Thursday, February 19, 2009

Big Announcement Teaser

This is what I have for you guys so far:

On Tuesday, February 24, at a public meeting at Town Hall at 10:30 AM, the Town of Hempstead will adopt the final scope for the environmental review of the Lighthouse Project.

More to follow...

10 comments:

  1. Excellent!

    Nick, do you think that a showing of support will help anything? If so, I will see if I can take the morning off and go. What do you think?

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  2. You're more than welcome to go, since it's a public hearing. We'll get more information tonight that will help all of us make that decision.

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  3. Hi Nick, I have my take on the Project below. Perhaps you can resolve some of my questions for me:Sir William

    ASKED, YET UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

    For several years now, we the fans, have been told that even if the Coliseum were sold out every night of the Islanders season, that Charles Wang would still lose money. The question begs to be answered “Why?” Now, several sources report that the management agreement that SMG holds is the culprit. So to start my quest for the truth, I ask:

    1) What exactly are the terms of the SMG management agreement?
    2) How long until this agreement expires?
    3) Can the County opt out of, or break this agreement?
    4) Just how much revenue are we talking about here?

    According to many reports, the Islanders do not profit from concessions or
    parking revenue. They do however, profit from merchandise sold at the Coliseum. This raises several more questions in my mind that need to be answered.

    1) So even if the Lighthouse Project is approved and built, the Islanders will still not receive any revenue from parking or concessions.
    2) In effect Charles Wang will still be losing money on the Islanders, no matter what the state of the Lighthouse Project.
    3) We are expected to take for granted that Mr. Wang will take the money that he makes from the land development and pour it back into the Islanders hockey team.
    4) The Islanders hockey team can never be a self-sustaining entity and will always require outside sources of income to operate.
    5) And we should take Mr. Wang at his word that the Islanders lose money every year. This from the same Charles Wang who’s accounting practices at Computer Associates were, shall we say, suspect.


    It has also been reported that the only way for the Coliseum to be renovated is with private capital. Mr. Wang, it seems, is only willing to provide these funds if he is granted the right to develop the land around the Coliseum. Mr. Wang’s plan to refurbish the Coliseum includes adding additional seating and more luxury suites. So I would like to know:

    1) Just how much money do the Islanders make from every luxury box?
    2) If Mr. Wang is willing to spend his own money to refurbish a publicly owned building, how enormous are the profits to be made by developing the land around the Coliseum? They must be staggering if one is to believe that Charles Wang is willing to continue to lose upwards of twenty million dollars per year on his hockey team by his own estimate.
    3) If the Coliseum itself, were simply refurbished would the Islanders generate enough revenue to stay in business? If not, why would anyone in his right mind continue to pour money into a losing business venture? Unless of course, there were bigger dollars to be made in the land deal.
    4) Is there a clause in the land development contract that forbids Mr. Wang from
    selling or moving the team? Will there be a bond posted?


    The Coliseum lease expires in 2015. What happens after that? Even if the Lighthouse Project is approved and started, what guarantee is there that the team will not be sold and moved anyway once the lease expires? If Charles Wang’s past business practices are any indicator, the residents of Nassau County should be very apprehensive. Consider this:

    1) Wang’s company, Computer Associates, was hauled into Federal Court and top executives went to jail for fraud. Wang himself escaped, however his former partners are claiming that they have new evidence that will implicate Wang.
    2) Now, in America, a man is considered innocent until proven guilty. There are several reasons that a person could be responsible for a crime, yet not convicted of it. Among them are poor investigative techniques, lack of prosecutorial skills, unfair rulings by the presiding Judge and outright juror ignorance of the law. All of these factors may lead to an acquittal. But it does not mean that the person is innocent of wrongdoing. Or that the person in question is honorable.
    3) Wang’s protégée and partner Sanjay Kumar is in Federal prison right now. Kumar once owned a piece of the Islanders with Wang. Kumar has always claimed that Wang set him up to take the fall and that Wang was responsible for the massive CA Fraud. Kumar claims that newly discovered evidence will exonerate him. Only time will tell.
    4) Wang paid that paragon of integrity Alphonse D’Amato almost 400,000 in consulting fees through his charity Smile Train and had him placed on the CA Board of Directors. According to Kumar, D’Amato was paid to use his influence to stonewall the government’s case against Wang. If I shook hands with D’Amato, I would count my fingers afterward.
    5) Is Charles Wang the man we should be trusting to develop the property around the Coliseum? Perhaps we should wait until his court cases are resolved.


