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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Delayed Reaction

I kinda just glossed over that item in Odato's column about Bill Lynch being a paid lobbyist for SL Green, and I really shouldn't have. I try to be fair after all, and I've been going on for months about Aqueduct Entertainment Group's ties to Senate President Malcolm Smith. But isn't this just as bad, if not worse?

I mean, the governor's political advisor is a lobbyist for one of the bidders? And not only that - it's the one that Paterson is said to be favoring? Are you kidding me? A couple of readers picked up on it, but I'm surprised that I haven't seen anyone in the press do so regarding such an obvious potential conflict. And we're supposed to believe that Lynch "doesn't talk to the governor about Aqueduct?" Seems to me that his political team talks to him about everything - what he says, how and where he says it, even how to look. But his top political advisor doesn't talk to him about Aqueduct, really?

Well, actually, considering how long this fiasco has dragged on and how horribly the Governor has handled it, maybe he hasn't! Of course, that's not the (entire) point anyway. If you make ethics the centerpiece of the year's legislative agenda (other than the budget) as the governor has done, you just cannot permit even the appearance of a conflict of interest, especially one as glaring and potentially significant as this one. Seriously, it's just mind boggling what goes on up there in the capitol sometimes. What are these guys thinking about? Are they thinking at all?

(By the way, Bill Lynch Associates has also performed paid lobbying duties for the New York Jets, 7 1/2 point underdogs in San Diego on Sunday.)

- In the 4th at the Big A on Wednesday, Count Her In (10-1) goes turf to inner dirt in her second career start, for trainer George Weaver. This is really mostly a guess. The probable favorite, Freud's Notebook (9-5), seems vulnerable; so I figure I could do worse than the morning line on this horse from a barn I like to follow. Count Her In ran quite decently in her debut, and her breeding suggests that she may prefer the dirt, as well as the distance. This is a three-year old daughter of Include, out of a Saint Ballado mare; solid Tomlinson and dosage numbers for distance, and quite a bit of stamina in the pedigree if you go back to third dam Bartlett North, a half-brother to the great Temperence Hill, possibly my favorite horse of all time. This is also the distaff family of the Jockey Cup Gold Cup and DC International winner Vandlandingham, and the CCA Oaks winner Funny Moon.

39 Comments:

Anonymous said...

VERY CONCERNED NY'ERS

Alan - appreciated,

as your understandable, relationship with NYRA & therefore your/their SLG slant, has been well known.
Fine, but reality is reality.

U are respected in NY racing and in your political NY insights, so your openness within this prolonged issue is welcome, as now, we have today, another indefinite impasse, maybe also due to, but not entirely to, Mr Hayward/NYRA, laying into NY State legal side, recently : whatever,

but it seems a short term, Aqueduct decision is again unlikely.

Thegood Governor has cancelled important Community NY School Aid, that a successful Aqueduct bidder will certainly assist in, until his (election) chits are seemingly successfully bartered, being before next fiscal year is due.

March I think, as he has borrowed $200M, being the minimum Aqueduct license bid, against his present budget.

Now, doesn't really matter who wins, but PENN have made a recent, superior bid so….

today's NY Post :

www.nypost.com/p/silver_sampson_snub_gov_paterson_ZmKneVSCldu6bS0OVguGKJ

Silver, Sampson snub Gov. Paterson -
…Gov. Paterson found himself alone at the Capitol last night, despite his request to hold a meeting with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson...

www.nypost.com/p/news/local/wait_til_jan_on_school_aid_gov_EvZFhHEn9PmPIjFJBZqKWJ

ALBANY -- Gov. Paterson said yesterday he expects to repay his $750 million IOU to schools and local governments next month when tax money rolls in for the state...


And no, Governor Paterson's son, was not caught outside a Indian gaming restaurant.

www.nypost.com/p/news/local/bust_paterson_son_nabbed_and_later_ResbRwbU9uyjVzcauxMzhP

alan said...

Thanks for the kind words, but, for the record and with all due respect, I've never expressed any "slant" or preference for SL Green on this site.

Anonymous said...

Also Concerned NY

Were Governor Paterson's son, losing 'chits', cashed in, before he was reported to NY State authorities pouncing on him ??

Anonymous said...

Good morning Alan

I agree with you. The Bill Lynch/SL Green connection to the Governor stinks. I had come to respect Governor Paterson recently but this revelation disturbs me. I have always assumed that AEG would win Aqueduct. Now we know why the Governor is holding out on picking them.

