RSS Feed for this Blog

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dear Governor.......WTF??

Governor Paterson was in Queens on Wednesday, and when asked about the Aqueduct racino, he said:

“I am willing to take what ever choice that the other two can arrive at because we need the money and we need to start generating work and opportunity right here in southeast Queens." [Queens Chronicle]
Now, c'mon governor. As you no doubt know, I'm one of your biggest fans. I've praised you for consistently and loudly sounding the alarm on the deficit from the moment you took office, for showing leadership in your dealing with the Senate, and for properly taking matters into your own hands when appropriate. And, on top of all that, you're a fucking pisser too.

But what really is the story here? You've shown no hesitation in acting unilaterally when it was called for. You moved to withhold Senators' pay during the coup stalemate, and appointed a lieutenant governor even though everyone, including the state Attorney General (in extremely adamant terms), said that you didn't have the constitutional power to do so. You told the legislature that if they couldn't agree to the measures necessary to close the deficit, you would do it yourself. And now that they indeed fell short of your goal, you've declared that you're indeed going to withhold payments from localities, including schools.
"I will probably be sued for this, but I will not let New York state run out of money on my watch...." Paterson reiterated that he would unilaterally hold back the funds because the state is about to run out of cash and shouldn't borrow money from other accounts to make payments to counties, municipalities and school districts. [Times Union]
So I don't understand what exactly is going on here. Is there something we don't know? The state is so desperate you say, literally on the verge of issuing IOU's and having its credit rating destroyed, that you are resorting to measures you know may be unconstitutional. But when it comes to Aqueduct, you'll "take what ever choice that the other two can arrive at?" What the fuck is that? I know of at least one bidder that is willing to write the state a check for $300 million tomorrow. So why is it, in this case, that you haven't taken charge? Why don't you tell Shelly Silver and John Sampson who you want!? And then, tell the public too, explain your reasoning behind the choice, articulate once again the dire importance of the up front cash and continuing cash flow. Then (assuming, of course, that you pick the bidder who you honestly and objectively, free from politics and influence, feel will be of most benefit to the taxpayers), should they not go along (and why, really, if they truly have the state's best interests at heart, would they not?), let those bozos be the ones to tell the voters why they are costing the state a million dollars a day!


Anonymous said...

Strong and direct article which reflects the frustration of us all. Governor Paterson, please continue to show the leadership you have demonstrated in these past few months. However, I agree with "Frustrated and waiting in Queens" from yesterday's post, please don't give us Hard Rock. It is ALL WRONG for Queens. There are 4 other qualified bidders from which to choose from.

Anonymous said...

Quote from "Top 20" 10/12/2009 - 4:38PM:

" Governor Paterson, you have shown great leadership and courage in Albany. Keep it up and the people of New York will reward you in 2010.

The delay in choosing an operator for Aqueduct is understandably frustrating everyone here. We have waited 8 years and despite this we need you to take your time and make sure you choose the right operator who will understand our needs and listen to the community.

All the bidders seem qualified to me and have good plans. However I ask you to please not give us the Hard Rock. The Hard Rock in Vegas is notorious for parties, alcohol and drug problems. In Florida they seem to ignore the authorities and do what they want. The Hard Rock might work in Manhattan but is all WRONG for Queens. We don't need this kind of activity in our neighborhood.

Frustrated but trusting in Queens. "

Anonymous said...

Feds: Probes ongoing
State lawmakers put on notice about scrutiny after Bruno conviction

By BRENDAN J. LYONS, Senior writer
First published: Friday, December 11, 2009

ALBANY -- Federal authorities who oversaw the prosecution of Joseph L. Bruno said they will continue to investigate allegations of corruption within the state Legislature, and that the FBI's resources for such cases have more than doubled in recent years.

In an interview Thursday at the federal courthouse where Bruno was convicted by a jury this week on two felony counts, acting U.S. Attorney Andrew T. Baxter and John Pikus, special agent in charge of the FBI's Albany field division, said their probe of Bruno, which began five years ago, was hampered by New York's arguably porous ethics laws.

"The state ethics and disclosure laws make it much harder for law enforcement to investigate and prosecute public corruption involving state officials,'' Baxter said. "There's just so little transparency in the legislative process that it takes an enormous amount of time and effort to uncover what really happened."

Pikus took over leadership......

"It really is the state Legislature," Pikus said of where they are focusing. "The bureau understands that in any government form of the legislature there's going to be some allegations of wrongdoing and we are constantly on the outlook for that. I have the agents now, very experienced agents, working on information that's come to us and we're taking a look at it."

