Items tagged with 'NYRA'

Shake up for horse racing in New York

horse in stable at saratoga race courseTwo important recent developments about horse racing in New York:

State takeover of NYRA
The Cuomo admin announced today (Monday) that Andrew Cuomo has signed the legislation that creates the "NYRA Reorganization Board" -- basically the committee that will carry out the three-year state takeover of NYRA, a plan that was announced this past spring. This is important because NYRA is the org that runs the Saratoga Race Course, Belmont, and Aqueduct. From the press release:

"New York State's racing industry is a major economic driver in the state, supporting thousands of jobs and attracting tourists from around the world," Governor Cuomo said. "New York taxpayers and the betting public deserve a racing industry that is managed competently and does not neglect the health and safety of the horses. The NYRA Reorganization Board will restore public trust, accountability, and transparency to the racing industry in our state, so New York can continue to offer one of the most exciting, enjoyable, safe horse racing experiences in the nation."

The reorganization board will have 17 members -- Cuomo gets to pick seven of them, the Senate and Assembly two each, and the current NYRA board five, with a chairperson nominated by Cuomo.

NYRA has been a scandal-plagued trainwreck for years, so it will be interesting to see if the state takeover smooths things out.

Horse safety
On Friday the Cuomo admin announced a series of reforms aimed at promoting the safety of horses racing on tracks in New York.

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NYRA placed under "temporary public control"

Horse 1.JPGAndrew Cuomo and the legislative leaders announced today that they've agreed to create a "NYRA Reorganization Board" that will place horse racing org under direct state control. From the press release:

The NYRA Reorganization Board will be comprised of a majority of publicly appointed directors, with a Chair nominated by the Governor. The Board will be in effect for 3 years to restructure and reorganize NYRA, following which NYRA will revert back to majority private control. The current NYRA Board will be dissolved. The NYRA Reorganization Board will go into effect when a majority of the new public directors are appointed. Once appointed, the new board will conduct a national search for a new CEO and General Counsel for NYRA.

The short story behind all this: NYRA has been a train wreck.

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Cuomo hands off Paterson investigation, movie theater planned for Troy, Porco conviction upheld, bizarre chase ends in tasering

Andrew Cuomo has handed off the investigation of the Paterson administration to former chief judge Judith Kaye. Cuomo said a "preliminary review" of the situation concluded "there are credible issues to be resolved." He said he was turning the investigation over to Kaye because of an "abundance of caution, or a zeal to ensure that the public has total confidence in the investigation." (The sharp drop in Cuomo's approval rating in a recent poll might also have had something to do with that.) Kaye has never worked as a prosecutor. She won't be paid to head up the investigation. [NYT] [TU] [Daily Politics] [NY Mag] [NYT] [Daily Politics]

The Paterson administration announced that the tentative agreement with AEG to run a racino at Aqueduct is now off the table. The deal would have paid the state $300 million and revenue from the racino would have helped fund NYRA -- including improvements at Saratoga. That has some now saying that this year's season at The Track could be in jeopardy. [NYT] [TU] [Saratogian] [Saratogian]

Testimony in the Steven Raucci trial yesterday focused an explosive device that attached to the door of a Rotterdam home in 2001. Prosecutors allege that Raucci planted the device in attempt to retaliate over a union matter -- but they say he put it on the wrong house. [Daily Gazette $] [TU]

The Saratoga County sheriff's deputy accused of forcing four women to perform sex acts on him while he was on duty took a plea bargain yesterday. The deal includes six months in jail and a resignation from the sheriff's department. He won't have to register as a sex offender. [Daily Gazette $] [CBS6] [WNYT] [Saratogian]

A $160 million development proposed for the Congress-Ferry corridor in Troy includes a movie theater. The city's planning board also gave the official OK to the new Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, which is now expected to open in August. [TU Places and Spaces] [Troy Record] [Fox23] [CapNews9]

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Paterson now snagged in Yankees ticket flap, new Troy city hall won't be cheap, Proctors expanding, cookies for Oscar

The state Commission on Public Integrity announced yesterday that it's asked prosecutors to look into whether David Paterson should be charged for giving false testimony during an ethics inquiry about Yankees World Series Tickets. The commission says it found:

"... there is reasonable cause to believe that Governor Paterson solicited, received and accepted an unlawful gift; and falsely testified under oath that he had always intended to pay for the tickets for his son and his son's friend when, in fact, the Governor's intention was to receive and accept the tickets without paying for them until a press inquiry caused him to submit a backdated check as payment for the tickets."

