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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Top 20

Thanks to the reader who sent along this link [PDF] to a bankruptcy court filing by NYC OTB which lists its Top 20 unsecured creditors. And it's not NYRA, but rather Yonkers which leads the way with over $18 million in Shift Settlement, Host Fees, Commissions, Maintenance of Effort, & Contractual Fees.

NYRA is close behind at $14.7 million, a material sum which would no doubt come in handy with the association's cash dwindling as the slots fiasco drags on with no end in sight. There's been no news at all, and not a peep from the grapevine. You never know, but at this point, I'm not expecting anything to happen before the 2010 session of the legislature which commences in early January.

OTB's filing lists NYRA's contact as Charlie Haywood (no relation to Spencer). I mean, really, how about just a little professionalism here.

Monticello and Finger Lakes are also on the list; NYC OTB owes almost $40 million to the state's tracks and another $1.8 million to the breeders. It owes the state and city around $12 million in taxes/pension obligations/fees. Somehow, it comes as little surprise that despite the fact that the in-state tracks are owed far more money than the government (and not to mention that they supply the product which is the basis of OTB's business), it is they who OTB proposes to cut payments to going forward. There are some out-of-state tracks and a few pending lawsuits too. But I don't see this guy on the list.

- A rumor briefly swirled around this comment section regarding Joe Bruno being stripped of his box at Saratoga; but sources at NYRA said that's not the case (though it was added that final decisions on boxes for next summer will be made in the second quarter). Here's a wild guess that should the former Senate Majority Leader retain his box, he would not be the only convicted felon sitting in the area.

- I hope you hung on to those Save The Train to Belmont signs. Big trouble at the MTA with the commuter tax designed to bail it out coming up about 20% short of the mark, which was $1 billion. Whatsmore, another $143 million was cut in the recently passed deficit reduction package. With no fare hikes planned until 2011, service cuts, which Crain's New York says figure to be noticeable, could very well be next. And you gotta figure that Belmont would certainly be at or near the top of the list.

- Here's a story I find pretty weird - a House of Representatives subcommittee approved a bill which would force college football to adopt a playoff system to determine the national champion. Seriously! Of course, if there were some racing fans on that committee, they might vote to abolish Filly Friday; dump ESPN; mandate that the Breeders' Cup be run on natural dirt; force a single entity model on the industry (never happen....far too many competing interests at play); award Horse of the Year to Zenyatta; make the installation of lights for night racing mandatory; force NYC OTB to spell Charlie Hayward's name right. But I'm sure they have more important things to do!

- Kasey K has a first-time starter at the Big A on Thursday; Splitting Heirs, a $40,000 purchase at Timonium in May, debuts for trainer Bruce Brown, winless with his last 28 first-timers going back to July, 2008. This is a two-year old filly by Wildcat Heir, a highly impressive 15 for 54 (28%) with his debut runners according to the Form. He's fifth on the rookie sire list, but has by far the most winners on the list, with 37. Still not enough however to prevent his stud fee from falling from $8,000 to $6,500 (live foal, stands, nurses, and recites the pledge of allegiance by heart).


Anonymous said...

The run a gambling joint and owe over $60M, someone should send some goons to collect.

Could there be a more mismanaged entity? And Adams wants to hand them Nassau OTB, which actually shows a profit?

No request to void the onerous labor contract? Isnt that the first thing most bankrupt entities request?

I guess the 2-1 customer-teller ratio at my local parlor on Monday and Tuesday is safe.

What a joke, I hope the bankruptcy judge sees through all this crap, they are usually the most non-political of judges. Do we know who the judge is?

Anonymous said...

I forgot voiding the politically connected leasing arrangements.

Yeah the ones where local politicians friends and relatives buy a run down crappy building and lease it to NYCOTB on a very favorable long term lease, similar to what NYC Homeless services is doing now in the boroughs due to the emergency.

Anonymous said...

NYRA emerged from bankruptcy looking very much like it did when it entered bankruptcy, but with one major difference, a reward of a new 25 year franchise.

While it would be wonderful if this bankruptcy opportunity would fix the multitude of problems at NYCOTB, do we really expect this to happen?

In an ideal world both NYRA and the OTB's would merge, organize new funding and attract world class management.

We can only hope......

Anonymous said...

If this article is correct, Looks like it is still between SL Green and AEG:

Pol: gov wasting $1 million daily on Aqueduct
by Stephen Geffon
Dec 08, 2009

Governor David Paterson is costing New York State $1 million a day in lost revenue as he stalls on picking a bidder to construct and run the video lottery terminals at Aqueduct Race Track, according to Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer.

