BOSTON — Boston’s TD Garden has agreed to pay Massachusetts nearly $2 million after local teens discovered the arena failed to hold fundraisers benefiting state parks and recreational areas for years, despite a state law mandating them to.
The arena, which is home to the NBA’s Celtics and NHL’s Bruins, announced Thursday that it will pay $1.65 million to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation.
The agency, in turn, said it would kick in $1 million and designate those funds to benefit a community athletic facility in Boston’s Jackson Square.
The students who uncovered the oversight had been seeking funding for a new hockey rink for their neighborhood.
At a protest Thursday at TD Garden, the students and their supporters criticized the retroactive payments as falling far short of the nearly $14 million they calculate the arena actually owes, based on penalties and interest over the years.
They held signs denouncing TD Garden owner Jeremy Jacobs and chanted: “Jeremy Jacobs you can’t hide, we’ve got justice on our side.”
A 1993 state law obligated TD Garden’s owners to host three fundraisers a year on behalf of the recreation agency in exchange for state approval to construct a new facility.
But arena owners and the state acknowledged in separate letters to the students that no fundraisers have ever been held.
They promised Thursday that they’re developing a plan to ensure the arena meets its legal obligations going forward.