When asked yesterday whether he lied during the ethics investigation, Paterson said: "No." Paterson's story about how he ended up with the tickets has changed multiple times. In response to one of the Paterson administration's versions, the president of the Yankees told the NY Post the governor was "a liar." The Paterson aide who reportedly approached the Yankees: David Johnson. [NYS COPI] [TU] [NYT] [NY Post] [NYDN]

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio was in Scotia yesterday and told a gathering of Republicans that "the people of New York deserve better than what they've been getting." He also criticized Andrew Cuomo for "ducking and bobbing and weaving - avoiding taking positions." [CapNews9] [Daily Gazette $] [Fox23]

"Several hundred" people showed up for yesterday's state parks rally outside the Capitol. Jack McEneny said he's been getting more mail about the parks closures than all proposed budget cuts combined. [TU] [Troy Record]

The 12 jurors for the Steven Raucci case have been selected. Potential jurors were screened for their thoughts on firecrackers and the use of informants. As part of jury selection, potential witness lists surfaced -- and many current and former top officials for the Schenectady school district are on the lists. [TU] [Daily Gazette $] [WNYT] [Daily Gazette $]

Consultants for the City of Troy report that building a new city hall could cost somewhere between $21 million and $25.5 million. Here's a live blog transcript from last night's meeting. [TU] [City of Troy]

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Weekend of shootings, Victoria Pool on secondary closure list, college student killed on Thruway

Schenectady police say a man was shot five times and killed on Maple Ave in the Vale neighborhood early Saturday morning (map). It's Schenectady's first homicide of the year. The SPD says two officers were injured by a ricocheting bullet as the SWAT team executed a search warrant on the same street Sunday night -- one of the officers was reportedly saved by his bulletproof vest. Police aren't saying whether the warrant is connected to the earlier shooting. The SPD says eight people were detained. [Fox23] [CapNews9] [Daily Gazette $] [CBS6] [CapNews9] [TU]

Albany police say a man was shot four times while walking between apartment buildings near Tivoli Park in Albany Friday night (map). And a teen was shot in the leg Thursday night in south Albany (map). There were a total of five shootings last week in Albany. [WNYT] [TU] [WTEN]

The Victoria Pool, Grafton Lakes and Peebles Island are on a secondary list of state parks and facilities slated for closure, depending on whether the legislature allows the state parks office to use capital funds for operational costs. The planned closure of Thacher Park -- which was officially announced on Friday -- is expected to save $255,000. If the budget plan is approved (a big "if"), parks on the first list would start to close April 1. [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [AOA] [TU] [Troy Record]

David Paterson officially announced his gubernatorial candidacy Saturday on Long Island. In his speech, he tried to position himself as the anti-establishment candidate and said, "I've done more in my two years as governor that most governors have done in two terms." Perhaps a bad sign for the governor: getting more than 100 people to show up at a campaign stop is described as "beating expectations." [NYT] [Daily Politics] [NYO] [NYDN]

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Special election candidates fight over what's pork, SPAC director's salary in spotlight, man accused of threatening garbagmen with cleaver, new job for McNulty

The two major party candidates for the 20th Congressional District, Jim Tedisco and Scott Murphy, went back and forth at each other yesterday over the federal stimulus bill. The super condensed version -- Tedisco: it's pork; Murphy: no, it's not. Tedisco, who said this week that he would not have voted for the stimulus bill, also said he would have voted for it -- if he could have amended it. [CapNews9] [Troy Record]

Schenectady mayor Brian Stratton says he wants to fire five of the city's cops. The city hasn't successfully fired a cop since 1982. [Daily Gazette]

Organizers of the Dalai Lama's visit to Albany say the event will "change the face of Albany if the population of Albany embraces it and gets excited about and really understands the fortitude of something like this coming to this city..." The organizers of the visit are connected to a Clifton Park management training program that's been accused of being a cult. [TU]

Steven Raucci, the Schenectady School District employee accused of arson and terrorism, has filed an application for retirement. He's currently on suspension without pay. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

The salary for Marcia White, SPAC's executive director, is catching criticism after a survey revealed that the leaders of other local arts organization make much less. White was paid $244,865 in 2006. [Daily Gazette]

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State tax refunds a little slow this year, number of prostitution arrests up, accused horse stabber offered plea deal, clerk pleads guilty to ripping off city, there's a new Miss Limerick

The state Department of Taxation and Finance says state tax refunds have been a little slower to go out this year because it's screening refunds more carefully. [TU]

A deal between David Paterson and the leaders of the legislature is reportedly in the works that would kill the proposed taxes on soda, digital downloads and a bunch of other "fun" transactions. [Daily Politics]

The company that said it would run the racino at Aqueduct has told the state it now can't get financing to pay the contract fee. That means less revenue for the state -- and for less money for NYRA, which uses racino money to prop up racing at Saratoga and the state's other tracks. [NYT] [Saratogian]

Two unnamed sources tell the TU that an Albany police sergeant told Bethlehem cops to back off an APD detective the night the detective is accused of driving drunk from Albany into Delmar. The sergeant has been suspended, though the reason has been made public. [TU]

