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Sunday, September 07, 2014

Ready to Rumble

Oral presentations by the casino applicants will take place on Monday and Tuesday in Albany.  The three Eastern Southern Tier applicants will lead things off on Monday morning, and the foursome competing for the Capital District license will take up after a lunch break.  Tuesday is a marathon that kicks off at 8AM, and we'll see all nine contenders for the two licenses in the Catskills/Hudson Valley region have their say; it's scheduled to wrap up at 6:40 PM.  I intend to watch as much of the proceedings on the webcast as I can, pretty much from start until either the finish or when I kill myself, whichever comes first.  I'll do a little tweeting to help keep my sanity (you can follow me by clicking on  the follow @alanLATG tab on the right), and will most likely have a few thoughts back here.

According to the official Protocol for the sessions, there won't be any badmouthing of rival bidders.

Applicants are instructed to limit their presentations to their own Applications. The Board will not entertain comments about other Applicants or submitted Applications.
That virtually eliminates the chance that there will be anything in the way of fun.  Power Point presentations were required to be submitted in advance to make sure there's no cheating in that regard.  The bidders - to be represented by "personnel qualified to competently and cogently respond to questions from the Board and expound upon the materials presented" - will get 45 minutes to present, and the Board 15 minutes to ask questions.  And then there are five minute breaks before the next session, which will give me time for a brief cold shower.

In an op-ed piece in the Times Herald-Record (limited free access), Sullivan County Legislature chairperson Scott Samuelson endorses the Mohegan Sun/Louis Cappelli proposal at the Concord. That could provide a boost for what I would consider to be the clear underdog against Empire Resorts' Adelaar project on adjacent land at the same site.  It was just in May that Samuelson was calling for both of the licenses for the region to be sited in his county....but that was before it was clear that Orange County was in play.  That caused Foxwoods to drop their plan for the old Grossinger's resort, leaving only the two bids at the Concord in play, surely a one-or-the-other proposition.

I'm a bit surprised to see Samuelson express a preference (though he does conclude with a reference to "both of Sullivan's extraordinary casino projects").  However, as we've mentioned before, the Mohegan proposal includes benefits throughout the county - a revival of Grossinger's and some commercial development in Monticello.  Samuelson calls it "a truly regional development that will invest in every corner of Sullivan County."

 - In case you missed it, you should check out the video of the sophomoric behavior of Governor Cuomo at Saturday's Labor Day parade in Manhattan, as he awkwardly ignored the immediate presence of his Democratic primary opponent Zephyr Teachout.

Labor Day Parade 9-6-14 ZT from John Kenny on Vimeo.

Mayor de Blasio, who helped to negotiate the deal by which the Working Families Party endorsed Cuomo over Teachout in exchange for the governor's support of a Democratic State Senate, doesn't come off so good here either.  And you'll also note the governor's personal protective goon, Joseph Percoco, inserting his ample frame between Ms. Teachout and the governor.  You have to love the way he kept a wary eye on her when she tried a different angle, and smoothly kept her blanketed like Ryan McDonagh on Claude Giroux.  I dunno, one might think that Cuomo would want Percoco to keep an extremely low profile considering that the reports of his efforts to extract supporting statements out of Moreland Commission members - even offering to write the text for them - is perhaps the most damning potential evidence of the kind of criminal obstruction of justice by the Cuomo Administration that was (more than) hinted at by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in his letter to the governor in July.

Later, when asked about the incident, the governor said: "I know she was at the parade, but I didn't get a chance to talk to her."  And yes, he said that with a straight face.

Cuomo Press Conf 9-6-14 Teachout from John Kenny on Vimeo.