Just as the New York Knicks and Rangers are finally performing well at the same time, owner James Dolan has decided to bring all the attention his way yet again. According to the New York Times, Dolan, who owns Madison Square Garden in addition to the teams that play there, had a New York State Liquor Authority investigator tailed amid an ongoing feud with the agency’s board.
Charles Stravalle, a former NYPD captain who is now a part-time investigator for the authority, noticed in recent weeks that the driver of a black Chevrolet had been following him around all day and parked outside his Queens house armed with a camera. After Stravalle called the cops, they pulled over the man. In a court filing this week, MSG Entertainment, the holding company for the stadium and the New York teams, admitted that it had hired a private investigator, claiming that this was a “common and lawful practice.”
The decision to have a low-level state employee followed comes amid Dolan’s larger beef with the State Liquor Authority. Over the past year, MSG Entertainment has used facial recognition to ban attorneys of law firms that have sued him from his venues across the city. According to the New York State attorney general’s office, the ban potentially impacts “thousands” of lawyers across some 90 law firms. Even after the authority began investigating MSG over the ban and other alleged transgressions, Dolan has refused to back down. Last week, he sued the authority’s board, alleging it threatened to ban alcohol at his games, and he has maintained a defiant stance in interviews. “This isn’t gonna bother me because I’ve been sober 29 years,” Dolan said in January. “I don’t need the liquor.”
To outside observers, Dolan and his company’s antics may seem petty and counterproductive. But as Knicks fans know all too well, Dolan is neither afraid of being annoying or of micromanaging aspects of his business that would be better off left alone.