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Friday, August 14, 2009

Too Important To Fail?

New York's Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has released his audit of NYC OTB, the findings of which were leaked by the Post last month....and which you could probably figure out anyway. "The industry is too important to fail," DiNapoli writes in a press release. Sounds like it could be eligible for an injection of funds by the Fed.

“New York City OTB is on very shaky financial ground,” DiNapoli said. “Even if cost-savings measures are implemented, it’s unlikely that it will remain financially solvent for long. This is a serious problem that needs in-depth examination. If the goal is to keep OTB viable, serious consideration must be given to changing the mandated state formulas and restructuring operations to coordinate different aspects of the racing industry.
".....Something has to be done. Inaction will mean insolvency.”
Here's the complete audit report in a large pdf file. This is one of those documents that I prefer to delve into in detail before commenting further; so I have something to read in case I have trouble sleeping this weekend. So more on this to follow.

- Perhaps you've been following the matter of the hiring of Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada's son to a $120,000-a-year position (to which he didn't show up), the NY Post's 'gotcha' when he couldn't log on to the computer in his purported office; and his subsequent resignation after Andrew Cuomo launched a probe into the whole stinking affair. The point for those of us awaiting the decision on the Aqueduct racino is that there is no shame and no party lines when it comes to the sleaze and corruption in Albany, which, in this particular case, was carried out with brazen transparency. Approved by the Democratic conference leader Senator John Sampson, the quid pro quo factor in the appointment after the elder Espada's return to the Democratic fold is frighteningly obvious. So yes, be very afraid that the Aqueduct process is being held behind closed doors, and don't at all underestimate the ties of the Aqueduct Entertainment Group to Senate President (completing the three stooges of the Democratic leadership) Malcolm Smith.

- NYRA announced a contest which takes advantage of the fact that all three Triple Crown race winners are on the grounds at Saratoga. Three lucky winners will each get to meet one of them. I dunno, my experience with meeting horses has not been particularly enlightening. They don't seem to relish discussing their races, and are particularly mum about their human connections. But I guess it's good for a cool photo op.
At approximately 10:00 a.m. the Mine That Bird and Summer Bird winners along with their guests will depart for a meeting with their Classic winner. The Rachel Alexandra meeting is scheduled for 3:45 p.m.
Typical woman, always keeping their dates waiting.


Anonymous said...

Horse racing and breeders await a plan for NYCOTB, and what appears to be an even harder decision at Aqueduct. It's hard to find anyone in this gaming/development bid without, as Alan says "ties," certainly including, and well beyond the example mentioned, the Aqueduct Entertainment Group.

Don Peebles has had Carl McCall, one of Governor David Paterson's fondest supporters, championing him in NY for years and Donahue Peebles has been recognized as a key President Barack Obama fund raiser and "bundler." Who doesn't remember the Sheldon Silver lobbying fiasco involving Steve Wynn's current in house gaming counsel Kim Sinatra when she worked for Caesars. The case suggested that the Silver's were given preferential treatment out in Las Vegas, a trip arranged by James Featherstonhaugh's (named as an investor in the Delaware North/Saratoga Gaming bid)office, who was the then Caesars' Albany lobbyist and counsel. Delaware North, supported by former Silver senior office member and now lobbyist Patricia Lynch, has well known ties to the highest level of state and federal elected officials on both sides of the aisle. S.L Green brings in Jeff Gural, who has been a Lottery and legislative story, renegotiating contract terms and getting what's best for he and other gaming operators, along with Stephen Green, whose brother Mark Green is a leading candidate for NYCity Public Advocate and perhaps even New York City Mayor. Penn National has had no community contact, no plans released, maybe just a tire kicker, but as Alan has mentioned, who knows what's going on behind closed doors with this or any other group?

My guess is "ties" are ultimately what scored the touchdown for the NYRA in the racing franchise part of this deal. Let's hope plans that are achievable, by bidders with "baggage free", unquestionably honorable reputations are the most integral part of the determination made by Governor David Paterson, Speaker Sheldon Silver and as Alan reminds us, whomever is the Senate decision leader du jour.

Anonymous said...

Politics aside, given all the big names and big-time gambling connections being touted as morning line favorites for the casino deal, let's hope they come taint-free. :) If they really aren't, then the decision makers need to eliminate the big casino poobahs from competition, do what's right and choose from who's left standing.

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog. Stanley & Pansy Ho from Macau, the Chinese Triad, NY's Genovese family, St. Louis & Detroit organized crime groups, all come to mind per the last poster's suspicions as those having been eluded to alongside certain Aqueduct bidders.

Hope Governor David Paterson is on his toes.

Anonymous said...

In a parallel world, watch what's going on in the Catskill's with full fledged Indian casinos. Several players and lobbyists in the Aqueduct game are up there making some noise.

Whatever happened to Senator Joe Bruno's pal Donald Trump, the man that said after NYRA chose MGM as its operator in 2003, "if I can't have Aquedcut, nobody can." What's he going to get from NY to protect his NJ casino interests that he just reinvested his own money in?

So many things going on behind the curtain......