Pheffer told the members of Community Board 10 at their meeting last week in South Ozone Park that she was angry and upset with the governor, accusing Paterson of “stopping the wheels” on Aqueduct.

The assemblywoman said she and other officials have met with all the bidders to hear their proposals for Aqueduct. She noted she was not too fond of Penn National Gaming, “because their plan is a little too boxy, unimaginative, and not too exciting.”

As for the other bidders, Pheffer said there were positives and negatives about their stated plans for the Ozone Park racetrack, but the assemblywoman was most positive about S.L. Green Realty and Aqueduct Entertainment Group. “We find them to be the ones who have been responsive to the community,” she said.

Looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, she told the audience, “hopefully now that the governor has agreed on the budget he will sit down and listen to us,” but warned, “he’s got to get off the dime.”

Community Board 10 Chairperson Betty Braton concurred. “It’s time for the governor to make a decision,” she said.

Paterson spokesperson Morgan Hook said there was no deadline for selection of a winning bidder for the development of the 4,500 video lottery terminal complex in Ozone Park, though he did say he was hopeful that the decision would be made soon. The five bidders currently in contention are:..........

Anonymous said...

Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2009 15:22:17 -0500 Home

Area leaders demand VLT firm pick
Pheffer, CB 10 and Addabbo criticize governor’s indecision on Aqueduct Race Track
By Howard Koplowitz
Thursday, December 10, 2009 9:13 AM EST

Elected officials and members of Community Board 10 are growing frustrated over Gov. David Paterson’s inability to name the winner of the bid to construct VLTs at Aqueduct Race Track. Photo by Christina Santucci
Frustration is mounting by the day over Gov. David Paterson’s indecision on picking a firm to construct and operate video lottery terminals at Aqueduct Race Track.

“I’m very upset at the governor. I’m very angry at the governor,” state Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D-Rockaway Beach) told Community Board 10 last week at a meeting. “Gov. Paterson, more or less, stopped the wheel. The governor hasn’t said, ‘Let’s talk. Let’s make a decision.’”

Five firms — Delaware North, the Peebles Corp., Aqueduct Entertainment Group, Penn National Gaming and SL Green — are in the running for the contract to operate as many as 5,000 VLTs, devices similar to slot machines.

Pheffer said she does not want Buffalo-based Delaware North to win the contract “because they failed us before,” referring to the $370 million upfront payment it promised the state when it was awarded the contract in October 2008. Delaware North was unable to come up with those funds and withdrew its proposal.

The assemblywoman also said she was “not fond of Penn National” because its proposal was “not too exciting” and “too boxy.”

She said she favored either SL Green or Aqueduct Entertainment Group because both bidders have been “responsive to the community.”

Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton agreed with Pheffer’s characterization of Paterson’s administration when it comes to Aqueduct.

“The governor’s people, it’s total silence on their end,” she said. “It’s ridiculous at their end of the game. It’s time for the governor to make a decision. The indecision is ridiculous.”

CB 10 Aqueduct Committee Chairwoman Donna Gilmartin said she feels like the community is “being held hostage.”

“Anything [Paterson is] doing to manipulate the situation is not good for this community,” she said.

“It seems the governor doesn’t want to make an enemy” by making the decision, Pheffer said. “We are going to pressure him” by writing e-mails and making phone calls to Paterson’s office, she said.

Pheffer noted that the New York Racing Association, which runs Aqueduct, has already budgeted money coming in from the VLTs and will be bankrupt in the summer if Paterson does not make a decision on the VLTs.

The assemblywoman also expressed her disappointment over Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn’s withdrawing his bid on the VLTs after Paterson mandated a minimum $200 million upfront payment.

“You can’t keep changing” the parameters for the VLT contract, Pheffer said. “How embarassing ... a man, a multimillionaire says he doesn’t want to invest in New York City.”...............

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

" Governor Paterson, you have shown great leadership and courage in Albany. Keep it up and the people of New York will reward you in 2010.

The delay in choosing an operator for Aqueduct is understandably frustrating everyone here. We have waited 8 years and despite this we need you to take your time and make sure you choose the right operator who will understand our needs and listen to the community.

All the bidders seem qualified to me and have good plans. However I ask you to please not give us the Hard Rock. The Hard Rock in Vegas is notorious for parties, alcohol and drug problems. In Florida they seem to ignore the authorities and do what they want. The Hard Rock might work in Manhattan but is all WRONG for Queens. We don't need this kind of activity in our neighborhood.

Frustrated but trusting in Queens. "