Almost two weeks after Governor Paterson said that he would take the initiative and pick an operator for the Big A racino himself in a week or so if a consensus amongst the three deciders, his spokesperson Morgan Hook told the Queens Chronicle:
“We have no announcement for today and have not offered a specific time for when an announcement will be made.....The governor cannot ‘declare a winning bidder.’ The winning bidder must be a consensus decision, selected by the governor, speaker and leader of the Senate.” [Queens Chronicle]Well, that's a completely different tone, isn't it? I might speculate that perhaps he was advised that the talks were going particularly poorly, but that would be presuming that there were talks. One gets the feeling that the governor may presently be more concerned about his own cash issues.
However, while any outrage over the situation should be aimed directly at the state capitol, politicians there continue to use NYRA as their favorite whipping boy, a facile target with which to score points. Now, two state Senators are piling on and demanding financial records for their own little dog and pony show, in the form of a hearing in Elmont on Feb 3.
The letter to NYRA President Charles Hayward notes the senators’ surprise that NYRA needs money, given that it received $105 million from the state two years ago. [Capitol Confidential]I wonder if the Senators are simply ignorant of the fact that, of that sum, $75 million was to pay creditors and just $30 million was for operating expenses to get NYRA through to slots time, or if they're merely and conveniently ignoring that fact. Look, I have no desire to become an apologist for NYRA, and it's up to them to demonstrate to their various inquisitors that they're barking up the wrong tree. And, being that these two members of the world's most dysfunctional legislative body want to probe "the ways in which the performance of our racing industry compares to the performance of similar enterprises in other states," maybe they'll learn a thing or two about the way that OTB has ravaged the industry here as in no other jurisdiction. However, this all reeks of political grandstanding and waste of taxpayers' money to me.
- A reader points out that Paterson's political advisor Bill Lynch, who, as we noted, is also a paid lobbyist for SL Green, was recently fined $10,000 for failing to disclose that his client Columbia University had increased its compensation by almost $400,000 (from $180,000 to $570,000) in 2007. And that's not all.
While in negotiations with the PIC over this infraction, Lynch.....revealed other discrepancies of which the commission had not previously been aware.I wonder if the monitor is monitoring the obvious conflict between Lynch's role in the Paterson administration and his employment by SL Green.
This, in turn, led the PIC to mandate that Lynch hire an outside monitor. [Daily Politics]
- Here's NYC OTB's response to NYRA's objection to its bankruptcy (pdf file, via the Paulick Report). There will be a hearing on the matter on Jan 20. I have no further comment at this time; let the bankrupt organization's high-priced PR firm speak for themselves.