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Thursday, December 17, 2009


- With the news that the Shinnecock tribe has taken a huge step towards federal recognition, a reader emailed: "Who fronts $200 million for Aqueduct knowing that the tribe could put up a full casino in NYC area tomorrow?"

Good question, though it won't quite be tomorrow. While recognition is virtually assured, a public-comment period of up to six months must be held before the final order is issued. [NYT]

In addition, while federal recognition by itself entitles the tribe a build a Class II (slots only) casino on their reservation on eastern Long Island - a concept which has generated fierce opposition from the local communitythe tribe has now ruled out, additional negotiations with the feds and the state will be required for a full-blown casino located outside of the reservation; that due to a a Bush administration decision that Indian casinos must be within commuting distance of reservations - or 75 miles - so that Indians would be able to work there. [Newsday]

Nonetheless, one state senator already wants to start the process towards the inevitable casino at Belmont.

State Senator Craig Johnson, a Long Island Democrat whose district encompasses Belmont, said the state should immediately begin serious talks about the issue.

“The first topic I want to discuss is how Belmont fits into this,” he said. [NYT]
Newsday reported that Johnson wrote to Governor Paterson asking that discussions begin on the feasibility of adding a casino at Belmont Park.

A little Googling led me to The Verifiable Truth, the long-running blog which has followed, in quite fastidious and critical fashion, the exploits of the Detroit casino magnates Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik for some time. Their Gateway Casino Resorts is the financial backer of the tribe; and that's a whole other subject which I'm sure we'll be hearing, reading, and writing about should a project at Belmont move towards fruition. In a post dated Oct 12, verifiable links to a campaign filing [pdf] which shows that Malik contributed $2500 to the Friends of Craig Johnson last February. Pretty funny the way the Michigan address stands out like a sore thumb amongst the almost exclusively local contributors. Just thought I'd point that out.

Of course, the Shinnecock decision has been expected since the Obama Administration took over, and should come as no shock to the Aqueduct bidders. Still, it may very well change their perception and send the accounting staff back to their spreadsheets. Maybe they'll be the ones to request a change in the rules this time?

- A couple of polls released on Tuesday contained some mixed news for Governor Paterson. He showed improvement in his approval ratings - to varying degrees between the polls conducted by Siena and Quinnipiac University . Remarkably, according to the latter, his job approval rating is up to within nine points at 40-49 approve/disapprove; with his favorability rating up to 38-46 from 28-52. The governor continues to be highly visible; and in an appearance on CNBC on Monday, I found him to be assertive and in confident command of his facts. He has obviously worked hard along with his political team to rehabilitate his image, and, with help from the Senate, has made big strides in my view.

However, he remains well behind Andrew Cuomo (60-23) in a possible primary matchup.
“It’s strange,” said Bill Montfort, chairman of the Warren County Democratic Party. “It’s strange that he keeps pressing on. But hey, you know, Spitzer thinks that he can make a comeback, too. I don’t know. I have no idea. Nobody’s committing to anything, even Andrew isn’t saying anything. Nobody’s committing to anything because they’re waiting to see what this guy does, and he keeps going forward.”

“He thinks he can turn this around,” said Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf. “But look at Andrew Cuomo’s numbers. How does he even get close?” [New York Observer, interesting piece]
Paterson's best and only hope is Cuomo not running altogether. The Qunnipiac poll also showed that the governor now has a 41-40 lead over Cuomo amongst African-American Democrats. That compares [to] Cuomo’s 51-24 margin over Paterson in October’s Quinnipiac poll. And though a spokesperson from the school qualified those results as being based on a small sample, if the governor can establish a clear advantage in that category, and pick up some enthusiastic endorsement from black leaders (other than John Sampson), perhaps the AG, recalling the hard feelings generated by his primary run against Carl McCall in 2002, would have second thoughts.


Anonymous said...

Governor Paterson has been showing good leadership recently. If he keeps this up he deserves to be re-elected.

I don't understand why the Aqueduct decision has not been made. Surely the leaders are NOT thinking of holding the Aqueduct decision up so it can be awarded to the Shinnecock's as some have suggested. I doubt it because the 75 mile distance from the reservation has to be resolved and the minimum 6 months recognition issues is also before them.

Belmont for the Shinnecock's? Maybe. However I doubt this too. Packaging Belmont for the Shinnecock's is 'too neat of a package' and neat packages normally don't work or get 'done' in this State.

Had a drink with a buddy last night and he posed this question, "will Governor Paterson now choose SL Green and the Seminoles for Aqueduct now that there will definitely be an Indian (Shinnecock) Casino in New York (Long Island, Belmont or the Catskills)? Surely he would want an alternative and not have Indian gaming at Aqueduct and Belmont."

An interesting question, don't you think and one that Governor Paterson, Shelly Silver and Senator Sampson must be seriously thinking about.

Governor Paterson, Speaker Silver and Senator Sampson, please get your act together and make the Aqueduct decision. Queens needs it and New York deserves it.

Anonymous said...

They're Coming, they Coooming, ...but, without
a war a horse near you.

They are without doubt, maybe because they were forced to be, the most savvy, powerful of all, considering most of the Tribes have less than 500 recognized family members.

Governor Paterson, you have stated you will give Indians, up to 3 Catskill Gaming Licenses, that's ok, but your Indian Invitation's, increasing political tempo, over past months, worries many constituents, as Queens and NY do not wish and will not be -

legally invaded, by protected, abrasive, non-abiding FL State Law, breakers.


Anonymous said...

If Gov Paterson picks The Seminoles for Aqueduct, New York will be surrounded by Indian Gaming:

1. Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in Connecticut

2. Shinnecock's somewhere in Long Island or Belmont (not sure whey they would move to the Catskills per 7:10AM above).

Gov Paterson may not have a choice in either of the above but he does have a choice to not put the Indians in Aqueduct.

Anonymous said...

Tishman, SL Green's contractor, told their subs this week that SL Green has the Aqueduct job and that the only thing holding it up is the Gov giving them the nod.

Anonymous said...

re 7.53 blog ;
Tishman, SL Green's contractor, told their subs this week that

Interesting, is it possible to expand on this ?

re 7.39am - most tribes have less than 500, family members.

Hell even the Big A, has more and the members are lot more family.

Anonymous said...

7:53AM: If SL Green has the job and just waiting for the Gov's nod, does this mean they have Senator Sampson and Shelly Silver in their pocket already?

Anonymous said...

We need more information here, because if this is true then it looks like Aqueduct will have the Hard Rock.

However, can I also be cynical and possibly think this has been posted by SL Green to create the inevitability of them being chosen for Aqueduct?

We certainly live in a cynical world........

jk said...

The new NYCOTB chairman makes his case.....

Why killing OTB is a losing bet


DiscreetPicks said...

Not sure if you guys remember My Jen (a filly i posted about here back in October), but she just wona stakes race @ Fair Grounds paying $13.40