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The Mangano Gamble

April 19, 2011, 10:52 PM ET [ Comments]
Dee Karl
New York Islanders Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
While Garth Snow is busy making tough decisions on players, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano is making deals with the Shinnecock nation.

From April 18th Newsday article by Mark Harrington:

The Shinnecocks and the county are close to signing a memorandum of understanding that could lead to the tribe buying and developing approximately 40 acres of county-owned land for a casino adjacent to the Coliseum, people briefed on the plan said. At $2 million to $3 million an acre, a sale of 40 acres could net the county upward of $120 million, and also produce annual revenue to the county of up to $30 million, the source said.

While it is understandable that the county is in desperate need of funds, I can’t possibly imagine Kate Murray and residents of Garden City will be pleased with a casino in their yard, even if it does come with a convention center and additional hotel. Three words: Not a chance.

I also can’t see Mangano getting much political support for this deal when reports such as today’s story about a $7 million hiring spree after an announced county hiring freeze. Seems the many county employees were dismissed, but new “appointed” personnel are no on the payroll. According to the Newsday story

Nassau County has hired 113 full-time and 28 part-time and seasonal workers, at a cost of more than $7 million in salary and benefits, since County Executive Edward Mangano announced a hiring freeze on all but essential employees in December.

Is that a freeze or a bunch of favors? Which is it?

When I read the article this morning while sitting in the Nissan dealer waiting for my car, I could only hope for one thing “Please let this be a clever ploy by Mangano to make Kate Murray go begging Charles Wang for his Lighthouse project back.”

While grand in scale, there was certainly room for compromise, good jobs a sports medical facility and luxury apartments. The only “gambling” on the Lighthouse plan was the gamble Charles Wang would be taking to securing funding.

As fans, do we really want a casino next to the Islanders arena? Will we be fighting for parking spots with buses full of seniors with bags full of quarters? Does a casino really fit the “family entertainment” idea the NHL is trying to promote?

Gambling on hockey has been a hot topic for years, but what will happen when a hockey team and a casino share the same parking lot? Will a Saturday night giveaway be $2 chips for the poker tables?

No plan of Ed Mangano’s can succeed without Charles Wang’s approval as he owns the Marriot and eight additional acres on the property. I do not know if the Islanders are for or against this plan. However, as I believe Charles Wang is a very smart business man, I assume that while he has not spoken publicly of his plans for the Islanders beyond 2015, that he does have a back-up plan. I just can’t imagine it has anything to do with a casino. Or at least, I hope not.

Other Notes: It’s official, Michael Grabner is one of three nominees for the NHL Calder Trophy, no thanks to the NYC chapters of the PHWA. Also official is a new 10 year deal between the NHL and NBC/Versus for more money than the NHL has ever seen for TV rights. While Turner Broadcasting chose not to bid, putting their money into original programming, ESPN was in the mix to get the NHL back on their airwaves. ESPN would have never spent what NBC is willing to put up. This is a win-win situation. Although I can’t wait to hear what Charles Dolan has to say about this.

Ah yes, just another interesting day in the off-season in Islanders Country.
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