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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cut the Crap

Paul Post, reporting for the Saratogian and for the Thoroughbred Times, reports that Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos and Governor Paterson "traded barbs" over the stalled racino at Aqueduct. As you may recall, Skelos originally objected to the selection of Delaware North back when he, still the Majority Leader, had a chance to actually do something about it. You may recall that Democrats accused him of costing the state $1 million a day, and even posted a calculator. Skelos instead quickly gave in, allowing ex-State Senator Serph Maltese to take credit for getting a better deal for the community in a failed attempt to boost his campaign hopes.

Governor Paterson said of the failure thus far to finalize an MOU:

“We knew and pointed out that the MOU process would be about six months.....We’re right on time.” [The Saratogian]
OK, I happen to like the governor, and I want him to succeed. I think that a good deal of the criticism over his Senate selection process was unfair, and that he's acted responsibly and reasonably to close the deficit while in an impossible position politically. But that statement is a load of crap that smells enough to make the Big A backstretch seem like the fragrance aisle at Macy's. The opening paragraph of the press release issued by the governor's office announcing the deal asserted that Delaware North "will look to break ground on the new facility in Queens by early 2009." There was never even a mention of an MOU at that point; and if it was going to take six months to agree on one, then breaking ground wouldn't occur until the spring at the earliest. So we are not "right on time" Mr. Governor.
“This is the first we’re hearing of his expectation that this was going to take six months to finalize,” [Skelos] spokesman Scott Reif said. [Thoroughbred Times]
To whom is it exactly that Paterson "pointed out" the expected delay? Charles O'Byrne? Sadly, there have been a number of occasions on which Paterson's truthfulness has been questioned. So his credibility in this matter is shaky. By claiming that the project is "right on time," his respect for our intelligence is non-existent.


Anonymous said...

Watchful Horseman.

Alan, I trust you won't mind me repeating along the this vein, but to many of us, it's pivotal in attempting to botanize the high level of political poison within, qualify who's going for the
High-Jump ASAP & how to rectify it, ASAP.

The big issue to highlight here, is the fact that the bidders had to PROVE, their financing during the exhaustive & prolonged, State compliance 'bouts'.

The public facts are, that the State (in the middle of the financial crisis and the bailout of the banks for $750 Billion), asked each bidder to confirm their financing.

Clearly if Deleware North then had the financing confirmed, it can not sue, its lender(s) for the money.

Governor David Paterson is on record, as stating, that all the bidders, were qualified and that he chose DN for their $370 Million up-front payment.

Therefore the big question is, either that DN lied or that the State was incompetent in not crossing their TT's.

It is easy to betroth enormous
non-viable upfront payments, to glossy eyed pollies, if you never intend to forfil the financial obligation, thus, among other murky reasons, you eliminate opposing bidders, then move the goal posts, in re-negotiating Terms & Conditions in this case, the State of NY..

If DN did lie, then its lies have cost over 4 months of delays, at a sumly cost, of over $1.0 million lost revenue, per day.

In my money, this amounts of over $120 million and counting, so far !!

Will Governor Paterson and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, now seek legal re-course against DN, for the loss of this money to the State, of which the NY racing sector and Queens community, must also receive a goodly share?

Surely the taxpayers will Demand, that this now happen.

Are you listening, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer & Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos & where the (invisible) buck stops...
Governor Paterson !

Anonymous said...

Soon after the announcement of Delaware North as the chosen bidder, for in Governor David Paterson's words "upping the ante," Morgan Hook, a spokesman for Paterson, said "the memorandum should be signed in the early weeks of 2009." On my calender, we are past the early weeks of 2009, unless of course the description of "early" falls into the former President's category of double-speak "it depends on what the definition of is is."

Perhaps instead of spewing political lies riddled with deception, elected officials should just do the things we elected them in the first place to do, make good decisions on behalf of their constituents. When an agreement can't be closed with a vendor like Dealware North, do what the private business world would do and discard that group, then go to the list of underbidders to find a solution. A Governor with as keen a background as Paterson must see this as a reasonable approach to solving a problem in NY state, so what political force or "chit" already played is holding him back?If he doesn't stick it out and renegotiate the deal with Jeremy Jacobs, will he once again threaten to move Delaware North out of Buffalo? Are we being held hostage in Queens because of "things" totally unrelated to the Aqueduct transaction, something of utmost importance to the community and the state's horse industry?

Delaware North's time is up. Please take the lead Governor David Paterson, reselect a gaming operator based purely on ability to get the job done, not some quid pro quo bargain struck inside the bowels of Albany's mysterious capitol building.

Anonymous said...

Watchful Horseman.

NO, call for outside bidders.
...why not ! Present crowds are non-existant.

Anonymous said...

Watchful Horseman.

Thoughtful post, but possible to expand on -

"If he doesn't stick it out and renegotiate the deal with Jeremy Jacobs, will he once again threaten to move Delaware North out of Buffalo? "

as I'm honestly not & am sure others, aware of this media?

Anonymous said...

Many have heard the cries from DelNorth and Jacobs before. In a piece dated October 27, 2008 from the Times Union's Irene Jay Liu, the following paragraph provides a clue in supporting the long running rumors, and the presumption that there may be more than the Aqueduct bid at stake:

"Delaware North is a New York company, and I am delighted that we could help enusre that they stay here for a long time to come. This development is about sound investment in our State, which is critical at a time when our economy is reeling," said Governor Paterson. "Delaware North employs thousands of New Yorkers, from Buffalo, across Upstate and in New York City. Smart Investment is when we put faith in those that have put their faith in New York State."

Read between the lines to understand why Paterson is having a hard time throwing DelNorth out the door. The bid was meant to be what's best for Aqueduct, not to guarantee DelNorth's NY tenancy.

Anonymous said...

Sad, but entertaining nonetheless, the finger pointing and lectures as to who was ready when.

"I was ready to make the decision in July 2008, Paterson said this week. "Had I done so in July, in concert with the Assembly speaker, who was ready, and the Senate majority leader, who was not--which is probably why he is now the former majority leader--we would already be done at this point." MEOW Governor and way to change the subject away from DelNorth's unresolved issues.

Compare Paterson's recent rheotoric to remarks made in early May 2008 "that an Aqueduct Racetrack gaming operator should be named within two weeks," followed up by comments made by former Senate Majority leader Joseph L. Bruno's team on May 2, 2008: "Working with the governor and the Assembly, we expect to be able to make a selection by Tuesday May 6," said Scott Reif, a spokesman for Bruno.

What happened to the May 2008 deal, as based on what you read, the parties were ready to decide back then?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Alan, Rudy can clean up the mess after he's elected Guv in 2010! VLT's finally up and running downstate in '12, just as Rudy gets the GOP nod for the Presidential with Sarah on as V.P.