Anonymous said...

re ; 8.56am 'Good Morning'

have a back-straight, coffee,
sorry, been re-used tea bags for a long time.

the Governor is holding out on who ?

Anonymous said...

I hope Lynch does a better job lobbying the officials on the Jets behalf than he did last week.

Those calls on Revis were absurd, think they would make the same calls on Woodson?

As for the Z-RA debate, the Revis-Woodson debate for defensive player of the year proves that controversy is good for any sport, those fews folks calling for a tie are misguided.

Anonymous said...

Chances are the kid didn't start playing dice in the schoolyard just yesterday. May have been a message to the governor. This is NY!

Anonymous said...

9.44am - re; Gov's kid -
these NY occurrences just don't happen. Watch coming space on NY Post.

Paterson's a sincere 2IC, cover my Spitzer's bosses backside, but he's now in the cesspool, without Washington's support.

Remember, Spitzer treated him as a black alliance mushroom.

He was non-party, to real internal workings of his present position, a position gained only through being a tough decision making bastard.
Which he's definitely not..as proven by even Aqueduct…he's naively, elections elections..me me me.

Sad thing is, who really knows, what any of the qualified bidders, have indirectly promised,
a presently, desperate electoral clinging, but basely good Governor.

N.Yorkers to the Max

Anonymous said...

They should have crap tables at the Big A. Paterson's son could run the game. Why are horsemen entitled to the slot money? Slot players don't care about horses. The money should go for education and universal health care. Horsemen are rich enough.

Anonymous said...

The buzz around Albany is that the Governor and Sampson will announce their decision this week and present this to Silver. Lets see....

Saratogian.

Anonymous said...

NYRA accedes to Comptroller’s audit

January 13, 2010 at 10:44 am by Casey Seiler

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has prevailed in his battle with the New York Racing Association, which will comply with his subpoenas and turn over financial records for an audit.

DiNapoli wants to know how NYRA could claim to be so close to insolvency that it might have to curtail the Belmont and Saratoga meets unless it receives the expected payout from an Aqueduct racino deal immediately. DiNapoli issued subpoenas to NYRA in December after it said he had no oversight authority in its affairs. Jim Odato reported two weeks ago that NYRA was preparing to back down.

From this morning’s press release:

“In 2008, taxpayers paid for a second chance for NYRA. NYRA then turned around and thumbed its nose at those same taxpayers and refused to open its books to my auditors. It’s our job to protect taxpayer dollars. Fortunately, NYRA had a change of heart in response to my subpoenas. New Yorkers have a right to know what NYRA’s up to, and my audit will let them know.”

To enable NYRA’s emergence from bankruptcy in 2008, the state made a direct payment to NYRA of at least $105 million. Further, pursuant to the 2008 legislation, the state has directed 14 percent to 16 percent of revenues from Aqueduct video lottery terminals, once they are operational, to help NYRA fund its operations.

Among the matters DiNapoli’s audit will examine are the millions of dollars in state payments made to NYRA over the past couple years and monies owed the state by NYRA.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see that NYRA is doing the right thing. This has been a PR disaster for them.

Anonymous said...

If there are two horses left in the VLT race as reported, I bet Governor Paterson runs a mile from SL Green and picks AEG. He cannot pick SL Green following the revelation of the Bill Lynch connection to SL Green. He will destroy his credibility if he does so.

Anonymous said...

I agree that The Governor cannot now pick SL Green. However he could still pick
Delaware North
Peebles/MGM
Penn National.
While it looks like AEG is the odds on favorite, I would not rule out these other players.

Anonymous said...

I was an avid supporter of NYRA but like others have come to the conclusion that this organization needs to be brought to account. NYRA's stonewalling of Tom DiNapoli's office was dumb to say the least and could be an attempt to cover up fraud in its books.

I remember when NYRA stole the horsemen's purse money in the recent past. The same management which stole the money then is still in place. I gave NYRA the benefit of the doubt then but no more. I applaud Tom DiNapoli for taking this action. We hard working horsemen need to know that the custodian (NYRA) of our sport in New York is honest.

I hope the VLT decision at Aqueduct is close as some have been suggesting. This is long overdue and thoroughbred horseracing needs the money from the Aqueduct VLT revenue, not to mention the important role it will play for the finances of the State and education.

NYRA, as articulated by Charlie Hayward, has a definite favorite in the race, namely SL Green. Given NYRA's history, I would not pick SL Green but instead choose one of the other bidders. Dont reward NYRA for continued bad behavior. It does not deserve it anymore.