Assistant U.S. Attorney William C. Pericak, a co-prosecutor in the Bruno case with Elizabeth C. Coombe, was circumspect about whether other state lawmakers should be concerned with what happened to Bruno, who was convicted on two of eight counts in an indictment built on the federal honest services law.

"I don't know," Pericak said. "It depends on who's paying them."

The focus of the Bruno case was on payments the former senator received from a variety of companies or individuals who had an interest in his legislative duties, or his connections from his powerful majority leader post. He was convicted on two counts that related to his dealings with Jared E. Abbruzzese, a Loudonville businessman who became a millionaire from his efforts in the telecommuncations industry. Bruno and Abbruzzese also were partners in a horse-breeding partnership, which was the subject of one of the counts on which Bruno was convicted: Abbruzzese agreed to pay Bruno $80,000 for a prospective racehorse that prosecutors alleged was virtually worthless.

The trial of Bruno.....

Baxter said the Justice Department normally would defer to local or state prosecutors in cases of public corruption involving state and local government. But he said the structure of the state Legislature and the rules the elected officials created have made such referrals difficult.

"In this case we decided the federal authorities needed to step in," Baxter said. "I think it would be easier for law enforcement at all levels to distinguish between corrupt politicians and politicians that are playing by the rules if there was more transparency in the state government process."

Pericak added: "I think more transparency discourages bad behavior. In that sense, there's less of it but it's clearer."

The prosecutors said their office......

Full Story:

Anonymous said...

In response to 8:40AM Post:

"The focus of the Bruno case was on payments the former senator received from a variety of companies or individuals who had an interest in his legislative duties, or his connections from his powerful majority leader post. He was convicted on two counts that related to his dealings with Jared E. Abbruzzese, a Loudonville businessman who became a millionaire from his efforts in the telecommuncations industry. Bruno and Abbruzzese also were partners in a horse-breeding partnership, which was the subject of one of the counts on which Bruno was convicted: Abbruzzese agreed to pay Bruno $80,000 for a prospective racehorse that prosecutors alleged was virtually worthless."

Have we not heard that Abbruzzese was a founder of Empire Racing which morphed into the SL Green bid. SL Green is suing Delaware North which went it alone to get away from the taint of Abbruzzese/SL Green. Who could blame Delaware North for this action given the sleazy detail of Abbruzzese's business methods which emerged from the Bruno court room.

How can Governor Paterson pick Abbruzzese/SL Green for Aqueduct?

Surely NOT!

Anonymous said...

Who are the Feds looking at next?

Remember this one:

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo subpoenas contracts won by clients of firm tied to Sheldon Silver

BY Kenneth Lovett

Thursday, April 30th 2009, 11:55 PM

ALBANY - State investigators have subpoenaed records involving a top lobbyist with close ties to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, the Daily News has learned.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's subpoenas cover companies that have won state contracts using Patricia Lynch Associates as their lobbyist, sources said.

Lynch was a longtime communications director for Silver and has created one of the biggest lobbyist firms in the state.

The subpoenas were sent to the state controller's office.

"We are cooperating with the attorney general's office," said controller's office spokeswoman Jennifer Freeman.

The records sought include those for Cablevision/Madison Square Garden, Disney, City of Yonkers, Destiny USA, First Albany, Port of Albany and Accenture.

Also sought are records on Long Island Power Authority, Erie County, InsCap, M/A Com-Tyco, Macquarie, Markstone and M&T Bank.

Some are current clients of Lynch's firm. Others are past clients.

"He's looking to see if the [Lynch] firm had any undue influence on the contracting process," a source said.

Another source said the subpoenas are part of the pension probe inquiry into the state controller's office under former Controller Alan Hevesi.

But many, if not all, of the contracts were said to be with state agencies with no connection to the pension fund.

The controller and attorney general must approve every state contract.

Lynch couldn't be reached for comment.

Her office put out a statement, saying, "like many others, we have received a request for information relating to the controller's office. We have provided information responsive to that request."

Read more:

SaratogaSpa said...

“I am willing to take what ever choice that the other two can arrive at because we need the money and we need to start generating work and opportunity right here in southeast Queens."

We are now in year 8 of the slots debacle-Sadly the quote above could have been said in any of the past 7 years by either Pataki, Spitzer or Paterson. At this point it falls on my deaf ears

Anonymous said...

The state gets $300 mil upfront?
What percent of the slots winnings goes to the state and communities?

Anonymous said...

Left at the Gate
Thursday, May 08, 2008
The Heat Is (Still) On:

Worth reading this Post again given the outcome of Delaware North being the chosen bidder last year:

Anonymous said...

This is the Albany Times Union's on-going smear of Bruno. Every couple of weeks, Jim Odato writes the same story all over again.

Then they follow-up with an editorial that was already in the can when the story appeared.

