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Friday, August 21, 2009

Selection Process Labors Along

A lobbyist for Steve Wynn told the local Queens Tribune that the decision on the Aqueduct racino is expected to come around Labor Day weekend. But don't expect an award ceremony between races on NYRA's Saturday telecast.

A spokeswoman for the Governor's office was unable to confirm or deny this day and explained that "releasing specific information on the bids impairs the State's integrity in the evaluation process and hampers the State's ability to [blah blah blah]." [Queens Tribune]
So the Vegas/Macau fellow Wynn thinks he's a winner, writes a reader after reading a second article in that paper on Thursday. It would seem as if the Aqueduct Entertainment Group agrees that Wynn is the front runner, having gone as far as to run newspaper and radio ads (on Bloomberg) targeting him with the tagline: "What happens in Las Vegas should stay in Las Vegas." If anyone has heard and/or has a link to the audio of that, please clue us in!

Another reader brings up Wynn's old buddies at Excelsior and the possibility of them finagling their way up the Belt to the Cross Island and Belmont. I certainly wouldn't discount the possibility of Richard Fields & Co re-emerging if and, in my mind, if when Belmont comes into play. It's been pointed out to me that an entity called Coastal Development Ltd, a company (of some sort) owned and controlled by Fields, donated $25,000 apiece to the Democratic and Republican NY Senate campaign committees last October (a fact you can look up for yourself on the website of the state's Campaign Financial Disclosure site).

But whether they would want to partner with Wynn I can't say, considering the way that he helped put the final gash in the already sinking Excelsior ship with his bizarre testimony to Spitzer's racino panel in April 2007.

As another reader points out, Elizabeth Benjamin writes on her Daily Politics blog that the law firm Manatt, Phelps, and Phillips, hired by the Paterson administration ( at a cost "up to" $600,000) to handle legal aspects of the bidding process, has represented Delaware North in unrelated matters out of state.
Paterson spokesman Peter Kauffmann said the administration knew Manatt represented Delaware North involving unrelated “hospitality projects” in California, adding: “Our counsel’s office thoroughly reviewed it and determined there was no conflict."

He said the firm won't play a role in the selection of bidders. It was retained to assist in the drafting and review of “transactional legal documents,” he added. [Daily Politics]


Anonymous said...

Key components, (Bill Mulrow & Richard Fields) of the original Excelsior group are still kicking up in Boston, MA at Suffolk Downs. Sightings of Steve Wynn's key people have been made in Beacon Hill, and the same Wynn subsidiary that has put plans forth for Aqueduct, Development Associates, has hired a MA based lobbyist. Wynn and Donald Trump both have approached Wonderland Greyhound Racetrack owner Charles Sarkis, but ultimately a deal was made to give Suffolk downs the first option to acquire nearby Wonderland.

It appears some sort of legislation, from as little as slots at the tracks to as much as (3) full casinos will be approved this fall. Mulrow & Fields are certainly familiar with Wynn, so do they engage him again in Boston at Suffolk Downs? Is there room for Trump as well in New England? If Wynn is indeed a factor in Mass, if he wins in Queens, does his slots facility at Aqueduct end up playing second fiddle to a full blown casino in Boston?

David Paterson, Sheldon Silver and Malcolm Smith are deciding on Aqueduct, but from the Catskills to Beantown, things are happening that will inevitably alter the anticipated outcome at Aqueduct.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to fall in love with Steve Wynn. He makes so many promises all over the world that go unkept, so why would NY even be considering this fellow?

This is a big deal for the increasingly powerful NY State Lottery Commission. Newcomer Gordon Medinica and twice over lottery guy Bill Murray have a lot to say about who gets this deal. Murray worked as Lottery counsel from 1988-99, then went on to the coveted Comptroller's office during the Carl McCall and Alan Hevesi eras. Now we find him back at the Lottery inserting himself in the Aqueduct gaming and development award decision making process.

I'm not sure what to make of Murray's power and influence, but I bet it needs to be considered.

Anonymous said...

According to the Daily News, MGM has a problem with Pansy Ho, daughter of Stanley Ho the gambling kingpin in Macau whose ties to Chinese crime is a concern. Wynn bought his Macau license from Ho.

Odato interviewed Peebles who didn't bring up the Ho problem, but he did insist on a more transparent process. Good luck with that! The saga continues....