Governor Paterson said on Monday that the deficit for the new fiscal year which begins on April 1 has "probably" grown from $8.2 billion to $9 billion because several expected payments will be late or not materialize..
His list included a $300 million payment from a slots machine vendor for Aqueduct Racetrack and $200 million from the Battery Park City Authority. [Reuters]Perhaps Paterson is just being realistic given that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (the subject of a scathing attack by Senator Eric Adams on Monday) has said that he won't sign off until the Inspector General is done with his probe, which certainly won't be concluded by April 1.
Indeed, Tom Precious reports on Bloodhorse.com:
Sources, however, said negotiations with the state over a memorandum of understanding for the casino agreement are proceeding. One source said talks were scheduled for March 1 with state officials to try to reach a final deal on various aspects of the AEG contract for the VLT operation. [Bloodhorse]However, Precious adds, ominously:
There has been growing chatter.....that some state negotiators might be interested in putting off the Aqueduct project until after January, when a new governor takes office.Oh, man! We could surely kiss our beloved Big A goodbye should that happen. A new governor could very well turn his/her attention to a grander project at Belmont rather that starting this process over again.
That doesn't make sense to me though. I think that this project can still happen with AEG (if they come up with the payment!) - the state really has no incentive to kill it and have to deal with a bankrupt NYRA and a $300 million hole to fill. I also think that this probe by the Inspector General is just bullshit; he's not going to find anything illegal. Dicey, probably, and the Senate Democrats will come out looking the worst (Paterson has no reason to pull any punches in his testimony, does he?); but what concrete evidence of what is he going to find that will kill the deal? A written quid pro quo with Floyd Flake? And I surmise that the feds may become less interested in the matter now that the governor has bowed out of the race. The community is fine with it, as are the local representatives. So this thing should still happen (which of course doesn't mean that it will).
- This piece by James Odato on Capitol Confidential is certainly worth reading. It concerns a "huge, long-term bid award, papered in controversy.....and it did not involve a racino at Aqueduct Race Track." A lot of this sure sounds familiar - a winning bidder being accused of not meeting "vendor responsibility, experience or financial standards;" not to mention having Joe Bruno as its CEO.
- Frank Stronach now says he won't replace the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita. Not because it's gonna get any better of course. Frank won't spend the money (which the bankrupt Magna doesn't have anyway) until the state backs off and allows "free enterprise."
"Let us open up our store when we think we get the most customers.....Let the market decide . . . whoever is going to put on a better show will get the greatest market."Hmmm, sounds like Frank's been smoking some of those tea party leaves. Aren't you glad he's still around?
"So what?" Stronach said. "We're saying, you can race when you want to race. Are you afraid to compete?" [Daily Racing Form]