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Friday, May 08, 2009

Deadline Day

Today is D-Day for the proposals for the Aqueduct racino. The bidders have until 5 PM to fill in the conspicuous blanks in Governor Paterson's Memorandum of Understanding (large pdf), most urgently regarding what they propose to pay up front. One would expect it will be materially less than the $370 million that Delaware North couldn't raise. I've revised my over/under to $200 million; I think $150 is too low, as I don't think the winning bid will come in under that.

Here's an anonymous poster who we'll soon see how well-informed he/she is, writing of speculation in Albany that NYRA will team up with MGM and, I'm presuming that the reference is to the Ilitch family which has partnered with the Shinnecock tribe in the past; that SL Green will team with Jeff Gural; that one-time Del North developer R. Donahue Peebles will submit a bid of his own; and that there's "'some "new unnamed' bidder that has everyone trying to ascertain who it might be." I've heard speculation before about NYRA getting involved; and the Shinnecocks have made proposals before. I can't imagine that Gural could be an asset politically, as he's proven to be a pain in the butt having threatened to shutter his racinos, thus spearheading the racinos' successful effort to squeeze higher retention rates out of Albany. And I'm very excited about the prospect of a mystery bidder....could it be that Excelsior is back in town?

What makes this all the more interesting is the matter of the lawsuit by SL Green charging its onetime partner and now racino rival Delaware North with breach of agreements and gross deception. There's also Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's investigation of contract won by Delaware North lobbyist Patricia Lynch; however, Delaware North is not one of the companies which has been subpoenaed. Still, it's an association which probably doesn't help at this point.


Anonymous said...

Richard Fields was the original Excelsior Racing founder with former NY Comptroller candidate and Spitzer pal Bill Mulrow. Fields is a New Yorker with a big ranch out west, and I'm sure he thought he had the winning hand before, prior to the franchise being split into two parts. With Belmont VLT's off the table for now, why wouldn't he try again with new teammates? Mulrow might be too "hot" via the Hevesi scandal as his Paladin Fund is one of Cuomo's listed firms, speciifcally tied to deals brokered by Ray Harding.

I agree with Alan, Gural brings a a pain in Albany's side, but historically he has been able to get things in his best interest done. We'll see what he does or doesn't do for S.L. Green if rumors prove solid. Plainfield Asset Mangement has some money set aside for this, even more than the $500,000 they were able to filter to Al Sharpton to help him pay some bills.

The NYRA still have the old MGM plans, and if the Ilitch family are still in the Aquedcut hunt with the Shinnecocks, remember they came together in 2003 originally as Empire Ventures, now Gateway, for the purpose of building a casino on LI, this would present the legislature with a difficult "off reservation" dilemma.

Delaware North, well we all know the score on this group; promises not delivered, Patricia Lynch moving and shaking on their behalf, and a local community totally uniterested in them as operators and good neighbors.

The others being mentioned are Peebles, if in fact he broke away from DelNorth, the "new unnamed entrant" and the Mohegan Sun, a local favorite from the last go round, without all of its original partners.

As a betting man, I bet these players are assessing each other's rumored combinations and adjusting the bid amounts and proposal contents right up until the 5:00 p.m deadline! There's a lot at stake, not only for NY's racing, breeding, operational and capital spending subsidies, but politically for those that make the decision to get it right for Aqueduct, without outright favoritism or any apparent conflicts of interest. I think this time the Lottery Commission will insist the overall best bid be chosen in order to maximize dollar flows into state coffers for the next 30, perhaps 40 years.

And then, I woke up and it was morning!

Anonymous said...

Fifty years ago today Mike AND Marian Ilitch opened their first Little Caesars pizza shop in Garden City, Michigan. They have bought many things together since but Mike owns the Detroit Tigers and Marian owns the Motor City Casino. We wouldn't want to taint Major League baseball with gambling interests(or visa-versa). So it would be Marian Ilitch,at least on paper that may have some interest in NY slots.

Alan Mann said...

RG - Right, just like it's only Marian that has an interest in all of their...I mean, her, casinos in Michigan.

Anonymous said...

..... and it wasn't really Steinbrenner and the Yankeees that were a part of the original Excelsior Racing team, it was just his then son-in-law Swindal doing all the talking. yeah, right!!

Anonymous said...

Marian Ilitch is not a friend of horseracing. When Stronach was trying to get slots and the ok for a new racetrack in Michigan he got voter approval from the City of Romulus(suburb of Detroit)despite heavy funding for a no vote. Then as a last resort his opponents financed a statewide constitutional ammendment banning any new casinos without statewide approval of the voters. Goodbye Frank.

Anonymous said...

does DelNorth settle the litigation with Empire/S.L. Green and try to outnumber and overpower the rest of the field?

Anonymous said...

Albany Times Union

VLT bids are in on Big A
May 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm by James M. Odato

Today was the deadline on BIG A VLTs and the soured financial markets showed that bidding was less robust in terms of down-payments than a year ago, although multiple bids came in.

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority decided against entering a bid to build an Aqueduct Racetrack racino, but said it would be happy to operate the facility if the state decides to build it itself.

Meanwhile, Delaware North entered a bid, it said, but didn’t divulge details. It’s a safe bet the Buffalo-based company, still working with architect Don Peebles, didn’t ante up $370 million like it did last year.

Mohegan Sun COO Jeff Hartmann informed Gov. David Paterson that the best option for the state right now is to build and own the facility and partner with “a world class” operator, suggesting the Connecticut gaming company is ready and willing.

SL Green bid with Hard Rock Entertainment as part of the team and harness track operator Jeff Gural as an investor. Paterson’s office is supposed to update interested parties soon.

The Queens track has been open for VLTs since 2001. Delaware North won the bid last year but didn’t want to produce the $370 million promised, resulting in another bidding round with proposals due Friday.

Anonymous said...

More than (1) new bidder shows up with Mohegan as a lessee only. Not much on the sepcific bids yet.

Anonymous said...

Is Fields somewhere in Wynn's bid? Is Peebles in or out of DelNorth? Plenty for the three men to consider.

Anonymous said...

Bids must be "top secret," as Albany isn't talking. Maybe there's just tons of paperwork to go through, or they're having a hard time deciding on things like the Peebles/MGM bid, and can it be considered at all if he would be breaking his contract with DelNorth. NYRA's own bid is missing? Assemblyman Gary Pretlow seemed to think it was a good idea, a month or so ago, for them to submit a proposal. Curious to see Wynn's name after his insisting that NY was Belmont or bust!