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Friday, October 17, 2008

No Love For Governor's Choice

- More on Aqueduct in the local Queens Chronicle this week; and the free weekly reports that the community has a clear preference: anything but Delaware North.

“We believe that both of the other proposals offer more to the state over the long term,” said Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton.
We also hear from the other, aggrieved bidders. SL Green spokesperson Bob Bellafiore says that it has offered to invest $130 million to improve the Aqueduct facility, which brings its total up-front spending to $380 million. (That would be in addition to the $250 million the state plans to raise in a bond offering; and as a reader pointed out the other day, good luck with that. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority even hired former NYC Mayor Ed Koch to do some radio ads for a planned bond offering this week, and it had to be postponed.) Capital Play pointed out that their plan would generate $6 billion more over 30 years; that's $200 million per year.

GOP State Senator Serph Maltese, who received a key union endorsement in his desperate battle against the Democratic Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr. (in a district in which enrolled Democrats outnumber Republicans by far over 2-1), is getting his two cents in too. He told another local paper, the Queens Gazette, that's he's "worked closely" with the community board, and that "Delaware North has all along been nearly everyone's third choice."

It's pretty amazing to me that I really haven't heard a single good word from virtually anyone for Delaware North, have you? I mean, I've gotten a lot of informed-sounding comments on this site from readers, some who have apparently had experience with them at Finger Lakes and other properties, and I only recall one who thought Del North had a good plan. And, as has also been pointed out by readers, we haven't heard a single direct word from Governor Paterson. You'd think he would respond and defend his choice.

Senate Minority (But Hopes To Be Majority) Leader Malcolm Smith criticized Skelos for opposing the Governor's, and Sheldon Silver's, selection, and opined that Skelos' action could result in a lawsuit because Skelos sought more information from one bidder, but not the others. I don't know if SL Green and Capital Play would have the legal basis for a lawsuit, nor who the appropriate target would be if they did. But I imagine that those bidders will want to know why Delaware North was permitted to have what sounds like a do-over in response to the reservations we're seeing the community express. Why doesn't SL Green or Capital Play, who have already satisfied the community, get a chance to respond to the reservations that the state has expressed, and raise their upfront payment offer?


Anonymous said...


Is the $130 million additional that S.L. Green talks about going to the combined racing/gaming facility, just the gaming/vlt portion of the project, or is it to fund construction of the hotel and other entertainment? If the extra $130 million investment by S.L. Green is going to make just the gaming section that much nicer, no wonder the Delaware North plans as presented in the bid were deemed inferior because they were only going to invest the $250 million raised by the state via muni bonds, the same amount available to all the bidders.

Can you clear this up?

Alan Mann said...

>>Is the $130 million additional that S.L. Green talks about going to the combined racing/gaming facility, just the gaming/vlt portion of the project, or is it to fund construction of the hotel and other entertainment?

The $130 million is "additional
construction expenditures (on top of the state's $250 million) to
ensure the best possible facility at Aqueduct." You can find more details of their plan here, about halfway down, after all their union endorsements.

Anonymous said...


These are Liberal Democrats.

These are Hacks.

They will screw this up.

El Angelo said...

You mean like Katrina?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link supporting the answer. I forgot all about that press release. $380 million gets you a nice, exciting gaming facility where $250 million can't get you much more than a "mom and pop" style gaming "joint."

Anonymous said...

Anybody care to wager on when the man behind the curtain, Gov. Paterson, will actually weigh in on this debate himself, instead of letting his minions, like Sen. Smith, continue to put their feet in their collective mouths in their own districts?
On the other hand, maybe the silent treatment is a pretty clever chief executive strategy.