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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Not Negotiable

Here's a link to a letter that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has written to Governor Paterson regarding his insistence that the conditions for his approval of Aqueduct Entertainment Group's racino deal at the Big A be adhered to without conditions.

Referring perhaps to the article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that I linked to the other day (or perhaps to this blog itself!), in which Navagante Group president Larry Woolf spoke of up to two months of negotiations which will include the matter of the "payment structure" of the $300 million fee, Silver writes:

Recently, however, I have read press reports quoting partners in AEG who assert that the aforementioned conditions will now be part of an MOU “negotiation.” Let me reiterate – in the event our conversation and my letter were not absolutely clear – the following four conditions are not negotiable.

One, that the up-front licensing fee must be $300 million and that said fee must be received by the State prior to March 31st.
The other conditions deal with licensing of all parties connected to the group, using the "footprint" of the original MGM plans, and that any changes be approved by the Lottery Division and all three leaders.


Anonymous said...

Ok, so AEG gets tossed out as some of the commentators have been suggesting here.

Now lets assume that Delaware North is chosen. They have Mafia connections going back years (well documented, do the research, all there on Google), have direct connections into Silver's office (Pat Lynch, etc)and so they too will get tossed out after say a 6-9 months investigation? Dare I also mention here that Delaware North failed to come up with its $370 million when chosen in October 2008, costing the State, NYRA, purses and breeding fund about HALF A BILLION dollars, yes nearly half a billion dollars. Why has there not been an inquiry into this and how come they were allowed to re-bid?

Next, SL Green is chosen. SL Green is one of the most connected firms in NY. Mark Green, a shareholder and brother of the founder, Stephen Green, has held several offices in NYC and has strong connections to the Democratic elite. Bob Johnson, an SL Green partner has stronger connections into the Democratic elite than most. So we then toss them out too after another 6-9 month investigation.

I think by this time we will be in late 2011 or early 2012. Still no racino at Aqueduct and no money flowing to racing. Is this what the industry wants?

Penn National may have offered the most money in the end at $300 million but from what I have read their plan was not acceptable. If it was just about the money Penn National would have been thrown out day one for offering a measly $5 million up-front payment.

MGM has been forced to pull out of New Jersey because of their ties to the Ho Family which has documented links to the Chinese Mafia, so they could not be chosen.

So who should be chosen? Which group has not hired lobbyists with connections to one or all of the leaders in Albany?

From what I can see AEG has Turner Construction, probably the oldest and one of the largest construction companies in NY which built Yankee Stadium on cost and on time. Larry Woolf of Navegante has a long history of success in managing casinos. Clairvest state they have the money and have a successful history in investing in gaming projects. Jeff Levine and Larry Roman each have a long history of success in the construction industry in NY. Rev Flake has an incredible history in Queens and is much loved. AEG was clearly the favorite of the Community in Queens, even the Chamber of Commerce endorsed them (and also endorsed SL Green).

Given this it is no surprise that AEG should have been chosen for the project and I am sure will do a great job.

Where is NYRA's comment? They were screaming for a decision and not a word out of them since AEG was chosen. Maybe they will make a comment today at the Senate hearing in Elmont. Lets see.

Anonymous said...

Update on Silver's Letter:

The governor said he had "no idea" why Silver had reiterated his conditions in a letter today, adding: "Those are the conditions that we set on Friday...I wouldn’t think that they would be re-negotiated because they’re the conditions that we all agreed to.”

Read more:

Anonymous said...

Contrast what NY is going through trying to get slots at Aqueduct and what Dan Gilbert accomplished in Ohio. Get's a amendment to the state constitution on the ballot and passed by the electorate awarding him two full blown casinos with very favorable terms for him and it probably took a year to 18 months. The difference being he didn't really get the politicians involved.


Anonymous said...

I've watched Alan's blog for sometime on this Aqueduct issue. My question now that an operator has been selected, what's up with Silver? Who's water is he carrying, still delNorth, or is it as the press have suggested, it's now SL Green?

If he's in fact a "Green" guy, is there a business contact, blood relative or in-law, perhaps a dear friend of Shelly's that lobbies for or represents Speaker Sheldon Silver's favorite bidder?

Something is amiss here with the Assembly Speaker's disinterest in the AEG selection, but I just can't put my finger on it? Shelly must have another course of action he desires. Why doesn't he tell us?

Anonymous said...

