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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Winners and Liu-sers

Matt Hegarty, no doubt having seen my post on the booming business at the Big A, reports on the subject in his usual comprehensive way, in the Form:

Genting is estimating that the casino will generate $1 billion in net revenue, which would nearly double the initial estimates for the annual amount of subsidies that will go to racing.
As you may recall, NYRA has already raised purses for the winter meet (starting Jan 1) by 36%, and numbers like these would surely bode well to support an increase of that least.

Of course, the per machine numbers will presumably decline once the additional 2,000 machines are added. NYRA is staying with their forecast of $380 per machine and $75 million in slots revenue for 2012, but, given these initial results, Charlie Hayward classifies those estimates as "conservative." If that indeed turns out to be the case - and even if the estimates prove to be merely prescient - all that dire talk we heard from Comptroller DiNapoli and his audits, and from Franchise Oversight Board chairman Robert Megna regarding $11 million deficits, executive raises, and reckless spending on van rides between Belmont and Aqueduct will be forgotten. And New York politicians will have lost their easiest whipping boy with which to score easy political points.

Hayward is also quoted as saying: “The casino has probably made it more interesting to come out to watch the races." Interesting is one way of putting it. It's been crowded but, as Hegarty opines, that's likely due to the OTB closure. The renovated grandstand and the new patio are nice places to watch the races. But there are no wagering facilities there; so unless you're wagering through your NYRA Rewards mobile app, it's not a place where you can pitch and tent and Occupy all day. Besides, it's getting cold, so soon we'll be stuck indoors, where it's not going to be anymore interesting than in the past, at least on the racing side . Hopefully, that will change soon, especially if business continues to boom.

- Let's go off topic here. Andrew Weiner's sexting scandal was such a sensational story that it even attracted commenters to this site to give me the business like I was the head of the Democratic National Committee or something. Weiner was a major mayoral hopeful for 2013, assuming Bloomberg agrees to abdicate the throne this time.

Another rising Democratic star with mayoral ambitions is the city Comptroller John Liu. But he too is now ensnared in a scandal, and though it's not nearly as sexy as Weiner' weiner (not sexy to me of course)(not that there'd be anything wrong with that), and you therefore won't read many snarky jokes about it on Twitter, in many ways, it's even worse. It started October 11, when the NY Times published an article about apparent irregularities in the records of Liu's campaign contributions. Supposed donors who said they never gave, donation forms for multiple donors all in the same handwriting, donations purporting to be from employees of companies who didn't actually work there, businesses with non-existent addresses. (These tactics would allow single donors to exceed the NYC maximum of $4.950 by using "straw donors;" and are particularly heinous in NYC due to a generous matching program.) The sloppiness and brazen nature of the violations exhibited here should be shocking, but it's all too commonplace in politics these days.

Things have really started to fall apart for Liu in the few short weeks since that article appeared. Just this past week, it was revealed that the feds were investigating; one of his top fund-raisers was arrested after arranging a straw donor fund-raiser for an FBI informant posting as an eager contributor; a respected former attorney general hired by Liu to investigate resigned angrily after being told to suspend his probe; and Liu has reneged on a promise to release the names of his campaign bundlers (which he's required by law to do anyway).

And, this guy says he's still running for mayor? The Comptroller, who is supposed to oversee the finances of the whole complex bureaucracy of the city of New York, wants us to believe that he was completely unaware of major improprieties in the most important funding engine of his own career aspirations? I don't know what's worse, if he did or didn't know! One makes him a crook, and the other incompetent. Either or both of those might make him eligible for some elected offices, but not that one. I'm thinking that he's not gonna keep his present job for too long either.


Anonymous said...

Is medical insurance for backstretch workers a requirement at the NY tracks? Is any of the slot money earmarked to better conditions on the backstretch?

jk said...

Our old friend Joe Bruno was a winner this week, his conviction was overturned. The feds are going to re-try the case against him.

Liu is de-liu-sional. He is done.

The money is flowing in to the Big A but nothing done for the horse players. They paved a spot for us to stand outside in February to watch the races. Thanks!

Give us a takeout decrease, a better quality condition book, a coat of paint...anything!

Figless said...

Hey jk you ungrateful b, they got rid of those darn pigeons didnt they? What more do you want?

Kidding of course.

Anonymous said...

Dutrow is winning like a madman possessed. I guess he has some proving to do to the nyra by not using the needle's anymore. But, noone ever told him he still can't use that spiked up vaseline. Unreal!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I also notice Dutrow has been using Ramon D to ride as many of his horse's as possible.