RSS Feed for this Blog

Monday, December 21, 2009

Charlie Changes His Tone

A couple of weeks ago, Charlie Hayward told Paul Post of the continuing delay over the Big A racino: "I don’t believe it’s a crisis." He was referring to the fact that NYRA is supposed to receive an upfront payment from the winning bidder to cover any gaps in its operating budget (though the exact nature of that payment is subject to negotiations).

However, the NYRA CEO's comments have been more dire (or at least have been portrayed that way by his interviewers) in subsequent articles, emphasizing the fact that the association may run out of money and have to close after the Aqueduct spring meeting. And in today's Daily News article, Hayward resorts to the most drastic threat in his arsenal.

"If we can't make payroll, we have to shut down. There is certainly a possibility that Belmont may not open and there will be no third leg of the Triple Crown."
That's the kind of headline-making assertion which I've already seen picked up in articles elsewhere. Hayward is, I'd surmise, being a bit dramatic here in an attempt to move things along; assuming, that is, that NYRA really is in line to receive a life line from the winning bidder as soon as it is chosen. However, given the state of the negotiations as portrayed in the DN piece - somewhere ranging between nowhere and nonexistent, to be precise - maybe he's not.
A legislative source said the "sails went flat" on Aqueduct talks after leaders agreed on a budget plan.

"The Assembly was amenable to more than one bidder, but the Senate was at loggerheads with the governor," the source said.

Spokesmen for Silver and Sampson say the ball is in Paterson's court. "It's really the governor's office that's running the whole process," Silver spokeswoman Melissa Mansfield said.
A source with knowledge of the deliberations (or lack thereof) informs me that Governor Paterson is "very upset" by the Daily News story; specifically, regarding the above criticism of his office's role in the stalemate. Some feel that his general counsel, Peter Kiernan, has favored SL Green all along and has "manipulated" the process. Paterson, I'm told, insists that he alone will make the decision, that he does not favor one bidder over another, and that he is merely trying to get all the parties to agree.

If that's the case, then the governor should consider my suggestion that he demonstrate the same kind of leadership and assertiveness that he has in his recent dealings with the legislature on the budget (not to mention in his recent and frequent appearances on local and national TV and radio in an attempt to bolster his re-election chances), and make that decision, announce it publicly, and put the pressure on the other two to agree, or to tell us all why they don't.


Anonymous said...

So what are the odds of the decision coming out of Albany this week?

I think they may have gotten a bit better after the publicaiton of the DN article today.

Anonymous said...

Who will pay upfront for the Aqueduct slots when there is a good chance that there will be a full blown casino at Belmont Park operated by the Shinnecocks. I think the whole thing is on hold till a deal is worked out with the Shinnecocks. I don't know how Patterson can make any decision at this point. NYRA is in real trouble. Doubt there will be any political will to bail them out again. Not with school and health aid cuts coming.

jk said...

There is no chance of a decision this week. The only "new" news in the DN piece is NYRA might shut down in the spring. Albany will look at this and say we do not have to decide anything until spring.

It is no accident the Senate wants Malcolm Smith and Co. and the Assembly wants Shelly Silver and Co.

There is big money on the line and the powers that be want their cut.

Anonymous said...

In trying to figure out the reasons for the incredible fiasco/delay for Aueduct slots, I say follow the money. Over the last 8 years of inaction, billions have been made by casinos in neighboring environs. Is there any doubt a successful casino in convenient Queens would negatively impact the likes of competitors in Connecticut and A.C.?????...I say this is a classic case of legal/illegal doings in Albany

Anonymous said...

The Feds went for Joe Bruno for $3 million. They got a conviction for his dealings with Abbruzzese and the Jury clearly was focused on the Friends of New York Racing and Empire Racing's bid for the NYRA Franchise as it related to Bruno/Abbruzzese dealings.

Surely the Feds should now be looking at this whole franchise debacle. Something is not on the 'up and up'.

Anonymous said...

The fact that NYRA has not announced a Stakes schedule for Belmont and Saratoga lends credence to Charlies assertions.

While fairly certain it is gamesmanship, it is certainly warranted. No excuses, but then again there really has been no excuse for the last 18 months.

Anonymous said...

This mismanaged organization, had no right being awarded the franchise to begin with. That was Oked at the time, by then Gov client nine. As a abused horseplayer here in Ny for so many years, all i can say is to hell with the NYRA.

Anonymous said...

So will the Gov unilaterally announce SL Green given that Peter Kiernan is clearly in their camp?

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope thatthet Governor does not follow the recommendation of Peter Kiernan (if the press reports are to be believed) and reward Abbruzzese/SL Green team.

Anonymous said...

Silly me, I just want them to pick someone, anyone, soon.

Sure, I want them to pick the bidder with the most viable long term plan, but at this point I will even settle for a slots in box operation if the winner actually gets the thing up and running.

Consider me worn down.