I'm not a big fan of Bruno, but if he's going to be held to certain standard regardling his outside employment and personal life, so should every other legislator and elected state offical, starting with Shelly Silver and Governor Paterson who provided member item funding to the hospital which employs his wife, who made the connection. Then there's the fact that Paterson lied to the public about his extra-marital actions and we the taxpayers paid for his trysts when he billed the state for his hotel rooms in the Albany area when he has a house in Albany area.

Bruno had an ethics opinion that said his flights were legal. Maybe it was a bad opinion, but they were the rules of the game at the time.

And Silver? What exactly does he do that for his law firm that's worth a reported $1 million a year? We know he has blocked any form of tort reform for the past decade and completely supported the trial lawyers' agenda. His "close" associate Pat Lynch has become a millionaire based on her relationship with Silver.

Wanna bet that her client, Delaware North, ends up as the VLT operator at Aqueduct? Maybe they have the best plan, but if so why do they need Pat Lynch?

I know, because I live in the Capital region that Joe Bruno is the guy who finally gave the area a decent airport even though it's not in his district. I know that he's probably knows and cares more about horse racing than any other member of the legislature. I know that things will be worse if both houses of the legislature go to the Dems.

One party rule worked so well in Bush's first term and a half we should want it in New York State?

Lot's I disagree with too, but this is just a smear by a local paper that likes to get directly involved in liberal politics.

JK, Spitzer's biggest failing is that he was the ultimate in corruption -- hiding behind the image as public crusader and a man of ethics.
10:47 PM

Something for the Feds to look at?

Anonymous said...

8:40AM Post
Follow up comments:

Full Story:

Pat Lynch also represents Delaware North in the current Aqueduct Casino Franchise which is due to be decided at any time.

Jared Abbruzzese is a founder of Empire Racing which morphed into two bidding teams, SL Green and Delaware North.

In light of the Bruno corruption conviction on two counts related to Jared Abbruzzese, neither SL Green nor Delaware North should be considered for the Aqueduct Casino Franchise. It is time for Governor Paterson, Sheldon Silver and the Senate Leadership to be seen to choose an operator for the Aqueduct Casino who is without a taint of Abbruzzese and Pat Lynch.

Comment by Interested NY Horseman — December 11th, 2009 @ 12:12 pm

Anonymous said...

The Leaders may have met today but it does not look like there was any decision on Aqueduct:

The Daily Politics
by Elizabeth Benjamin
December 11, 2009 2:49 PM No
Family Squabbles »

By Elizabeth Benjamin

Ah, the tyranny (or should I say "gift") of the live mic.

The uneasy relationship between Gov. David Paterson and his fellow Democrats in the Legislature was on display in the governor's Manhattan office this afternoon at a press conference that preceded a bill signing ceremony for the public authorities reform bill.

Before the event began, Paterson filed in along with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Also on hand were Assemblyman Richard Brodsky and Sen. Bill Perkins, who sponsored the legislation in their respective houses.

The event was already being streamed live over the Internet, Silver, perhaps unaware of this fact, could be heard needling Paterson for "hanging out in my district" without giving him a heads-up first.

"You gave a speech on Wall Street," Silver said. "I hear you're going to the Stock Exchange Monday."

Paterson replied: "You own the Stock Exchange? Well, I have to make sure you come along."

When Paterson asked an aide about the whereabouts of Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson, Silver could be heard grousing again how Paterson made a "big deal" over Sampson's absence, but "I don't get invited" when the governor shows up on the Lower East Side.

In his opening remarks, Paterson made a joke at Brodsky's expense, saying he was glad to finally get around to signing the public authorities reform bill "so Assemblyman Brodsky can die in peace."

"Happy Chanukah to you, governor," Brodsky shot back.

"Hopefully a long time from now," Paterson amended. "...the rest of his life is going to be a lot easier after today." Brodsky replied: "That's better."

While Silver was making his remarks, he revealed Paterson would soon sign "another Assembly initiative" that would reform how the state procures information technology.

Apparently, Paterson wasn't prepared for this piece of news to be broken, but he took the hint, saying: "I heard that, and, like Dick Tracy would say: I'll get right on it."

Read more:

Anonymous said...

Great read Alan, you nailed it.

I like this Gov a lot, I really do, but the fact that he is not willing to go on record just makes one wonder wtf is going on behind the scenes.

Anonymous said...

Yes, wtf is going on behind the scenes? When will this decision be made?

What credibility will the Governor, Silver and Sampson have left for doing business in New York State if they don't get this decision made before the Holidays THIS YEAR?

Alan Mann said...

>>Yes, wtf is going on behind the scenes?

