PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Amid reports that a Russian billionaire may soon take full control of the Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets, the arena’s neighbors and local elected officials are pushing for the state to review the deal before it goes through.
Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Sports and Entertainment, the potential buyer of the sports center and its team, already owns 80 percent of the Nets and 45 percent of Barclays. But his company may soon buy both the arena and the team outright, according to a Dec. 2 report from Bloomberg Business.
That news is troubling to those who represent the area, including Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, Assemblyman Walter Mosley and State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, who signed a letter with Park Slope and Boerum Hill state representatives Jim Brennan and Jo Anne Simon to pressure the Empire State Development Corporation to oversee the deal — and make sure it doesn’t nix promises made to the community by the arena’s original owner, Forest City Enterprises.
“We ask that any such sale be subject to a fair, open, and timely public review,” the Dec. 15 letter read. “We also request that if the sale is approved the new owners be legally committed to being responsive to the community with regards to the impact of arena related events,” including illegal parking, hygiene, lighting and noise.
The written request from the elected officials was echoed by a second letter sent to the ESD on Dec. 16, written by the Barclays Center Impact Zone Alliance, a group of residents living near the arena who first organized last year in response to the now-failed bid to bring the Democratic National Convention to the sports arena.
The group, in addressing ESD President Howard Zemsky, was clear they want the state to be more involved in any negotiations for a sale at Barclays.
“This deal should not move forward as planned without a public review process and a firm agreement as to arena operations protocols and oversight measures,” they wrote before a detailed list of suggestions for such measures.
A spokesman for the Barclays Center declined to comment. Inquiries to ESD were not returned Monday.
It’s unclear when or how the reported sale to Prokhorov’s company would take place.