Crain's New York Business reported on Monday that the Big A sweepstakes is now a 2-horse race between Penn National and SL Green; that according to a "source close to the process." Not sure how any such conclusions can be drawn at this particular time considering that the bidders were
invited encouraged to submit revised financial proposals, with the deadline passing just last Friday. Especially since, according to Crain's, all five groups agreed to the governor's latest request for a $200 million up-front payment.
The article discusses reservations about each of those presumed frontrunners. Penn National is said to have "checkered dealings with organized labor."
State officials are likely to be concerned by Penn's cozy relationship with the Seafarers Entertainment and Allied Trades Union. Labor insiders charge that Penn and the Seafarers agree to substandard contracts in order to boost the company's reputation as a responsible employer and keep other unions at bay. Penn denies this.And SL Green is said to be susceptible to a "continued deterioration in the commercial office market."
“There's a little bit of trepidation about why it makes sense for an office-focused landlord to get into a racino development deal,” says Michael Knott, a senior analyst at Green Street Advisors. “It's a little bit of a head-scratcher.”Meanwhile, Governor Paterson addressed a rare joint session of the Legislature to implore lawmakers to make the necessary spending cuts to address a looming budget deficit of some $3-$4 billion, depending on who you believe. The governor told lawmakers that, without taking action the state will "have challenges to our State’s finances and to our cash flow in 4 1/2 weeks....Frankly, we are running out of money."
"I will mortgage my political career on this plan, but I will not mortgage the state of New York." [Capitol Confidential]Good line. Not to minimize the severity of the crisis, but the governor was also no doubt continuing his determined drive to revive his political fortunes. Now, Paterson has hired veteran Clintonite Harold Ickes, who gives his campaign credibility and who, according to Ben Smith of Politico, has deep roots in labor and his role will be to keep them on board.
Not only does Paterson continue to raise campaign cash, but he's spending it too. Have you seen his campaign ads?
I'm telling you man, this guy is too much, I'm totally on board. This is one of two TV ads which are part of a “substantial, extended and statewide” ad run featuring the slogan “Governor Paterson: The People First.” The White House may have done better to let sleeping dogs lie.
Senate Democrats, feeling Republican footsteps in the wake of that party's showing in two county executive races last week, will be reluctant to agree during today's extraordinary legislative session to the education and healthcare cuts that the governor and his staff insist are necessary at this time. Senate Finance Committee chairman Carl Kruger, who recently suggested that the governor was exaggerating the deficit to benefit himself politically, is offering an alternative plan of one-shot type savings, plus a proposed expansion of hours at the state's racinos. Paterson's budget director Robert Megna met with legislative leaders on Monday and declared: “I didn’t think it was possible....but I’m more depressed than when I walked in.” He should check out those campaign ads, that should cheer him up.