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Monday, May 11, 2009

Two Reporters Better Than One

As noted in the comments section, some more details on the Aqueduct racino bidders - if not the bids themselves - emerged this evening. Matt Hegarty reports in the Form that Charles Hayward and NYRA is "in the dark as anyone else." Hayward said NYRA is not involved in any group seeking the franchise.

Regarding the shadowy Aqueduct Entertainment Group, Hegarty writes that efforts to determine the principals have been unsuccessful. But in an article posted shortly afterwards on, Tom Precious comes up with some details on the group. Of course, we give Hegarty a pass here; Precious is the full-time Albany-based political correspondent for the Buffalo News, and thus would be expected to have the prime sources. In any event, they're both great reporters who do all the tough work so that bloggers like myself can sit at home, appropriate their work and then point out any little deficiencies they might find.

Anyway, you can read the names of the Aqueduct Entertainment Group partners in the Bloodhorse article; it's an odd conglomeration of casino and real estate interests, not very sexy at all. The interesting part though is that, according to the report, the group might include up to two players with ties to Majority Leader Malcolm Smith. Displaying some impressive blogger-level Google skills, Precious uncovered a 2006 Daily News article regarding past ties between Smith and The Darman Group, said to be in the group; and he reports the possible involvement of the Rev. Floyd Flake, Smith's longtime political mentor. The players may have changed - remember Richard Fields and Eliot Spitzer; Jared Abbruzese and Joe Bruno - but the game remains the same. It seems a good bet that there are acquaintances of Paterson and Silver sprinkled amongst all the other parties that we don't yet know about in the six (or seven) groups bidding for the prize. No wonder they want to keep it all behind closed doors.


Anonymous said...

Do some research on the Aqueduct Entertainment Group and the individual components qualifications. Alan doesn't think they are "sexy", but if all of the previoulsu failed bidders have been sexy and this new group isn't, I'll take the new guys! All it appears they do is get things done. Imagine that, VLT's at the Big A, up and running with subsideies flowing to racing, breeding and the infrastructure. What a concept.

By the way, the only thing that makes the Aqueduct Entertainment group "Shadowy" in Alan's words is the fact that Governor Paterson's office has been sitting on the bids with no disclosure, so it's not the bidder that's shadowy, its the government! I'm willing to see what these guys/gals have to offer before painting them with the Abbruzesse or Fields brush.

As to Hegerty, NYRA and Hayward are his first and sometime only calls, so he'll get caught up soon enough.

On the prior string on this subject a blogger talks about how much the state will or even has to release on the bid details. Maybe there won't be dog and pony shows this time? Surely Delaware North never would have won the last if public presentations would have really mattered.

Anonymous said...

After reading Charlie's comments "we are not involved in any of the bidders," I wonder then which bid the NYRA will support or reject as the best neighbor, after all they will se sharing the facility?

Senator Klien's introduction of a full casino gaming Bill a few days after the bids are in is intriguing. He had telegraphed that it was coming a few weeks ago, so I'm sure all the keen bidders were on to that.

Alan Mann said...

>>Do some research on the Aqueduct Entertainment Group and the individual components qualifications.

Hey man, gimme a little time, OK? (Hopefully, one of these reporters will do the work for me.) Agreed that the lack of immediate name recognition does not make them unqualified. But I still think that "shadowy" is an appropriate term for this group at this piont. They could make themselves known if they wish.

Anonymous said...

At first glance it appears the fix is in with these ties to Smith, although I am sure there are ties to all the power brokers.

Best Best regarding this contract;

With 6 or 7 bidders this will drag on and on and on and on until every last campaign contribution can be extracted from the parties.

By then, the new governor will be in place and will demand a new transparent process that will result in yet another round of campaign contributions, which will drag on and on.

All the while the taxpayers are losing an alleged one million per day, NYRA and the horsemen continue without their cash infusion.

In the meantime parcels of land will continue to be sold off to politically connected parties until we are down to one track with no parking or training track.

Then of course the franchise will be revoked from NYRA due to its failure to maintain quality racing since no one will ship in to run for the reduced purses.

Del No will finally build a turf course upstate (funded by a taxpayer bond) and the politicians will close Belmont due to duplicitous nature of the operations. The Belmont Stakes will be run around three turns in Farmington.

Perhaps just a tad over the top, but I guess you can just call me skeptical.

Anonymous said...

Alan did you tell all of your followers that King Mobay
was destroyed after his last start ?

Alan Mann said...

King Mobay is fine.

Anonymous said...

Alan says:

"Hey man, gimme a little time, OK? (Hopefully, one of these reporters will do the work for me.) Agreed that the lack of immediate name recognition does not make them unqualified."

Alan, if all of us that follow your blog waited for outside reporters to provide us with the "skinny" on whatever the topic may be, we might as well just wait for it to get printed in the Encyclopedia! This is the place for "action", so thanks for your efforts.

jk said...

With the MTA bailout a done deal, LIRR service to Belmont will resume forthwith. Right?? Or will I be taking the LIRR to Long Beach instead?

Anonymous said...

Watchful Horseman

that Aqueduct Entertainment Group
seems a strong unit thus far, they've just released a P.R.,821747.shtml

But need to delve deep, how they're going to help Queens, compared to rest of bids..although seems impressive so far, DN especially, might this time 'round, have to up their ante.

This crowd, may also, keep the rest of them honest.

Anonymous said...