    The Islanders have one of the lowest payrolls in the NHL. They also have one of the richest television contracts in the league and yet still we are told they are not a viable business enterprise unless supported by outside income. To sum up, according to Charles Wang, the Islanders hockey team is not a profitable business and the only way that they can stay in business is to be supported by the outside income of the Lighthouse Project. In effect, income from the Project will have to be poured back into the team in order for it to stay afloat. Without this Project the team will have to be sold, moved or folded.

    Sorry, folks. But I find all of this very disingenuous. On one hand we are told the contract with SMG is the problem and only the revenue from the Lighthouse can rectify that situation. Less than a month ago, when there was talk of the Islanders moving to Kansas City, several experts ventured their opinions that the Islanders could easily break their lease with the County and move whenever they choose to. If that’s the case, then why can’t the County break or renegotiate the contract with SMG and allow the Islanders to share in the parking and concessions revenue? Is that all it would take to turn the team into a profitable business and allow them to continue on the Island? Why can other teams in the NHL, with higher payrolls than the Islanders, make money? Why can’t Wang fix the Coliseum and then sign a favorable lease extension, so that his money would be paid back and he would eventually profit. Why does the future of our hockey team have to hinge upon developing this land?

    Because there are billions to be made from this deal. That’s why. And that’s why Wang and his cohorts are holding the Islanders hostage for a very favorable land deal that will make them untold dollars. All of this is a sham. Wang’s sole interest in the New York Islanders was and always will be, the money to be made in the real estate surrounding the Coliseum. All the rest is smoke and mirrors.

    In the interest of fairness, I ask that anyone who can refute anything that I have stated here, feel free to do so. In addition, anyone who can answer any of the questions I posed with hard facts, please feel free to do so.

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  4. Nick, I didn't know you started your own blog. My Josh Bailey question was posted on Point Blank today, so I am gearing up to support you big time. Ny Lighthouse news is good news as far as I am concerned. Keep up the good work Nick

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  5. Sir Wlliam, there should be no Wang bashing. The man has lost untold millions on the Isles so far. He has a right to make money on the real estate as well as the team. He is the Isles last hope. Let's only pray that the Lighhouse Project gets done.

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  6. Rich, And you have proof that Wang has lost millions. You've seen his books? And his accounting is way beyond reproach. Just ask Kumar.......SW

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  7. SW - thank you for your opinion. Keep reading my site, because I've written about some of your issues and have pieces in the works about others.

    I posted my Lighthouse-related email address everywhere on this site. Drop me a line if you'd ever like to engage in a Baumbach/Rieber style debate on the merits of the project.

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  8. I'm going to try to respond to Sir William's points, not all, but many of them.

    SW: 1) So even if the Lighthouse Project is approved and built, the Islanders will still not receive any revenue from parking or concessions.


    RESPONSE: Nick needs to clarify this, but my understanding is that if the Lighthouse is allowed to go through, the county will condemn the lease, and a new lease -- and either a new management company or a new deal with SMG -- will then be negotiated, presumably giving the Islanders what most other teams have.

    sw: In effect Charles Wang will still be losing money on the Islanders, no matter what the State of the Lighthouse Project.

    RESPONSE: That's correct.

    sw: We are expected to take for granted that Mr. Wang will take the money that he makes from
    the land development and pour it back into the Islanders hockey team.


    RESPONSE: Nobody is expecting all the money from the real estate development to be poured back into the Islanders. But it is expected that the Islanders will be a loss leader yet a key part of the entire development.

    SW: The Islanders hockey team can never be a self-sustaining entity and will always require
    outside sources of income to operate.