Look, Speaker Silver has been able to stand in the way of Moynihan Stations for I think over 10 years now, although billed a much larger project, not with the same recurring revenues as Aqueduct, but with more vital importance. The NY press suggests this is because he has been protecting the interest of one of his favorite donors Cablevision, the Dolan family, owners of Madison Square Garden, where Shelly's daughter worked part time in 2003.

Sheldon Silver is a powerful man with plenty of markers and chits to play when final decisions are made. I'd look for Shelly and his far reaching tentacles to be key factors before any Aqueduct deal is finalized.

Anonymous said...

Everyone had/has their favorite bidder, due to various agendas.

Lot of recent anti-AEG press is understandably, via losing bidders. They previous misconstrued a NY Lottery indo-endo which has now, been rectified -below.

For God's sake let AEG have a go.

They are certainly qualified & because their partners are NY based & they will have this up & running, well before anyone could have, including SL Green whose dialogues, with NY Unions, belie a strained history, delaying past projects .

Megna says AEG was a viable Aqueduct bidder

February 3, 2010 at 12:13 pm by James M. Odato

Budget Director Robert Megna briefed reporters this morning about the additional $750 million hole in the budget he is now predicting, and said some of that could get filled with the bigger up-front payment the state intends to extract from Aqueduct Entertainment Group.

He said AEG, which had bid $200 million for the rights to operate a racino at Aqueduct race track, met all the tests he put to it and proved it could meet its commitments.

However, DOB raised the bid requirement to $250 million; now the state is requiring $300 million because Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver demanded that the winning bidder must at least approach the top bid of another contender, Penn National.

Megna said his division never did any rating of the bidders, although the Division of the Lottery may have done a confidential document several months ago.

He said AEG was as “”equipped as any bidder” to meet financial objectives, although he was uncertain of the bidding team’s capability in light of the Speaker’s new set of conditions for the winning bid.

Megna also said he is uncertain what the definition of “up-front” will be. In other words, he is unsure if the state will require all $300 million by March 31.

That may depend on the negotiations that will begin soon, he said.

Dan Weiller, a spokesman for Silver, said the Speaker will not sign off on a memorandum of agreement with AEG unless the group commits to paying all $300 million before the next fiscal year, which starts April 1.

AEG officials have said they intend to comply with the Speaker’s wishes.

Comments »
1. It all seems very strange to me. There was an RFP that was reportedly competitive and the process (however flawed) kicked out a decision on the entity to be awarded the contract. At that point, the Legislative leaders decided to change the rules and require the bidder who won the award to come up with more cash to match the offer of one of the bidders that didn’t get the award. On the bare facts, it all makes no sense. RFPs are supposed to fairly determine the award. In this case, the politicos weighed in and changed the rules after the fact. Why is this “call from the line” not subject to some ethical or legal review? To me, it seems entirely inconsistent with the procurement law.
Comment by Hopalong — February 3rd, 2010 @ 12:55 pm.


Anonymous said...

We are surprised, no-one has commented on;

if a bidder, offers the state pols a $300m fee, they then have to cut corners on the project's construction and substitute, a lesser model, as opposed to the previously state agreed, approx' $200m fee for all bidders.

PENN'S previously presented $300m, project model, was rejected, due to this fact.


Anonymous said...

NY Horseman.

Interesting point. It should be remembered by many, Delaware North's, previous over the top,
$370m enticement to NY pols, on the same deal.

Details of their following many months, back-room moving the goalpost discussions, were never released.

None of the deciding pols, then gave a damn, about the NY community, NY education & NY racing.

The pols at the time, Spitzer etc, I think, were caught short, of not wanting to cross Delaware's tt's, only self-agended $$$.

It is well known, that Mr Sheldon Silver was at the time, instrumental in coercing, other 2 decision makers, into such a disastrous decision, that has cost NY, many, many millions of desperate community CASH, therefore confidence, in maintaining racing & education staff.

Let this local NY crowd proceed.

I will have my son lining up for work, in maybe the only short-term worthwhile depressional opportunity in Queens, when their employment positions are shortly opened.

It won't be so, if we wait for the next political round.

And to Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos.
You have NEVER, stood up, alone on this issue, only as a backstretch, wind sweep echo, on state Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer's (D−Rockaway Beach) convenient nouse.

Hank said...