No specific bid details, but plenty on the Aqueduct Entertainment Group. Sounds like the most qualified collection of skills presented yet in this gaming drama.

The racing mainstream guys; Post, & Hegerty, still seem to think that getting a quote form Charlie Hayward or a NYRA spokesperson means something in the VLT award. One would hope that the NYRA's time to influence determinations is past, and the best gaming/development/local impact team rules the roost. The NYRA should sit back and learn to live with whatever the decision is that benefits the most intended parties. I think it's just a power thing with the NYRA. That organization has ruled unconditionally with this self perpetuated power and influence for so long, that even when it really shouldn't matter, they still insert themselves as the King.

Racing and breeding, as will all the VLT beneficiaries in NY be better off if we just let the VLT supplements be manufactured by the specialists. Let's hope Paterson and company make it a priority, but don't hold your breath.

Anonymous said...

Watchful Horseman.

don't forget, NYRA have lost their bartering chip, their land & with it, their chosen soul mate, Delaware North, who they thought logically, was a done deal, in exchange for their land.

DN let down more than Peebles…
Yes, NYRA's impotency, will be 'Bam Bam-med'.

Great, these new, raw arterial blooded, bidding companies, for everyone - the real grass-root horseman, breeders, local unions & more-so, Queens Community.

No reason anymore, for NY state to be rail-roaded, into NYRA's venial vestiges.

Anonymous said...

WH, I usually enjoy your perspective on this subject, but NYRA railroading the State???

Sorry, while I am not a fan of NYRA, but you obviously do not understand Albany.

This has been a stalled project simply because the power brokers were maximizing their campaign contributions while deciding which of their cronies would rule the roost.

NYRA, and the NY Horsemen since they ruined their influence by siding with Empire, have been bystanders to this debacle since about midway through the initial bidding round.

Anonymous said...

Based on the MOU issued by the state for this round of bids, the "power" of the NYRA to influence VLT decisions, for whatever it is worth, is described in the RECITALS; WHEREAS, State has consulted with NYRA with respect to the develpment of the VLT facility, Parking Facility, and Mixed Use Facilties on the Aqueduct Lands. Also, in the CONDITIONNS PRECEDENT portion of the MOU, section 7.1.3 A copy of the proposed Transaction Documents shall have been provided to, and State shall have consulted with, NYRA.

Talking to the NYRA about potential construction interruptions, traffic flows and controls, shared use of certain portions of the bulding, seperation of utilitiies billing and services, and these type of "cohabitation" issues makes good business and operational sense. The NYRA may wish to express an opinion on a favorite vendor, or assume a position of authority, but under the MOU language these type of overtures should have no bearing on the State's VLT and Mixed Use determination, as is proper given the history of that organization's business record and judgment. NYRA will be compelled by the Franchise Oversight Board to get along with whichever of the bidders is selected for the project.

Anonymous said...

Per anon 9:31, "NYRA have been bystanders to this debacle since about midway through the initial bidding round." You might know something about Albany "power brokers" and campaign contributions, but I'm quite certain you are mistaken about the NYRA's influential involvement in the racing and gaming award process.

Anonymous said...

Watchful Horseman

WH - and u to. But that's, what's it's all about..

'Collective Enterprise'

Anonymous said...

Anon 1002, NYRA has influence in racing award process yes in the sense that they were a "bidder", gaming no influence whatsoever since they signed away title to the land.

As the other anon points out, they have no choice but to sit back and let this play out in Albany's back rooms.

Other than to be "consulted" on the actual details of the construction they have no say in the proprietor, which is why it is just silly for media to ask Charlie's opinion.

This is all about politics as usual in Albany, if it had anything at all to do with what was best for the racing industry and the state's coffers it would have been done a long time ago.

Anonymous said...


the NYRA, has now placed together, the Peebles and MGM team for the Peebles bid .

MGM part of the Peebles bid consists of the old team at MGM, (they are not with MGM ) and were walking around the hallways of the Capitol with NYRA a few weeks ago - fact.

Up-front fee 1st round factors / amounts said to be as follows :

1. Peebles bid $150 m - subjective
to same party agreements

2 Steve Wynn bid $75m - combined overseas interests - conditional

3. Penn National bid $5m - unknown

4 Aqueduct Entertainment Group
bid $151m - conditional

5. Delaware North bid $100m - unknown

6. Mohegan Sun - n/v

Logic tenders towards a final between 3.

Peebles - Aqueduct Entertainment Group & SL Green.

Issues forwarded are:

1. Will the State pick an out-of-state Florida based Gaming Tribe when it will be dealing with Indian Tribes seeking casino licenses over the next few years.

Also where is the Minority component of the SL Green team? Read the MOU.

My reading of the MOU is that a minority interest is specifically required. Also the SL Green/Delaware North litigation must also cloud the waters here.

2. Can the State pick Peebles when surely Delaware North must be considering a lawsuit against him.

Difficult to believe that Delaware North would put his name in their bid unless they felt he is contractually bound to them.

3.How would the Aqueduct Entertainment Group team combine to make this happen? Seems team combined as a group.

Navegante Group got the State of Ontario back its $180M investment in the Niagara Casino within 180 days. GreenStar is an experienced NY contractor and developer and they have brought in Levine Builders and The Rev Flake to give it the local Queens experience and minority experience.

Do we finally have a team that can get Aqueduct up and running yesterday without false starts and start generating money for Education and for racing ?