    RESPONSE: Yes, that's correct.


    SW: And we should take Mr. Wang at his word that the Islanders lose money every year. This

    from the same Charles Wang who’s accounting practices at Computer Associates were, shall we
    say, suspect.

    RESPONSE: I guess this is one of the "facts" to which you refer. It's not. It's a conspiracy theory.
    (BTW, are you a Yankee fan? Did you hope Steinbrenner would sell the team because he was a convicted felon?)

    SW: Just how much money do the Islanders make from every luxury box?

    RESPONSE: I don't know, why don't you try to find out? I love the way you ask questions and expect the supporters to go out and get the answers. Do your own work.

    SW: If Mr. Wang is willing to spend his own money to refurbish a publicly owned building,

    how enormous are the profits to be made by developing the land around the Coliseum? They
    must be staggering if one is to believe that Charles Wang is willing to continue to lose
    upwards of twenty million dollars per year on his hockey team by his own estimate.

    RESPONSE: I hope they're really big. I've seen areas where there aren't big profits to be made doing much of anything. Guess what? The tax base stinks and the areas are disasters. Would you like to live in such an area?

    SW: If the Coliseum itself, were simply refurbished would the Islanders generate enough
    revenue to stay in business? If not, why would anyone in his right mind continue to pour
    money into a losing business venture? Unless of course, there were bigger dollars to be
    made in the land deal.

    RESPONSE: Yes, we agree with this. This is not news.

    SW: Is there a clause in the land development contract that forbids Mr. Wang from
    selling or moving the team? Will there be a bond posted?

    RESPONSE: You can't put a clause in there that would prohibit from selling the team, but there will be a new lease, and it will be lengthy.

    Re: all the stuff about Wang and Kumar: All this cloak and dagger stuff about Wang is a lot of fun, I'm sure. Certainly, Sanjay Kumar is the first convicted felon I know of who ever blamed somebody else for his troubles.

    Your line about D'amato is very witty. It adds nothing to the conversation. I'm not wild about the guy either, but if every deal he was ever involved in were to shut down tomorrow, there'd be a lot of empty real estate.

    SW: Is Charles Wang the man we should be trusting to develop the property around the
    Coliseum? Perhaps we should wait until his court cases are resolved.

    RESPONSE: The Nassau County legislature approved this 16-2. If you think they should take another vote, why don't you contact your legislator and ask him or her to consider your arguments?

    Finally, as far as why Wang can't just fix the Coliseum: for the 3,000th time, that's not what Wang and Rexcorp bid, and that's not what anybody bid and that's not what the county wants. If your idea is so great, why didn't anybody bid it in the RFP?

    I think it's an exaggeration to say his sole interest is the real estate, but it is his primary interest. So was Millstein's. See a pattern here? A team in the suburbs with nothing but an arean and a TV deal is not competitive. Get over it. There have been plehty of opportunities for somebody to follow the business plan that you have laid out, and not one has pursued it.

    I think I've refuted your arguments, most of which are based on conspiracy theories or insinuations about Wang. What really undercuts your argument is that you are saying that condemning the lease and rebuilding the arena is a good business deal. Not a single person has tried to do that. If it's so great, why isn't anybody interested in it?

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  9. tigment ... 1 SW 0

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  10. Tig, I am hardly a beleiver in conspiracy theories, nor am I a Yankee fan.
    Sorry, but none of your arguements answered any of my questions.

    Your answer to the SMG lease is that it will be broken. So, why not break it now? What's holding things up?

    You also claim that the Islanders can't make money without outside support.
    How come other teams can?
    All we have is your misguided word on this. Do you have any solid proof of this?

    As for the Nassau Legislature, well thank God for them. Because Nassau County is in such great shape that it is going to begin laying off cops in April. Yes, they have really done us proud.I would love to see alist of donations that Wang or any of his shell corporations has made to any of these so called legislators. If it wern't for Newark, Nassau County would be the most corrupt political machine in the United States.

    All in all, Wang is just holding the Islanders hostage, so that he can get the rights to the land. Period.......SW

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