- I really didn't have too much to say, but I wanted to get the last post off the "front page" due to my embarrassing gaffe in completely mis-reading the Bloodhorse article on the Synth Summit (that was good at least, wasn't it?) in California. Hopefully, you'll all misremember that really soon.
But as long as I'm here, there was an Associated Press story the other day about some parcels of land that NYRA is seeking permission from the bankruptcy court to sell. I guess this is the land that reader theiman, whose favorite hockey team presently stands at the crossroads between fulfillment of its wondrous potential and the all-too-familiar descent into ignominy, was wondering about. And this sharp Anon commenter found the relevant clause. NYRA told the court that the $31 million it received from the state over the last year is "almost fully expended.".
In documents filed Tuesday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, NYRA said that selling the properties could help it maintain its operations, pay administrative expenses related to its bankruptcy case and continue negotiations with the state on a "definitive" settlement agreement.Huh? You mean the agreement is un-definitive?
Brian Rosen, an attorney representing NYRA, said in an interview Wednesday that the definitive settlement agreement is aimed at resolving outstanding litigation and clearing up other issues, such as how the racing association will give up ownership of the racetracks.I thought they were just going to hand over the deeds! Sounds like a chance for Brian Rosen to add some more hours to the bill. I wonder if the $15 to $20 million that NYRA hopes to gain from the sale will cover their legal expenses?
Also un-definitive is whether or not Belmont will ultimately get slots. A bill to permit them was introduced, in the State Assembly by Assemblyman Tom Alfano (R) and in the Senate by Republican Senator Dean Skelos, who many consider to be the heir apparent to the present Senate Majority Leader. (If they're still in the Majority after this year, that is.) A copy of the measure can be found here. Senator Bruno and Governor Spitzer both favor VLT's at Belmont; Sheldon Silver remains opposed; but with the issue now intertwined with the upcoming budget negotiations ( Spitzer's proposal includes $250 million from the sale of development rights to a Belmont racino), I wouldn't bet against the Speaker being open to some bargaining.
- Off topic, and to get that last post even further down on the page, I wanted to mention that we were really taken aback by all the 'For Sale' signs that we saw in Florida. I guess that we're somewhat isolated from the mortgage crisis here in New York City, where the outrageous property values are only slightly less so, if that. But down there, there was not a block we passed that didn't have at least one house for sale, and that was true in the more affluent areas as well as the more modest ones.
And while we were there, Spitzer was in DC testifying before Congress, and appearing on CNBC, where he basically blamed the entire mess on the Bush Administration.
Spitzer recalled that several years ago the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency went to court and blocked New York efforts to investigate the mortgage activities of national banks. Spitzer argued the OCC did not put a stop to questionable loan marketing practices or uphold higher underwriting standards.Spitzer and his insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo told Congress that, when considering rescue plans for bond insurers, the municipal bond markets should receive particular consideration as opposed to the Wall Street firms that they (also) blamed for the crisis. This drew two Op Ed articles on the same day in the Wall Street Journal that blasted the governor. The Journal has long loathed Spitzer from his AG days picking on poor victims like Richard Grasso; and that was before Rupert Murdoch bought the paper!
"This could have been avoided if the OCC had done its job," Spitzer said in the interview. "The OCC did nothing. The Bush Administration let the housing bubble inflate and now that it's deflating we're dealing with the consequences." [Yahoo News]
OK, that's long enough, I'm done.