Anonymous said...

Could be about what team can get David Paterson elected Governor. Isn't he supposed to report on what's in his "war chest" for Paterson 2010for Governor on January 15th or so?

Anonymous said...

Some on here suggested Hayward's neck is on the chopping block for his part in the DiNapoli fiasco.

DiNapoli's Press Release:

“In 2008, taxpayers paid for a second chance for NYRA. NYRA then turned around and thumbed its nose at those same taxpayers and refused to open its books to my auditors. It’s our job to protect taxpayer dollars. Fortunately, NYRA had a change of heart in response to my subpoenas. New Yorkers have a right to know what NYRA’s up to, and my audit will let them know.”

This is a hard hitting statement and I suspect it will mean NYRA has no wriggle room should there be anything questionable in its books.

I suspect Hayward and possibly even Dunker will be the fall guys in this event.

alan said...

>>New Yorkers have a right to know what NYRA’s up to, and my audit will let them know


New Yorkers that have been following the situation know that NYRA is running out of money, just as everyone, including the state, was well aware of. What New Yorkers really want to know is why the fuck an operator for the racino at Aqueduct has still not been selected. This audit is a ruse and a waste of taxpayer money, in my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

Alan

I agree that it is a disgrace that the Aqueduct VLT operator has not been chosen and yes NYRA did flag it would need money from the VLT's.

However in my mind NYRA scored an own goal by refusing to comply with DiNapoli's audit request. Now it looks like they have been dragged 'kicking and screaming' to the audit and this would suggest that they have something to hide.

This look terrible in the PR world.

alan said...

>>This look terrible in the PR world.

I don't disagree. I understand NYRA's initial reaction from a visceral standpoint, but in the end, they ended up looking bad. Perhaps vindication will come when the audit turns up nothing untoward.

Anonymous said...

Senator Eric Adams was a guest on the Albany Times Union radio show yesterday and he said that "The NYRA hasn't done nearly enough to promote all of the critical econominic and recreational enjoyment aspects of thoroughbred horse breeding and racing in New York state." or, something to that effect. maybe there is a link to his interview on the site.

Charlie said in march 2009 that the NYRA still had $26 million of the $30 million the state gave them for operations from the bankruptcy settlement. He also said that they would break about even for 2009 based on projections. The numbers don't add up based on his recent rhetoric, so find the reason, punish or reward, and move on.

Anonymous said...

2:33PM:

I agree. Punish or reward and move on. DiNapoli's auditors will be thorough and we can trust the outcome of his audit.

Anonymous said...

Laughing out loud about lobbyist Bill Lynch's statement that he doesn't talk to the governor about Aqueduct!!

His lobbying contract with SL Green states: "..... specifically assisting in the venture's bid for a license to operate the video lottery facility at Aqueduct Racetrack."

Surely Governor David Paterson's political advisor William (Bill) Lynch could have found another excuse. "I forgot what I signed up for," might have been more appropriate. What a joke!

Anonymous said...

The Legislature in Albany has announced proposed new ethics legislation.

Click on this link to watch a video of the Press Conference by Silver and Sampson.

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/

Given this environment, it is a sure bet that Governor Paterson will distance himself as far away from SL Green as is physically possible and choose one of the other bidders.

Anonymous said...

There has been a lot of criticism (some of it justified) against NYRA over the DiNapoli affair. Thankfully NYRA is now complying.

Hopefully the Leaders in Albany will now focus on picking a VLT operator. I believe the Governor has until Friday if he is to keep to his word of picking a VLT operator within 2 weeks if Silver and Sampson dont come to him with their agreed choice.

We can only hope (and pray).

Anonymous said...

My reading of the new ethics legislation being proposed in Albany will preclude Governor Paterson from picking SL Green because of the political lobbyist connections of Bill Lynch to both Governor Paterson and SL Green.

At the very least I believe it would lead to an investigation as to whether his connection to Bill Lynch led to him choosing SL Green.

In this environment in an election year, Governor Paterson cannot risk a tinge or an allegation of corruption in choosing the VLT operator for Aqueduct.

Anonymous said...

Alan:

Lets hope the audit comes up clean, otherwise we have another black eye for thoroughbred racing in New York.

El Angelo said...

I'd put the odds that the audit comes 100% clean at zero. They'll find something so they can boast how it was all worth their while.

Anonymous said...

Governor Paterson just issued a Press Release in response to the proposed ethics legislation by Silver and Sampson.

