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Friday, July 22, 2011

Money Trail Leads to Concord

Excellent job by reader Chris, tracking down the campaign contributions to Senator John Bonacic, so thanks Chris. I did modify his link, posted in the comment section in the last post on the subject, to include all of 2010 as well.

Not surprising to see a variety of modest donation by tracks, such as Monticello and Yonkers (though not NYRA), and horsemen associations. But as Chris pointed out, the biggest donor by far ($9,500) in 2011 is Concord Associates/Sullivan Resorts. Concord Associates LP is the company owned by Louis Cappelli that is still trying to make his dream of a racetrack/racino at the old Concord site come true (and he is surely interested in turning the racino into a full-fledged casino). While I don't know that Cappelli has any direct interest in a facility at Belmont or in the fate of NYRA, he definitely has relevant business before the state and, specifically, before the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee that Senator Bonacic chairs. He's now competing with his former partner, Empire Resorts, the owner of Monticello, for the right to build at the Concord; and with two other applicants for what is currently the final available harness license in the state. And he surely qualifies as one of those "private casino developers" that Senator Bonacic seems so fond of.

Whatsmore, Cappelli's contributions to the Senator hardly stop at $9,500. There's a donation in that amount in 2011 listed from each of Concord Associates LP and Sullivan Resorts, with which Cappelli is also associated (and the companies share the same post office box). In addition, there's a $9500 donation from Louis Ceruzzi. If you Google him, the top result is for The Lofts at City Center; and if you click on that link, you'll see that Ceruzzi is teamed in that project with one Louis R. Cappelli.

Going back to 2010, you'll find donations of $5,000 each again from Concord Associates, LP and Sullivan Resorts; as well as contributions in the same amount from Peter Palazzo, who, in 2006, was named president of a Cappelli subsidiary; and from Paul Slaney, appointed COO and general counsel to the same subsidiary in the same year.

So that's a fair chunk of change right there - nearly $50,000 coming from Cappelli and people with close associations to him - and that's only what I found by researching the largest donations. I could be like a real reporter and call Bonacic's office for comment, but I'd just get the usual rote response - that the Senator bases his decisions on what is best for his constituents and for the state, and he is not influenced by such donations. So I don't think I'll bother.


Figless said...

great job exposing this farce.

djr2000 said...

I hope they approve racino and casino at the old Concord. It will bring back the decaying catskills, sullivan county, and ellenville,where I used to go with family when I was a youngin.

Anonymous said...

Happy to help!

I guess another thing a real reporter would do (or already know) is to figure out which of the Albany law firms, lobbyists, PACs etc listed are working for casino interests.

On a more serious matter, really would have liked almost 7-1 True Feelings to have gotten up in the Schuylerville today. :)

cheers, Chris

steve in nc said...

One reason America is so great is that you get the best government you can buy.

Figless said...

Steve NC, sadly I have to agree but it is still superior to the alternatives.

At least here you have the ability to vote the crooks out, if only the general public, wasnt too goddamn lazy to do their homework and the media not as corrupt at the politicians.