Apparently the Capital Region is a "fertile" area for prostitution -- and, in part as a result, arrests are up. [TU]

(there's more)

Budget drama in Troy, charges against Schenectady cops dismissed, Smith's leadership of Senate off to weird start, NYRA forecasts finish in the money

Troy mayor Harry Tutunjian has vetoed the 2009 budget passed by the city council. He says the council unlawfully shifted money into a contingency fund at the last moment. The council president says the shift was made to provide "oversight" of the contingency money. [TU] [Troy Record]

The Albany County legislature approved its 2009 budget, which includes a four percent tax increase. [TU]

A Schenectady County Court judge dismissed official misconduct charges against three Schenectady police officers yesterday. The trio had been charged with not turning on their patrol car's video camera and failing to fill out the proper paperwork following a DWI stop last December in which the suspect accused the officers of using excessive force. The officers have been on paid leave since then. [Daily Gazette]

A grand jury found that two Albany police officers were justified in firing their guns during a chase in September. Police say the suspect in the case pointed a gun at them. [TU]

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Cops crack down on another Albany HS brawl, NYRA bankruptcy ending, airport asks if you're experienced, Alive at Five alcohol ban proposed, something stinks at Yaddo

There was another throwdown among Albany High School students yesterday along Quail Street. The cops were waiting this time -- with pepper spray, batons and horses. It looked like a crazy scene. (AOA's gotten email from witnesses that this is the third time this week these fights have erupted.) So what's going on? "It's a little bit of everything," one teen told the TU. [CBS6] [CBS6] [TU]

It looks like NYRA will emerge from bankruptcy today. New York State will be giving the racing org $105 million in return for the deeds to the Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct tracks. [Saratogian] [TU]

There's a new color-coded security line set-up at the airport, with separate lanes for families, "casual" travelers and "expert" travelers. The sorting is supposed to help move people through the security line faster. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

Remember that big steroids investigation being prosecuted by David Soares and Albany County prosecutors? Seventeen people have pled guilty in that investigation, but yesterday a judge tossed the indictments of five people at the center of the drug ring. [TU]

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State budget still stuck, extreme fighting in NY?, potato gun cop, Saratoga seating lottery

The state budget is still not finished and it looks like today's legislative action (or lack thereof) will center around congestion pricing for New York City. [TU]

Extreme fighting -- or mixed martial arts -- has been banned in New York since 1997, but now there's a push at the capitol to repeal the ban. Said one legislator to the NY Post, "Initially, I thought it was gross. But I've learned that they are regulating themselves, so perhaps it's not as barbaric as it had been." Among the new safety regulations: no groin kicks. [NYP]

A Glenville cop has been charged with using a potato gun to shoot out a streetlight at department headquarters. He's also accused of setting a box of road flares on fire in the parking lot. [TU]

NYRA is opening applications today for the Saratoga seating lottery. [Daily Gazette]

A few of UAlbany's graduate programs ranked in the top 10 of their respective categories in U.S. News and World Report's annual rankings. [Business Review]

DNA testing for Menands body, cigarette tax increase, Ashcroft gets big crowd, teaching Arabic in Schenectady, a plan to stop to the phone books

Investigators say it could take two weeks for DNA testing to provide more info about the dismembered body found in Menands on Tuesday. They do know from an autopsy that it belonged to an African-American woman. [TU]

A state investigation has concluded that NYRA broke the law when it hired a firm to perform integrity reviews for $125,000 per month -- without bidding out the job. It doesn't look like there will be any consequences for the race track operator, though. [Saratogian]

It looks like that cigarette tax increase will go through. At $2.75-per-pack, New York will have the highest cigarette tax in the nation. [AP/Daily Gazette]

John Ashcroft drew a big crowd for his lecture at Skidmore. He seemed to welcome critical questions from students, "I'm in a target-rich environment. Take advantage of it." He also, seemingly by mistake, referred to Barack Obama as "Osama." And, unfortunately, he didn't serenade the crowd. [TU] [Saratogian] [Daily Gazette]

The Schenectady school district will start offering Arabic classes next year. [TU]

Saratoga Springs' school district proposed budget has been chopped by $1 million. Among the cuts: an expanded foreign language program. [Daily Gazette]

An Albany common councilman is pushing a measure that could possibly slow the barrage of phone books. [TU] (AOA item about how to stop the phone book deliveries)

State budget cuts proposed, Patersons talk about affairs, protest in Troy, water park illness

Governor Paterson has proposed a two percent cut at all state agencies plus another $800 million from the Spitzer budget proposal because of budget deficit concerns. [Daily Gazette]

Paterson and his wife addressed the story around their affairs. The governor says there were multiple women -- one of whom worked for the state. He also said the delay in him taking office was partially the result of him needing time to figure out how to address this issue. [NYT]