Could it really be, as some readers have been insisting all long, that he's stalling, waiting for the Feds to approve off-reservation casinos for the tribes, so that he can then make a grand announcement of the Shinnecock casino at Belmont? Followed by a cash infusion from the sale of Aqueduct to private developers? I'd like to believe that Paterson is above such tactics. But what possible explanation can there be?

Anonymous said...


I am not a conspiracy theorist neither but sometimes one has to consider it as a possibility.

Given this, one should also look at the possible repercussions of the SL Green / Delaware North litigation and what this might mean for disclosure of past dealings between Delaware North (possibly NYRA) and the State. Will this litigation shine a light on any underhanded dealings, if they occurred, during the racing and previous Aqueduct VLT Franchise bidding?

Continued delay will only reinforce conspiracy theories.

Anonymous said...

NYRA employees were notified by Pres. Hayward this morning that they will not be receiving their expected 3% raises next year after all. Unfortunate for some really hard working people.

Anonymous said...

State's revenues will have substantial holes next year and the following year, New York included. While it is hard for employees, NYRA included, who will not receive well deserved raises, expect to see substantial cuts in public employee wages next year and the following year.

Anonymous said...

The rumor swirling around Albany today is that the Aqueduct VLT decision is being held up by Sheldon Silver and not Governor Paterson.

Seems like Governor Paterson was telling the truth when he told Queens residents that he was waiting for agreement on a decision from Silver and Sampson.

Clearly Silver choose Delaware North (Pat Lynch's client)last year when it was obvious to everyone at the time that they could never pay the $370 million up-front payment. Audrey Pheffer and Community Board 10 were shocked by this choice at the time.

This decision cost the State hundreds of millions of dollars in lost tax payments. Surprisingly, Delaware North has been allowed to re-bid. Instead, they should be sued for the lost revenue to the State. Andew Cuomo, I hope your office is looking into this travesty.

So, what is Sheldon Silver up to?

Surely it is time for the independent Feds who prosecuted Joe Bruno to ask why Silver is holding up the Aqueduct decision and hundreds of millions of dollars in payments to the State not to mention the payments to NYRA, purses and the breeding fund in this state. After all the Feds prosecuted Bruno for payments of only $3 million over 15 years.

Audrey Pheffer and Senator Addabbo, it is time for you guys to wake up(after 8 years of inaction it should be obvious to you)and realize that Silver is taking you for a ride and this ride will result in the closure of Aqueduct as a racetrack and turned into at best a parking lot for JFK, not to mention affordable housing units.

Pheffer & Addabbo (remember 'Dumb and Dumber'), how will you explain this to your voters as they are traveling out of your district to the new up-market casino at Belmont.

Can we say welcome to:
"Wynn's Hotel and Casino at the Shinnecock's Belmont"

Anonymous said...

If I wasnt the first I was one of the leaders of the conspiracy theory that the Big A was destined to be sold to the PA (remember the sudden "need" for a first class hotel near JFK announced last year) since day one.

This is why the State held out for the land titles.

They will justify this by selling it for a tad more than the $300M to the PA who in turn will develop a hotel and parking lot. The VLT stream will come from Belmont.

Everyone is happy except for the people most affected, residents of the neighborhood and the horsemen.

Anonymous said...

I hope the Silber Subpoena includes records related to the Jets West Side Stadium which Silver single handedly blocked as the agent of Cablevision/MSG.

Anonymous said...

"Dumb & Dumber"

There would appear to be no roadblocks to choosing one of the 5 bidders except some other 'grand scheme' for Belmont and a treacherous outcome for the residents of the neighborhood and the horsemen at Aqueduct.

Unfortunately for both Audrey Pheffer and Senator Joe Addabbo, the "Dumb & Dumber" analogy will apply once the truth emerges.

Anonymous said...

When NYRA "won" the franchise were there not performance benchmarks of some sort? Guess they dont apply until/if the VLT's are up and running?

Anonymous said...

The benchmarks required by the franchise legislation are illusory. They amount to nothing but feel good statements made by a legislature that was trying to look effective. All NYRA is required to do is use 'best efforts' to satisfy the standards and they are in compliance. Regardless, the standards they must try and meet are themselves less than definitive.

Racing Law Section 208.4-a. provides:

"As a condition of franchise acceptance, the franchised corporation shall enter into a franchise agreement that shall require such franchised corporation to use its best efforts to satisfy performance standards, measured every four years by the franchise oversight board.

Such performance standards shall relate to racing dates, New York bred horse races, horse stalls, jockey and equine safety, state concentrated animal feeding operation, backstretch conditions, the Saratoga training facility, handle and attendance, purses, expenses of the franchised corporation, and the communities surrounding Aqueduct racetrack, Belmont Park racetrack and the Saratoga race course."