There is quite an interesting, if not possibly revelatory, assertion by Charlie Hayward in the story by Paul Post in The Saratogian (and actually originally in the Thoroughbred Times). While conceding that NYRA will run out of cash by the time racing shifts to Saratoga next summer, Hayward claims that NYRA is entitled to a share of the up front payment by the eventual winner of the Big A racino sweepstakes. "I don’t believe it’s a crisis," he said of the continuing delay. I've not heard that before.
That would lessen some of the drama surrounding the fiasco, because, certainly, the selection will be made in time for the payment to be made by June or July. Right? Huh? I mean, for sure, right? In fact, the money is included in the deficit reduction plan for the budget year which ends on March 31. [Senator Joseph Addabbo, the creep whose early 'no' vote help send the gay marriage bill down to its ignominious defeat, expressed doubt about the timing:
Once an operator is selected, it will take 60 days to work out a memorandum of understanding and another 30 days to transfer cash to the state, Addabbo said. “We risk not realizing the $200 million this fiscal year if a decision isn’t made soon,” he said. [Thoroughbred Times]But where Hayward's optimism starts to fray is here:
A set amount hasn’t been determined and is subject to negotiation.Good luck with that. You probably recall past standoffs between NYRA and the state when the former was on the brink. I imagine that, as then, NYRA would be presented with conditions at which it would balk, perhaps including another look at those benchmarks that a reader mentioned the other day.
Having said that though, the $30 million that NYRA got when it emerged from bankruptcy in September 2008 will have lasted 20+ months by summertime, so it shouldn't take too much cash to get it through to the time that slots go live. Assuming of course....
- The upstate Times Herald-Record reports that not only is the construction of Louis Cappelli's Concord project stalled, but his accounts payable department is too.
Some 19 contractors are owed $18.3 million for steel, architectural plans, engineering, environmental studies and demolition work for Cappelli's Entertainment City project, according to public records....."We have continually sent invoices and they are just not interested in paying.." [Recordonline.com]As you may recall, Cappelli was relentless in his determination to press on despite the financial crisis. But it proved to be too much, and a brain aneurysm that Cappelli suffered in July certainly didn't help.
Interesting note in the abovelinkedto article about Cappelli claiming to be negotiating with Penn National....to join him as a full partner. That company is of course one of the Big A bidders, and one which, for several reasons, makes sense to me. (Though not to Representative Audrey Pheffer, who finds their plans "a little too boxy, unimaginative and not too exciting.” [Queens Chronicle]) A deal with Cappelli might not be a bad consolation should they not get Aqueduct. They're certainly in position to negotiate favorable terms, and remember that Cappelli won a 75% cut of VLT revenues at the facility.
- I linked to an article in the Queens Chronicle a few weeks ago which contained a quote attributed to NYRA's marketing director Dan Silver for which I called him out for being insensitive to the vendors at the Big A Flea Market. He wrote to inform me that he was "heavily misquoted," and that he would never be that much of an asshole. And it's true, I've met and dealt with him, and he's a nice guy who's done a fantastic job since he took over. Should have checked with him first.