NY Daily News is reporting that Karl O'Farrell's sticky fingers are all over AEG. O'Farrell was of course the public face of Capital Play but Mohegan forced him to withdraw during the integrity vetting process because of irregularities in his past in Australia. The NY Daily News article says that O'Farrell was involved in bankruptcy proceedings in Australia in 2008, and that he helped form AEG in 2009 (presumably when Mohegan kicked him out). Now, mysteriously, his name has been scrubbed from all AEG documentation and their PR people are whitewashing it. Anyone got details on the exact nature of O'Farrell's legal problems in Australia or his business dealings with any of the politicians or AEG backers? here

Anonymous said...

You are without a doubt, trying to
sadfully, trying to delay Aqueduct.
This guy, company, who cares, it's pols period & thereore you are a
very unintelligent loser... SLG ,PENN maybe you are a 3rd party re-entry WYNN.

Let Queens employ, desperate unemployed workers.

WHO CARES about politics, they, this crowd will give us long term jobs for those trying to STILL make ends meet. Let this other rubbish stop

Anonymous said...

At this late point every bidder is soiled beyond belief, just get the damn thing done.

I have two mares, thinking about returning from PA to my home state, need this thing signed and sealed.

There are hundreds of mares like mine ready to cross the border and return home.

Anonymous said...

Ny racing -horsemen

is anyone reading the real facts on new bidder, previous Deleware North bid was also attacked, same way.

Present local AEG bidder is being hinted by polittcal NY post, bringing in stuff that will further stop any type of financial fulfillment to Queens. Is all Novemeber elections.

Unsure what hours Shitton Silver has, but try to wakup in the back stretch unaccompied at 2.30am knowing that tomorrow has never come. Do any of them have family's that they
wake up to, like racing people !!!!!

We have a past the post. let it ride as we have had racing meetings and told that our future is sucure.

All you pols and media pissoff or pay our bills

Anonymous said...

Off topic, back to the sport for a moment, now there are two runners that were knocked off the Derby Trail in the Holy Bull, with similar hard bone injuries.

Could it possibly be because the surface was a rock hard super highway that day?

In this day and age when safety has become such a visible issue and speed figures have eliminated any relevance of raw time, wtf do these tracks insist on speeding up the track on big race days. They are not impressing anyone.

El Angelo said...

Now that's a much more interesting topic (sorry, casino afficianados). Great question. I attributed Winslow Homer's injury to him being by the perpetually unsound Unbridled's Song, but you may be on to something.

jk said...

The Daily News is ripping Albany a new one over this deal. They also state money should not be wasted to prop up a dying horse racing industry.

Bad smell at Aqueduct: State's racetrack deal stinks worse than the stables


jk said...

He was for it before he was against it.

Paterson: AEG not my first choice for Aqueduct

10:00 AM, February 4, 2010 ι BRENDAN SCOTT

ALBANY – Gov. Paterson was again this morning running away from his decision to appoint the politically connected Aqueduct Entertainment Group to manage a lucrative “racino” operation planned for Queens.

Alan Mann said...

No, actually, he was against it before he was for it!

Anonymous said...

I have not seen any update on The Apple Blooson and whether Rachel and Zenyatta will finally meet.

Does anyone have any news?

Alan Mann said...

>>Does anyone have any news?

They are supposed to announce the race at a press conference early this afternoon, but Rachel will end up not making the race and will be retired.

El Angelo said...

Oaklawn is offering $5 million if both run. Like it.

Anonymous said...

Link to article on Apple BlossoM:

This is great news, even if in the end it does not happen. Great publicity for our sport.

Alan, I agree with you however that Rachel will probably not show up.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the allocation of the $5 million? I would hate to own either horse, finish second, and walk away with a bruised ego, a shit runner up purse and see millions wiped off the value of my mare.

What a dilemma for the owners.

However should they both run, my money would be on Zenyatta. I felt she should have won Horse of the Year.

El Angelo said...

The usual purse split would be $3m to the winner and $1.2m to the runner up. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see that made $3m/$1.5m, with the remaining $500k there to entice others to actually run against the two of them.

Anonymous said...

I agree a $3/1.5 million split would be appropriate for this unique race.

Lets hope this happens. I am looking forward to it already.

Anonymous said...

Delaware North has government contracts and more than 3,000 licenses in the United States. These contracts include NASA, the National Park Service, airport and sports contracts. Their Chairman has been appointed to committees and boards at the White House and he is the Chairman of the NHL.If there were issues, this wouldn't happen. This mafia connection is old news (50 years old) They were fully vetted the last time the contract was awarded and would have no issues with being approved. They are already licensed so that is a ridiculous comment. This is a company who owns a major league sports team, operates at national parks, owns 5 star resorts. Let's give them some credit.