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Monday, May 28, 2012

Cory Booker vs Jeff Vanderbeek: No Tickets To Newark's Springsteen Concert

Newark Mayor Booker says he was denied Springsteen tickets after blasting N.J. Devils Executive

Call him a "high-class, highfalutin huckster and hustler?"

Well then, you can just forget about those Springsteen tickets.

A day after Newark Mayor Cory Booker lashed out at Devils managing partner Jeff Vanderbeek — accusing him of exploiting the city — the mayor said the team owner turned down his request for seats to next month’s sold-out Bruce Springsteen concert at the Prudential Center.

The growing animosity follows an arbitrators’ decision earlier this week that came down hard against the city over millions in rent and parking revenues at the downtown arena.

Booker resolved this week that he would not set foot inside the Prudential Center until the revenue dispute is settled.

The uneasy partnership between Vanderbeek and Booker has long been strained by the dispute over back rent and unpaid parking revenues.

That relationship flared anew on Tuesday, after an arbitrators panel found the city — which invested $210 million in the arena — was owed $14.7 million in back rent and relocation expenses. But the arbitrators also said the city owed the Devils $15.3 million in parking revenue, excess taxes and capital costs.

The decision infuriated Booker. Calling Vanderbeek "one of the most despicable owners" in the National Hockey League, the mayor labeled the Devils owner a "highfalutin, high-class huckster and hustler."

Vanderbeek declined to discuss the matter today. But after a reporter asked whether any elected officials had sought Springsteen tickets for the May 2 concert, arena officials immediately offered a copy of a March 22 private e-mail request from the mayor’s campaign staff for tickets — a communication that ordinarily would have likely been kept confidential.

Its release gave voice to the team owner’s obvious displeasure over the mayor’s name-calling.

In the e-mail, a staffer for the mayor’s "Booker Team" wrote that Booker "would like to attend the Bruce Springsteen concert with a group of his family. I completely understand this is on high demand and probably sold out. Do you know if there is at least 4 tickets?

Originally he asked for 10, if they are available which I doubt it, please let me know if you can get us those tickets for him.

I will get his credit card as soon as you let me know how many are available."

Though Booker agreed to pay for the tickets, the concert is sold out and fans can no longer get seats unless they go to a scalper.

Booker said today the Devils’ release of the e-mail was "petty," considering he played a crucial role in getting The Boss to Newark in the first place.

"They called me and asked me to lobby to get Bruce Springsteen to come to the arena," Booker said referring to conversations with the Devils. "I went through a lot of hoops to try to get him to come here."

Booker also noted that despite putting up the bulk of the money to build the arena, the city has no seats for big events.

"Usually when the government bodies put in a large amount of money, the officials have some tickets for community use," Booker said, adding that the tickets were not for his family. "This is something that Jeff never allowed for."

The mayor said the Devils informed him today that his ticket request had been denied, which is rendered moot by his refusal to set foot in the arena until the rent and parking dispute is resolved.

Asked if Prudential Center denied the mayor’s request, a spokesman for the arena said Booker’s statement "simply is not true."

Booker, a lifelong Springsteen fan, said he was going to see Bruce at Madison Square Garden Friday night.

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Sources: CBS, David Letterman Show,, Youtube, Google Maps

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