A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith told the Saratogian:
“Senator Smith has been completely divested of any relationship to the Dorman Group for nearly a decade and as leader of the state Senate will continue to be fair and impartial throughout the bidding process."Here, I must report that the company is actually called the Darman Group, a partner in the bid by Aqueduct Entertainment Group as you may know; the article uses the wrong name on several occasions. Seriously man, do I have to do these papers' editing for them? I'm certainly not one to talk when it comes to clean copy myself...but don't they have an editor on staff? Well, maybe not, the way things are going in the newspaper industry these days.
The spokesperson also said that the Senate Majority Leader's longtime friendship with the Rev Floyd Flake, also connected to the group, has never and will never influence any governmental decisions the senator makes. It wasn't reported as to whether this was said with a straight face.
Harbinger Capital Partners, the hedge fund which is a partner, along with MGM Mirage, in R. Donohue Peebles' bid, owns a 19% stake in the New York Times, making it the struggling paper's largest public shareholder. The fund started acquiring stock in late 2007 when the shares traded in a range between $15-20. The stock closed today at $6.63. A $500 million investment is now worth around $200 million. There were reports last week that David Geffen offered to buy the shares....or maybe it was the other way around. Like MGM, Harbinger Capital Partners does not seem to coming to the Big A table from a position of strength. The Seeking Alpha website ranks them at the top of their list of hedge fund losers, with a 60.8% depreciation of their assets over the last year.
- Finally made it to Belmont on Saturday, though I didn't stick around for the Preakness. The only big addition I saw (though I didn't case out the whole joint) was a big increase in the number of new wide screen TV monitors in the backyard, so that's a good thing.
One major change was that the music stage was moved from way in the backyard to the "Paddock Tent," right behind the grandstand. And that's a major change. The large grassy area there is prime space - sun and shade, close to the paddock and a short walk through the grandstand to the track. Whatsmore, it had always been a safe haven for those who prefer to handicap without music of greatly varying quality blaring in their ears. I would guess that not everyone is happy about this (including the Rasta guys who used the space as Spleef Central).
Personally, I don't mind having the further reaches of the backyard as a quiet space. But on Saturday, the band wasn't bad at all as far as those things go, so I was hanging out there for awhile. I sensed big trouble on the way though. Since the band included a keyboard player, I knew to expect the worst. And indeed, it came at around 3 PM, in the form of You May Be Right. In retrospect, instead of quickly seeking shelter. I should have jumped on stage, grabbed the mic, and sang that song to everyone who thought I was crazy regarding Rachel Alexandra. (Neither the band nor Billy Joel appeared that night at the No Fun Fest.)