SBD/February 5, 2013/Facilities

Mets Owners Propose Casino Next To Citi Field To Recoup Cost From Ponzi Scheme

Wilpon (r) and Katz offered $100M for the 62-acre casino site
Mets Owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz “want to roll the dice on building a Las Vegas-style casino next to Citi Field to recoup some of the $162 million for which team brass are still on the hook following the Bernie Madoff Ponzi-scheme debacle,” according to Rich Calder of the N.Y. POST. While team owners are “still having trouble opening their tight pockets for high-priced free agents, that didn’t stop their development arm, Sterling Equities, from betting on a proposal that called for bringing a massive casino with gaming tables and slots, a 500-room, full-service hotel, 1.8 million square feet of retail and other amenities to the Willets Point development site in Queens.” The development team’s proposal showed that the Long Island-based Shinnecock Indian Nation “signed on to operate the casino, and the Wilpons and partners even offered the city $100 million for the 62-acre site.” Wilpon’s team has “lowered payroll to about $93 million this season, down from $143 million” in ‘11. The revelation that the Mets owners “want a casino comes as the state Legislature is considering a constitutional amendment to allow Las Vegas-style table gaming.” New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has “begun talking up a casino at Willets Point or Coney Island.” But sources said that city officials “pulled the casino from the Willets Point plan partly because they thought the government-approval process would take too long.” A city spokesperson “declined to comment when asked if the city would push for a casino there if the state Legislature eventually backs it.” An MLB spokesperson said the league would “need to get all of the details of the agreement." The spokesperson added that it would “ultimately be Commissioner Bud Selig’s call” (N.Y. POST, 2/5).
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