For the Record Nassau's First Meeting With Wang

New York Islander Fan Central | 5/08/2009 06:49:00 PM |
Was in Newsday on 4/15/2002 after clinching the teams first playoff spot since 1994 when the County issued a Proclamation praising the club.

I do not have the link but courtesy of Islanders-Sound Tigers archives, here is the full article.

By Monte R. Young
Staff Writer

April 15, 2002

New York Islanders owner Charles Wang and Nassau County Executive
Thomas Suozzi held a 45-minute meeting today to discuss the fate of
the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, as both agreed the county
should have a new, first-class facility for the National Hockey
League team.

But with Nassau's massive fiscal problems, Suozzi admitted that the
county is in no financial shape to take on such an expensive project
that some say could cost as much as $200 million.

"If Nassau County is going to be the best it can be, then we should
have a world-class sporting facility," Suozzi said. "But it must be
done economically and done within a county master plan that includes
all parties."

Suozzi's comments came as he and Wang joined other county leaders in
celebrating the Islanders playoff berth this week. After the news
conference, Suozzi and several members of his staff, along with Wong (that's how his name was spelled by writer) and his senior vice president of operations for the Islanders and the Dragons Arena Football League team, Michael Picker, during a forty five minute discussion about the Nassau Coliseum.

"We are open to all the ideas about how we are going to go about
this," Wang said. "We know this great metropolitan area will
eventually have a new facility. Our focus is the playoff, we will
deal with tom on how best to go about this."

Islanders fans have long complained about the conditions at the aging
Nassau Coliseum. Meanwhile, SMG and Nassau County have had a long-
running dispute. Last year, then county comptroller Frederick Parola
said SMG owed the county $4 million in back rent and fees. SMG
maintained it is up to date on its payments after withholding
millions of dollars to pay for repairs to the old sports arena, which
the firms argued were the county's responsibility. Officials with the
Suozzi administration said they were not sure of the status of the
issue and SMG officials did not return calls for comment.

Still, Picker said that Wang has met with officials from SMG, the
Philadelphia company that manages the Nassau Coliseum, and "put
aside" a lawsuit against the Islander's prior owners.

The Philadelphia company and the Islanders have spent more than $2
million recently in upgrading the scoreboard, sprucing up the
exterior and renovating locker rooms and office space.

"We did what we had to do first, and that's build a solid hockey
team," Picker said. "We settled all lawsuits and complaints with SMG.
It's a county issue with SMG. It's a county building. We are a

Officials with SMG could not be reached for comment.

Wang's and Suozzi's meeting today was the first where they've
discussed the coliseum issue at any length.

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