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Friday, February 02, 2007

Silver Speaks

- NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver speaks out on racing to the Saratogian, and tells reporter Paul Post that former Gov. George E. Pataki deliberately "starved" New York Racing Association by refusing to authorize video lottery terminals at Aqueduct.

"The governor (Pataki) wanted to keep his power over NYRA and keep them dependent on him for hand-outs," Silver said. "Truthfully, he made the state forego tens of millions of dollars in revenue."
Those are pretty strong words; that's basically the gist of NYRA's lawsuit against Pataki and the state for delaying the racino. I don't recall any elected official, no less one as powerful as the Speaker, confirm that he or she believes what many of us have suspected all along. I wonder if NYRA will have him subpoenaed to testify in their behalf!

Silver also told the paper that there is indeed still time to solicit new proposals, but Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, who heads the Assembly's racing and wagering committee, said it makes no sense to restart the process, because the same firms would just try to outbid each other, turning the process into an auction. Capital Play Ltd., and, to a lesser extent, Empire, have already attempted to do just that.

- Newsday gave a slap on the wrist to its writer Paul Moran for accepting small payments from NYRA to appear on their closed circuit telecast. James Odato, writing on the Albany Times-Unions' Capitol Confidential blog, relates that the paper published the following in an editor's note on Wednesday:
A NYRA spokesman and Moran said his appearance was based on the stipulation that the money be given to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, a charity dedicated to saving thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete.

However, these actions are against Newsday’s conflict of interest policy. Any involvement of Newsday reporters or editors with organizations they cover raises questions of fairness and objectivity and are therefore inappropriate.


Green Mtn Punter said...

Wow! I agree, Alan, the Speaker's comments in re the Pataki Admin's inaction on the VLT's are explosive. More significant, perhaps, may be Rep. Gary Pretlow's comments that it's too late in the game for a "do over" and it would only result in a bidding war. Just waiting for a lot of other greedy legislators to jump in and proclaim that a do over and bidding war are exactly what's called for as it is their sacred duty to milk as much as possible from the racing cow.

Alan Mann said...

Funny how Silver is all of a sudden taken such an interest in the matter. He seemed aloof for awhile; remember he delayed naming his members of the committee. He's also the only one of the big three who hasn't (yet) been revealed to have a conflict with someone from one of the bidding groups. Hmmm, think he's been flying around with the boys from Capitol Play Ltd?

Green Mtn Punter said...

Alan, let's all hope that Gary Pretlow's influence as committee chair will carry the day and move for floor action in the next few months. As Bill Nader pointed out last week, if a new franchisee is to take over on Jan 1 2008 then they have less than 11 months to receive any OJT, so it's decision time in Albany. And, at the same time, there's the NYRA bankruptcy and land claim to settle, the NYRA litigation against the Pataki Administration, and the impact of the Gov's and Bruno's conflicts of interest. Will there be yet a new twist in this whole saga, you know, another one of those "just when you think you've heard it all" moments?

Anonymous said...

It's fairly apparent tha Pretlow doesn't have a whole lot of credibility here. Why else did Silver wait so long to appoint him, the clueless Mayor of Saratoga, and the Assemblywoman from Queens who doesn't want economic development to interfere with her plans for her district. And why would Silver say there's still time for a do-over if Pretlow caried any weight whatsoever?

Fact is, the whole AHC process is challegable since the committee was not fully constituted by the date proscribed in the enabling legislation. Is that the kind of thing you're waitng for, GMP?

Alan Mann said...

>>Fact is, the whole AHC process is challegable since the committee was not fully constituted by the date proscribed in the enabling legislation.

Is that because Silver waited too long to make his appointments? That's an interesting point that I wasn't aware of. But I don't think it really matters. The whole process was non-binding anyway, and I imagine it will play out like everything else does in Albany.

Green Mtn Punter said...

Gary Pretlow, if I recall correctly, is also chair of the Assembly committee charged with oversight of racing and wagering, another trump card in his hand as I see it. So, legislative infighting is coming to the fore with the Speaker putting in his 2 cents worth with the do over card, but still too early to tell how this thing is going to sugar off. Is there a future book on who the franchisee will be? Those guys have a line on everything else under the sun so why not the NY franchise race?

Anonymous said...

>>Gary Pretlow, if I recall correctly, is also chair of the Assembly committee charged with oversight of racing and wagering<<

And I fine job he has done. Do we have to recap the entire scorecard? Nero did a better job of overseeing Rome.

Green Mtn Punter said...

Late Scratch: Dittos, most racing fans, myself inlcuded, agree that legislative control over racing and wagering has been harmful- disastrous?- to the sport, current legislative leaders and committee chairs included. No other major sport or entertainment enterprise is so handicapped by multi-layers of state regulation, overtaxation, and so-called "oversight". We're all praying they don't screw it up any more in awarding the new franchise.