NEW YORK -- A proposed $2 billion Manhattan stadium that is seen as vital to New York's effort to land the 2012 Olympics survived a critical legal challenge yesterday, just days before the International Olympic Committee reviews the city's bid.
State Justice Herman Cahn dismissed a lawsuit alleging illegalities in the purchase of the land for the stadium, which would be built over rail yards along the Hudson River on the city's West Side.
The IOC evaluation commission is set to present a report on New York's bid to the full committee Monday. The head of the commission said in February that a stadium would be crucial to the city's chances.
New York is vying with Paris, London, Madrid, and Moscow for the Olympics. The IOC will select a host city on July 6.
''We are extremely pleased with today's court decision regarding the Olympic Stadium," said Jay Kriegel, executive director of the NYC2012 organizing group. ''The court has ruled in favor of the stadium, and totally rejected all of the bogus arguments intended to stop the project."
The stadium, if completed, would be the home of the New York Jets, who now play at the Meadowlands, across the river in New Jersey.
The Jets' offer was $250 million, Cablevision's $760 million. But the judge said there were other factors involved, and the transit agency acted appropriately in accepting the Jets' bid.
The judge also dismissed three other lawsuits brought by politicians and watchdog groups against the stadium plan, though he ordered the transit agency and the Jets to delay their closing on the deal so Cablevision and others can appeal.
Opponents of the stadium deal said they are confident the decision will be overturned on appeal. ''We do not believe the MTA board has the right to cut an inside deal," Madison Square Garden said in a statement. ''The overwhelming majority of New Yorkers stand together in opposition to this waste of taxpayer funds."
Polls have shown that about 40 percent of New York City residents support the proposed stadium. The city and the state have committed to spend $300 million apiece on the project. Mayor Michael Bloomberg seized on the judge's decision to press the state Public Authorities Control Board to approve state funding, which could happen as early as today.