About 100 protesters showed up at Troy City Hall Tuesday evening to protest the code enforcement against the Sanctuary for Independent Media. The city says its enforcement action had nothing to do with the gallery showing Wafaa Bilal's "Virtual Jihadi." [Troy Record]

Hannaford says it's still trying to figure out the extent of the breach of its credit card processing system. Customers have apparently deluged the company with calls about the lapse. [Daily Gazette]

The Spitzer-to-Paterson changeover may have set things back in formalizing the NYRA deal. [Saratogian]

The Albany School District is thinking about plan that would ship at least some of its students on long-term suspension to a farm in Columbia County. [TU]

The state health department says it's gotten reports from 27 people that they suffered vomiting and diarrhea after visiting the Great Escape water park this past weekend. [CBS6]

Report: STAR backfired, NYRA has big plans, watch that purse, lions return to Saratoga, sodium chloride

The STAR program was supposed to help ease the property tax burden on homeowners, but a think tank reports that the program really just kept people from noticing how fast taxes were rising. New York now has the highest per capita property taxes in the country. [Saratogian]

NYRA's planning improvements at New York's three race tracks -- there's just some question as whether it will actually have the money to pursue them. The issue: the when, where and how for those video slot machines. [Troy Record]

East Greenbush cops say there have been a string of purse thefts in supermarkets and big-box discount stores. [Troy Record]

Saratoga Springs' commission of public works has big plans for the front of the city hall -- granite stairs, radiant heat, maybe a bell tower and... lions. [Daily Gazette]

Almost everything you ever wanted to know about road salt. And, yes, it is basically the same stuff that we put on french fries. [TU]

NYRA deal set, road salt supplies low, builder accused of fraud, free wi-fi for Saratoga?

The NYRA deal is set. The state legislature passed a bill yesterday approving it. [TU]

Hillary Clinton helped snag more than $340 million in Congressional "earmarks" last year for New York State, according to a watchdog group. That made her one of the Senate's top 10 earmarkers. [Washington Post]

Road crews around the region report that they're running low on road salt -- and deliveries aren't arriving as expected. [Daily Gazette]

A local luxury homebuilder has been accused of defrauding customers of more than $200,000. [Troy Record]

Saratoga Springs is looking at the possibility of building a free wi-fi network in the city. [Daily Gazette]

On the south side of Troy, residents say they like to keep real estate sales in the neighborhood, somewhat to the chagrin of real estate agents. [TU]

No run for Stratton, NYRA deal stuck again, the Gov's text messages, buried cars could be towed, Danes win on the road

Schenectady mayor Brian Stratton says he won't run for the Congressional seat that Mike McNulty is leaving at the end of this year. Stratton's dad, Sam, had held the seat before McNulty. [Daily Gazette]

NYRA's chairman says negotiations over the racing franchise are now going backward. The racing operator is threatening to stop racing at Aqueduct on Thursday -- and there's some fear the season at Saratoga may now be in jeopardy. [Saratogian]

The New York State archivist worries we're losing out on important historical items by not archiving the governor's emails and text messages. [TU]

Cars buried in snow on Schenectady streets can now be towed -- whether there's a snow emergency or not. A new ordinance allows the city to bring out "the hook" if a care isn't cleared after 48 hours. [Daily Gazette]

UAlbany topped Vermont last night 64-61 in Burlington. The men's hoops team is now 12-12 overall, 7-5 in the America East. [TU]

NYRA deal still not done, Salvation Army kettles empty, eBay buying back stolen state documents, a very wrong number, big win for Siena

The Spitzer budget people are now projecting lower tax revenue for 2008-2009, but NYRA's bailout is still in the mix. Or at least, it's in the mix if they can work out a deal to extend the racing franchise, which apparently they still have not. [TU]

The Salvation Army has closed one of its local soup kitchens after its red kettle holiday fund raising campaign fell short. [TU]

eBay has agreed to buy back -- and then return -- many of the historic documents stolen from the New York State archives. [AP/Troy Record]

When you think a "couple of plants," how many marijuana plants might that be? To a guy in Hudson it means, oh, say... 89 of them. [Capital News 9]

A group in Mechanicville recently took out a newspaper ad with the names of everyone it could find who owes back taxes to the city, including the city's attorney (apparently he owes $129). [Saratogian]

The toll-free New York State Smokers' Quit Line phone number starts with 866. The same number starting with 800 or 888 goes to a phone sex service. As one woman who dialed the wrong number told the Gazette, "I thought New York had a new answer on how to quit smoking." [Daily Gazette]

Siena topped Rider 80-77 yesterday on a last second shot by Josh Duell. The men's hoops team is now 16-8 and 11-3 in the MAAC, which is good enough for a first place tie with Rider. [TU]

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