurfaced during a conversation between Michael Reiskind, a member of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council, and Ken Tangvik, the director of the Hyde Square Task Force, who was working with the three teenagers to raise funds for the new neighborhood ice rink. According to the Boston Globe, Tangvik told the teenagers about the forgotten legislation and they did the rest.

Through extensive research, which included petitioning for official requests for public information, the teens discovered TD Garden had held exactly zero charity events to directly benefit the Department of Conservation and Recreation. If it had, they thought, perhaps two local ice rinks wouldn’t have closed in recent years due to structural problems.

It’s unclear how much money the dozens of missed fundraisers would’ve raised, but it likely would’ve totaled into the millions. The teens told the Globe they’d like to see TD Garden, to make up for its oversight, pay a lump sum to the city, some of which may possibly help the Hyde Square Task Force raise money for its neighborhood ice rink.

It’s unclear how likely a payment like that may be, but it’s likely something will change going forward thanks to the teens’ detective work.

“This matter was just brought to our attention, we are in early stages of discussions and are working on a resolution with DCR,” TD Garden spokeswoman Tricia McCorkle told the Globe.

This is the second time in the last month that a major sports stadium has come under fire for failing to live up to its promised charitable arrangements.

In late June, the New York Times revealed a charitable committee set up as part of an agreement to build Yankee Stadium was neglecting the adjacent communities, in favor of funneling money to other organizations featuring team board members.

 

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