Cut and paste this link:

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/21547/paterson-on-ethics-proposal-election-year-window-dressing/

I noticed the following extract:

"If we are going to bring fairness and openness to government, we have to put the interests of the people of New York ahead of the lobbyists and special interests."

Bye bye SL Green. Bill Lynch's lobbying contract will now sink them.

Anonymous said...

I am sure that Governor Paterson will find a way to justify the SL Green - Bill Lynch connection and justify his decision if he chooses SL Green.

However it will still stink.

Anonymous said...

Paterson pledged to "keep an eye on Bill Lynch". That's good enough for me.

Anonymous said...

If Paterson picks SL Green there will be cries of cronyism. Somehow I don't think he will risk this when he is presenting himself as the ethics reform candidate.

Anonymous said...

The Day at the Races
BY Jerry Bossert
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Thursday, January 14th 2010, 4:00 AM

The New York Racing Association will open its books.

After several weeks of defying State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the NYRA will comply with his subpoenas and will turn over its financial records.

DiNapoli issued subpoenas to NYRA in late December, after the NYRA asserted that the State Comptroller had no oversight authority in its affairs.

The NYRA had no response on why it changed its mind, but in a letter dated on Tuesday to the Comptroller's office, it did say "The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has no objection to the subpoenas."

DiNapoli's audit will examine NYRA's current financial struggles and how it went through $105 million it received from the state to emerge from bankruptcy in 2008 in return for the land that Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga sit upon.

"In 2008, taxpayers paid for a second chance for NYRA," DiNapoli said in a release. "NYRA then turned around and thumbed its nose at those same taxpayers and refused to open its books to my auditors. It's our job to protect taxpayer dollars. Fortunately, NYRA had a change of heart in response to my subpoenas. New Yorkers have a right to know what NYRA's up to, and my audit will let them know."

The NYRA is claiming it will run out of money by June because of the state's failure to name an operator for the Racino at Aqueduct, which was approved in 2001.

It is believed to be down to two bidders - SL Green and Aqueduct Entertainment Group.

The $105 million land deal also stated that the state will keep NYRA afloat until an operator for the casino is named.

Anonymous said...

The NYRA/DiNapoli debacle is behind us for now. Lets hope the outcome is not worse than demonstrating NYRA's arrogance but no corruption.

I would be surprised if the VLT decision at Aqueduct is not announced before the 21st when next years budget is to be announced in Albany.

Anonymous said...

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/21576/senate-inquisitors-want-data-from-nyra/

More NYRA interest, this time from Senate Racing & Gaming and Investigation committees.

Anonymous said...

Senate inquisitors want data from NYRA

January 14, 2010 at 12:24 pm by James M. Odato

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/21576/senate-inquisitors-want-data-from-nyra/

Senators Eric Adams and Craig Johnson wrote to the New York Racing Association today requesting documentation about its expenses and operations, including federal tax returns.

Adams, chairman of the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, and Johnson, head of the Investigations and Government Operations Committee, are planning a hearing on NYRA’s operations at the Elmont Public Library 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. Johnson’s district includes the Belmont track, which Hayward has said might have to be closed this season because of cash-flow problems.

The senators are calling for all cash statements, balance sheets and lists of outstanding expenditures, liabilities and debt from 2008 to present. Also sought are all communications regarding operations involving Belmont Park in Elmont and the 2010 Belmont Stakes.

Deadline for the material is Jan. 24. The senators also invited NYRA to testify Feb. 3 on the hearing, which is supposed to be about the shape of New York’s horse racing industry compared to elsewhere in the nation.

NYRA has a 25-year franchise to operate racing at Aqueduct, Saratoga and Belmont. Hayward was unavailable for comment

Anonymous said...

NYRA's stupidity has now lead to an escalation of the investigations of NYRA's financial records and e-mails since the start of 2007 and a public hearing on February 3 in Elmont.

I strongly suspect that the decision makers in Albany will want heads to roll over this, whether they find anything or not.

Someone applied the term "Dumb & Dumber" to Dunker and Hayward. It looks like they were correct.

Anonymous said...

NYRA's foes are being invigorated. They are circulating NYRA's wagons. NYRA's days of thumbing its nose at Albany is over. Expect major changes following these audits and what looks like numerous investigations. Prosecutions will follow if anything untoward is discovered.

Anonymous said...

I think today is the last possible day for Governor Paterson to announce his VLT operator preference if he is to keep his word to do so within 2 weeks should he not receive a nominee from Senator Sampson and Speaker Silver.

Will The Governor keep his word or will we be disappointed once again?