Saturday, July 30, 2011

Shinnecock Roll Out Plans for Casino Development at Belmont Racetrack

Developers Roll Out Preliminary Plan for 
Casino At Belmont Racetrack

by Melissa Argueta

Senator Martins, Local Leaders Weigh in on Impact of Project to Nassau County Communities
Representatives from the Shinnecock Indian Nation recently gave Nassau County residents a sneak peek into a conceptual development plan for a casino at Belmont Racetrack during an Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development meeting held at the Elmont Library.
The tentative proposal calls to build a 500- to 600-unit hotel, a gaming facility and entertainment complex, which includes restaurants, a renovated Long Island Rail Road Station and a soccer field.
In a roundtable discussion at Anton Newspapers earlier this month, Senator Jack Martins advocated his support for the potential project as part of the Elmont revitalization initiative, and offered insight into how such a project could affect constituents living in the 7th Senatorial District.
Martins confirmed that the Shinnecock’s development proposal is not a done deal and still has to be approved on the state and federal levels. “Just because they announce that they are looking at Belmont, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. It may never happen, just because of all of the different hurdles that they have to overcome, but the fact that the Shinnecocks are willing to take on that possibility, let them go ahead and do it,” Martins said.
Last month, Martins met with officials at the Empire State Development Corporation to discuss the state’s commitment to move forward with the Belmont casino. Regardless of whether the proposed plan is approved, Martins said the Elmont community will still proceed with its own revitalization efforts.
“The reality is, the odds are against there being a casino there. But they [the Shinnecock Nation] know that, and they are willing to try, so let them try. In the meantime, my job as I see it is to work with the community, look at the state’s resources and see what’s available to move the process forward for their own visioning,” Martins said.
Sandra Smith, chairwoman of the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development, has had direct meetings with Shinnecock Nation and said the Elmont community has embraced the idea of a casino in the area. The Coalition reached out before the Shinnecock got federal recognition in an attempt to foster a smooth dialogue in the future, which Smith says is working quite well.
“From my standpoint, the community as a whole is accepting the idea,” she said.
Furthermore, Smith has had unending conversations with Martins about the proposed casino and that both have been working to remedy the idea of it coming to fruition. Smith, through the coalition, has held “revitalization meetings” concerning Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont and the Belmont property has been on the table for the last “four or five years.”
“We spoke about this idea a lot,” Smith said. “He’s for it and so am I. He’s been very supportive in helping shine the light on this to move the process forward. The coalition reached out to the Shinnecock Nation before they received federal recognition to show that Elmont was interested in having something at Belmont.”
Smith met with the New York Racing Association (NYRA) in recent weeks and addressed having a proposed casino on the south lot at the racetrack. She said at the meeting, she notified NYRA that the coalition has been discussing the plan with Shinnecock Nation.
In an effort to get additional feedback on the project, Smith said the Shinnecocks will be hosting a series of meet-and-greets with local residents. Earlier this month, approximately 60 people attended the first information session and asked Shinnecock developers questions about the plan.
“It was quite positive,” Smith said. “It was an opportunity to have a community to community meeting. Their representatives wanted to meet the people of Elmont and have an informal conversation.”
The construction project could generate anywhere from 5,500 to 12,000 jobs from white-collar to blue-collar positions, according to Smith.
“Belmont is part of the Triple Crown; it’s a world known brand,” Martins said. “Our effort is to try and incorporate Belmont into the local community to provide economic opportunities.”
According to Martins, New York State owns the Belmont property, which is located in Elmont. However, the backstretch portion of the land is situated in the Village of Floral Park. Mayor Tom Tweedy and other village residents have publicly raised concerns about the additional traffic that may be produced in the village and surrounding towns.
In his Mayor’s Message printed in the July 22 Floral Park Dispatch, Tweedy estimated that a proposed casino at Belmont could draw as many as 51,000 visitors per day, including gaming visitors, racing fans and Belmont employees.
“One need not be Nostradamus to know the impact this will have on our village, especially our police. This year’s Belmont Stakes alone had an attendance of 55,779. That day, the Floral Park Police Department worked a double-staffed shift with additional overlapping shifts to cover traffic and other public safety issues due to the large number of visitors and the nature of the day,” Tweedy wrote.
Martins maintained that the surrounding towns will not be impacted negatively by development. “If a casino becomes a viable possibility, it will be located in a way that it does not interfere with Floral Park or areas that don’t want to see that kind of activity,” he said.
Smith stressed that the representatives from the Shinnecock Nation will hold future meetings with Floral Park officials to discuss their concerns as well. She also emphasized that the plan proposes aiding Floral Park’s water and flooding problems by building a drainage area to pull out water from the backstretch area and using it instead for decorative purposes.
Rich Forestano contributed to this story.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Group Organized by Lobbyist for Detroit Syndicate Launching Pro-Gambling TV Show in Hawaii

Legalized Gambling Advocacy Group to Launch New Television Show
Citizens for a Better Way, a group that is pushing to legalize gambling in Hawaii, will launch a new television show on Olelo Television to educate citizens on its plan to build a standing casino in Waikiki.

