There's nothing really new in this note in Crain's New York on Sunday - neither the fact that Governor Paterson favors SL Green while the Senate wants Aqueduct Entertainment Group; nor the notion that the decision will come within a specified time frame (this week, as reported in this case).
And there's nothing new in the following, but I'll say it again: It seems hard to believe that, with the recent focus on ethics (especially in light of the Bruno conviction), and given all of the publicity surrounding the ties between elements of AEG and Senate president Malcolm Smith (plus the rumors, which he's denied, that he's interested in a post-Senate career at an AEG-run racino), that the Senate would persist in its insistence on that group. Perhaps it's all innocent, and they really feel that AEG is the best selection....but you would think they would want to avoid any hint of an appearance of improper influence unless the group is so outstanding that they are, say, promising to turn horse manure into cash.
However, on the other hand, James Odato reports today in the Albany Times-Union of a tie between Governor Paterson and his favored bidder.
SL Green hired Bill Lynch as a $7,500-per-month lobbyist in November; Lynch is Paterson's political adviser. Lynch said the Paterson campaign paid him $10,000 last year but he has been working for free for months. He said he doesn't talk to the governor about Aqueduct.Yeah, right, I'm so sure! Plus, SL Green raises other questions/problems such as its connections to the Seminole tribe, and its exposure to the NYC commercial real estate market.
Odato also reports that NYRA requested and was granted an extension until January 19 to turn over its financial records to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. And he writes that, whereas the association initially resisted what is an obviously politically motivated ploy to investigate a financial fiasco created by the state's shameful failure to name a VLT operator (not to mention the whole flawed OTB system), it will now be turning over salary information which it considers proprietary.
Among 2008 and 2009 materials demanded are all purchase orders, contracts, consultant agreements, invoices, vouchers, payroll registers and any and all documents supporting payroll expenses, including employee time and attendance records.
[Charles Hayward] said that money is so tight that he and other non-union employees will have their wages frozen this year. He would not provide details on executive salaries, which NYRA considers proprietary -- although other tracks, such as Churchill Downs, publicize salaries. [Editor's note to James Odato on this little bit of editorializing: Churchill Downs is a public company, and therefore obligated to disclose its officers' salaries.]
According to people familiar with NYRA's finances, Hayward, chief attorney Patrick Kehoe and Chief Operating Officer Hal Handel are paid more than $400,000. In 2006, when NYRA was required to reveal expenses as part of its bankruptcy filing, Hayward's salary was listed at $377,746 and Kehoe's at $376,923.