Louis Cappelli is quite the determined man as he forges ahead, against the economic
tides tsunami, with his grand Concord project which will include the new Monticello Raceway, without doubt the biggest event the harness industry in this state will have seen in many a decade. (This assuming that the raceway is able to persuade creditors to hold their horses on $65 million in debt that is due in July.) Cappelli has managed to win a myriad of tax breaks, financing from unusual sources, and an unprecedented 75% share of VLT revenues.
Now, according to the Times Herald-Record, he's looking for a piece of the federal government stimulus package too!
The developer plans to bond up to $450 million through the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency to build public portions of the project, including the parking garages, events center and theater.The state of the muni market has implications for the Big A racino as well since the cost of construction is supposed to be covered by $250 million in bond issues. Maybe if Delaware North and lawmakers in Albany had just a fraction of the drive and creativity shown by this guy, the project wouldn't be stalled as it is.
But with the worldwide lending crisis, the bond market is extremely poor right now, says Cappelli's executive vice president, Joe Apicella. That's why the developer and his partners put in a request with their federal lawmakers to tap into economic stimulus money. They hope to use federal money to guarantee the bonds to make them marketable. Cappelli says he is looking to bond about $100 million in the first phase of the project and $300 million in the second phase.
"The entire municipal bond market has stalled in all states," Cappelli said.
Cappelli's project came up last week during the contentious hearings conducted by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky regarding the Yankees' request for more tax-free bonds to complete their new stadium. Team president Randy Levine came obviously well-prepared for Brodsky's scathing criticism of the scheme.
He called Brodsky a "hypocrite" for voting for a $105 million cash bailout for the New York Racing Association, tax incentives for Monticello Raceway, and video lottery terminals for Yonkers Raceway several months ago.- As reported in the Times yesterday, the so-called 'millionaires tax' will no doubt be a key component of the negotiations in Albany over how to close the state's $15 billion budget deficit. I was interested to read in the article that "the richest 1 percent of New Yorkers paid more than 40 percent of the income tax in 2007, up from about 30 percent in 1996." That seemed quite familiar because it's always been my understanding that, similarly, a very small percentage of bettors comprise an outsize share of betting handle at the track. That got me thinking that if we raised the takeout on those biggest bettors, any short-term increase in the state's share would likely be offset by driving them away. And that, of course, is one of the arguments, rejected out of hand by us Democrats, against taxing the rich in the state. So it follows that I started thinking that maybe that's not such a good idea either, and that, my God, am I turning Republican?? :-0
Records show that from 2003 to 2007, Brodsky collected $71,200 in campaign contributions from horse-racing interests, including Kylie Travis, wife of developer Louis Cappelli, the largest shareholder in Empire Resorts, which operates Monticello Raceway.
"Some deals are good deals and some deals are bad deals," Brodsky said of his votes, adding Cappelli is a longtime friend whose involvement with Monticello Raceway began two years after the contributions. [NY Post]