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Friday, May 15, 2009

Peebles On The Big Ah

Thanks a million to this reader for calling to our attention an interview on CNBC with Aqueduct bidder R. Donohue Peebles, who is apparently a regular known affectionately as 'Don' on the network's Squawk Box program. And here it is (excuse the commercial, and please scroll down) [and thanks for reader theiman for sending the link]:

If host Carl Quintanilla, who twice referred to the racetrack as Ah-queduct (as opposed to the Head Chef's Ah-qweeduct) was more knowledgeable of the subject, perhaps he would have asked Peebles about the fact that he's listed by Delaware North as a partner in its bid too. Then again, he probably wouldn't have anyway. Seemed an obvious case of the network giving a regular guest a chance to hype his bid before a national audience, 99% of whom couldn't care less about Ahqueduct.

Peebles might have given up some new information when he spilled some details about his project, which he described as "world class....something you would see in Atlantic City or Las Vegas." He spoke about a 5,000 seat venue for live entertainment and a 350 room, 4-star hotel; the type of amenities by the way that were lacking from Delaware North's original front-loaded bid. He also confirmed, as reported the other day, the involvement of MGM Mirage in his bid.

Peebles' other partner was reported by Tom Precious to be Harbinger Capital Partners, a Manhattan-based investment firm. On its sparse website (here indeed is a "shadowy" outfit), the company identifies one of its specialties as the Distressed/Bankruptcy arena.

investments in companies that are already in default, in bankruptcy, or in some other stage of financial failure or distress
And that seems rather appropriate, don't it?


Anonymous said...

Maybe someone should tell him, the State is loosing $1M a day in projected revenue to Education. Not $1M a year as he stated. $2.8B lost since 2001, when legislation became law to permit VLTs.

Anonymous said...

Do you think "Don" was reading all those citations he was making off of a teleprompter? He didn't seem to have much of a grasp on the subject, more like a commercial for he and his MGM partner.

Why would Governor David Paterson, Speaker Sheldon Silver and Majority Leader Malcolm Smith consider bringing MGM into the hobbled Aqueduct project now? As reported by the NY Times Deal Book, MGM just reported "that it will issue $2.5 billion in new stock and bonds, as well as begin an offer to buy back $1 bilion in debt, as part of an effort to reduce its $14 billion in borrowings and avoid default and bankruptcy." Also, "MGM announced that it ammended its credit agreement for a sixth time. The facility depends on MGM's ability to raise the necessary capital but allows the casino operator to avoid defaulting on its loans even it its auditors question whether it can conntinue to operate for the forseeable future." Now that's reassuring!

This Aqueduct deal needs a "jumpstart" not some old, tired overleveraged gaming giant lacking liquidity.

Anonymous said...

R. Donahue Peebles politics have been discussed on this blog before. He was a campaign finance "bundler" for President Obama, a member of the Kennedy-Shriver social set out on the east end of Long Island, and he started out his political fascinations with former Mayor Marion Barry in Washington, D.C.

His background and modus operandi as a real estate developer in Washington D.C and Miami, Fl are described in this piece writen by Francisco Alvarado from the Miami New Times called: Beating Whitey; Developer Donahue Peebles is as handsome, smooth, articulate and nasty as he needs to be.

The article is 13 pages, loaded with interviews and quotes from those Mr. Peebles has encountered.

Anonymous said...

Yikes. Peebles certainly isn't suffering from a hubris shortage, is he? Not real sure that it's the future of the BigA or community development he's concerned about, as much as self-aggrandizing. Don's way or the highway, it appears from this article.

Anonymous said...

Don Peebles has a history that merits investigation and comment. What matters is not what we bloggers uncover or say, but what the head cheese in Albany, and I believe that's still Governor David Paterson, has to say about the individual.

Anonymous said...

Real estate and finace industry folk know of Don Peebles' storied history. Study Don Peebles and his self promoted development company and judge for yourself. He appears quite savvy in the political ring, so-so in the development arena.

What's with all the Aqueduct bids anyhow?

Anonymous said...

The following is a press release from another blog site. This is the type of political "schmoozing" that Peebles does best.

Sixth Annual Queens Economic Breakfast
Friday, May 22, 2009 - 8:30AM
Citi, One Court Square, 50th Floor,
Long Island City, NY

Queens Economic Development Corporation confirms the participation of R. Donahue Peebles of The Peebles Corporation at the Sixth Annual Queens Economic Breakfast honoring Malcolm A. Smith, New York State Democratic Majority Leader.

Senator Smith has represented the 14th Senatorial District in Queens since winning a Special Election in March of 2000. His unique skills and diverse background in both the private and public sector has helped to foster expansion of social and economic opportunities for constituents in his home district of Southeast Queens. Senator Smith brought millions of dollars into Queens to help build affordable housing, improve schools and create jobs.

R. Donahue Peebles is the owner of The Peebles Corporation, the country's largest African American real estate development company with a $4 billion development portfolio of luxury hotels, high-rise residential and Class A commercial properties and developments in Washington, D.C., New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Miami Beach.

The Breakfast takes place on Friday, May 22, 2009 at 8:30AM at Citi, One Court Square, 50th Floor, Long Island City, NY.

This event will also include presentations from Jonathan Bowles, Center for Urban Future, James Parrott, Fiscal Policy Institute providing a general and local economic outlook, Seth Pinsky, President of NYC EDC presenting on city led development opportunities with a special focus on Queens and Joseph Mattone, Sr. of Mattone Development, developer of retail properties in Queens.

Anonymous said...

Interesting information posted here on the NY newcomer R. Donahue Peebles. Given what I've read here, I also think an understanding of his involvement in NY political circles is critical in assessing his credentials.

Back in 2002, Don Peebles was a campaign donator and fund raiser for Democrat H. Carl McCall's run against George Pataki for NY Governor. In a 2002 NY Times piece, Peebles described McCall as being at "the forefront of the evolution of Afro-American political candidates."

In June 2008, Carl McCall told "The Real Deal" that he had invested in Peebles' projects and that he is encouraging him to proceed with establishing a $350 million private equity fund designed to support small and mid sized NY developers in urban centers that tend to be diverse in both ethnicity and gender."

Carl McCall has been, and may still be, Governor David Paterson's biggest supporter in the NY Democratic party. Based on some Albany "buzz" Paterson seems to be supporting Peebles, as I suppose he would be if McCall is pushing the concept. Remember, another job placement recommendation by McCall to then Senate Minority Leader Paterson was the Afro-American photographer whose placement ended up costing the State $300,000 to settle a race discrimination allegation made by the ousted photographer. It will be harder for the Governor to convince Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith that Peebles, as perhaps proposed by McCall is the right guy, while former Comptroller McCall and his Convent Capital company are being investigated by Andrew Cuomo as a result of the Comproller's office "pay to play" scandal. It will be even harder for Democrats in the Assembly and Senate to support their leadership if the future of the party is headed Cuomo's way as opposed to remaining with Paterson. After all, it was McCall in 2002 that nearly stifled Andrew Cuomo's politcal career for good during the democratic nomination for Governor campaign.

At one point I figured it was about the best bid for Aqueduct, delivered by the most qualified parties. Of course there is always going to be some political "muscle" and "contact" displayed in NY. Just as long as it isn't the primary reason for selection, a properly considered racino development deal will work at the Big A.