The group, headed by Liz Watanabe, also launched a web site that highlights its plan.

Hawaii is one of only two states without any form of legalized gaming. Legislation to change that has been introduced over the last 12 years but always has failed. Legislation from last session is still alive and could be addressed again as early as January 2012.

Citizens for a Better Way is pushing for gambling as a new form of revenue for the state government. The plan includes a $1 million bidding fee for every casino company interested in winning the contract, a $150 million licensing fee and a 15 percent general excise tax on all transactions inside the casino.

The legislature, although looking for additional revenue sources, has been reluctant to legalize gaming, largely because of vocal public opposition.

Blogger's Note: After further investigation, it's clear that John Radcliffe, longtime lobbyist for labor and a Detroit gambling syndicate, conceived and created the so-called "grassroots" group Citizens for a Better Way. In truth, it is a for-profit limited liability company. Then Radcliffe hooked up with Liz Hata Watanabe, former owner of failed nightclub and restaurant operations with no sustained record running a financially successful business but rather an extremely poor track record with the Honolulu Liquor Commission. Just weeks from filing bankruptcy, Watanabe agrees to help Radcliffe out. And in April, they spend $40,000 on a campaign aimed at getting approvals for the Detroiters to operate a Waikiki casino. They won't document where they got the money from, nor who got the payments for "Advertising Media" expenses. Funny business for sure!

See also:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Citizens for a Better Way: "Grassroots" Group Fronting for Detroiters Behind Renewed Debate to Legalize Gambling in Hawaii

Radcliffe, Detroit Casino organize Community Front Group to push Gambling

By Andrew Walden
Liz Hata Watanabe is not one to sit on the sidelines. The former nightclub owner and entrepreneur has a new cause: getting Waikiki a casino.

Watanabe founded Citizens for a Better Way, an organization she says has more than 300 active members lobbying for a casino to provide new jobs and a new business for Hawaii….

She linked up with John Radcliffe, a lobbyist who has been pushing for a Hawaii casino for a decade. They met when Watanabe was doing a charity gambling-free poker tournament for her family charity, the Hata Foundation, which supports children and family organizations.

Citizens for a Better Way has also attracted the support of Jeff Coelho, a longtime broadcaster who will be retiring as general manager of Salem Media Hawaii and was an adviser to former Mayor Mufi Hannemann….

Radcliffe works with Marketing Resource Group of Lansing, Mich. It works with a Detroit casino whose investors would be interested in bidding on a Waikiki casino, Radcliffe said.

"I am sure if given the opportunity, they would want to compete for a license," he said.

Under a bill proposed this year, potential casino operators would first have to put down a large fee for the right to make a bid on a casino license. The bidding would be handled by a specially appointed state board.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Entrepreneurs get rolling on Waikiki casino idea

Most interesting Comment: “Borreca stays in the shallow end of the pool once again. Major players? Liz is consistent: 100% track record of failure. With all of biographical info he puffed her up with, why omit an important fact -- her bankruptcy filing in June, 2011, which details her train wrecks and the $300,000 plus she stiffed her creditors for. She is a success only at self-promotion which you and others facilitate at the expense of reality. Coelho was an advisor to Mufi. More relevant was that he was the managing director for less than a year and eased over to Director of Customer Service. After three years with Salem, he is soon to be retired and moving to the Mainland. Whoever hires Radcliffe, though, gets something for the money -- newspaper space even if the stories are fantasies.”

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Ilitch has backed loosing sports teams and pizza, but casinos in Detroit? 10.09.06 ● Marian Ilitch #1 on "25 Most Powerful People" to Watch 2006” global gaming business o1.oo.o5 ● My Kingdom for a Casino Forbes 05.08.06 ● Big Lagoon’s casino dream awakens north coast journal 07.28.05 ● Shinnecocks launch legal claim to Hamptons land 06.16.05 ● Ilitch Plans to Expand Casino Empire 07.05.05 ● Ilitch outbids partners 04.14.05 ● Ilitch enmeshed in NY casino dispute 03.20.05 ● Marian Ilitch, high roller 03.20.05 ● MGM Mirage to Decide on Offer for Casino in Detroit 04.16.05 ● Secret deal for MotorCity alleged 02.15.05 ● Los Coyotes get new developer 02.08.05 Detroit casino figure to finance Barstow project 07.07.03 ● Indian Band trying to put casino in Barstow 06.04.03 Pizza matriarch takes on casino roles 10.23.02 ● Vanderbilt gets short straw in negotiations for a casino Lansing Journal 10.06.02 ● Indians aim to drive family from tribe in vicious dispute san diego union tribune 04.09.00 ●Malik owns 2000 Michigan Quarter Horse of the Year 01.01.00 ● Detroit Team to run Michigan’s newest Indian casino 05.23.99 Tiger ties tangle Marian Ilitch 04.29.99 ● Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests 04.25.99 ● Partners’ cash revived election; They say money was crucial to Prop-E 04.25.99 Investors have troubled histories las vegas review journal 04.27.99 ● Investor served probation for domestic assault on 12 year old boy 04.25.99 Can a pair win a jackpot?: local men hope to... 03.17.97

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