New York Islander Fan Central | 5/15/2011 01:38:00 AM |

I'm sure after the Coliseum Press Conference you have a lot of questions.
NYIFC can provide the rough sketches and the landscape. This is a hockey blog, not a political blog.

NYIFC Overview:
As written in Pt One the contention/politics between both sides is as poor as you can imagine. Charles Wang stepped into a disaster. If Scott Rechler is not involved neither will his or RXR spending/development/borrowing ability.

Every local stadium/arena project came in hundreds of millions above original estimate.

Prudential Arena (New Jersey Devils)
Built: 2007
Estimated Cost: $310 million
Final Cost: $467.5 million
Public Financing: $311.5

Ed Mangno's administration in late January 2011 had NIFA take over administration of Nassau's finances here.

As of May 2nd, NIFA executive director, Evan Cohen, had the following: "County officials are telling vendors that they are not being paid because of NIFA's involvement in Nassau's finances."

NYIFC Comments:
So these are the people who are going to work together to approve this referendum after all that has transpired when it's this personal and vindictive? And that's IF these votes happen AND approval is given via public referendum AND somehow thirteen out of nineteen in legislature approve what the public approved?

Charles Wang must feel like a human hockey puck being slapped around between the Republicans and Democrats depending on what party is behind or against the latest Coliseum plan, now NIFA may go after Wang because this is a Mangano project?

About the only good news I can give you is NIFA has some of it's meetings at Charles Wang's Marriott Hotel next to the Coliseum as late as April 2011, they must know the Coliseum/Islander circumstances and what has transpired.

NIFA and Nassau Legislature, regardless of party must have some clue, this building at some point in the near future has to be replaced or given a massive renovation regardless of cost or politics?

First Things First:
The first question should be what is NIFA or Nassau Interim Finance Authority that will be the final word and ultimately approve or reject what Ed Mangano put up for referendum if it receives the public and Nassau Legislature support?

The picture (left) is from Peter's Schmidt's press conference (video below) about NIFA that barely stopped short of calling them criminals.

The Nassau County Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) was created by the New York State Legislature as a fiscal watchdog in June 2000, following Nassau County's fiscal crisis and $105 million bailout by New York State.

NIFA's primary responsibility is to monitor and oversee the County's finances, but it also has the power to issue bonds and notes for various purposes, including the refinancing of Nassau County's debt. The group also issues reports on the County's proposed and adopted budgets and multi-year financial plans.

The seven-member board is appointed by the Governor and has members recommended by the Senate Majority Leader, the Assembly Speaker and the State Comptroller.

NIFA Board Members:

1-Ronald A. Stack - Chairman and Director
Mr. Stack was appointed to the NIFA Board by Governor Pataki on June 27, 2000. He was reappointed as Chairman on November 6, 2008. His current term expires on December 31, 2012.

2-George J. Marlin - Director
Mr. Marlin was appointed to the NIFA Board by Governor Paterson upon the recommendation from the Majority Leader of the Senate on June 9, 2010. His current term expires on December 31, 2013.

3-Leonard D. Steinman - Director
Mr. Steinman was appointed to the NIFA Board by Governor Paterson on June 15, 2010. His current term expires on December 31, 2012.

4-Thomas W. Stokes - Director
Mr. Stokes was appointed to the NIFA Board by Governor Paterson on June 15, 2010. His current term expires on December 31, 2010.

5-Robert A. Wild - Director
Mr. Wild was appointed to the NIFA Board by Governor Paterson on June 15, 2010. His current term expires on December 31, 2010.

6-Christopher P. Wright - Director
Mr. Wright was appointed to the NIFA Board by Governor Spitzer upon the recommendation from NYS Comptroller DiNapoli on September 24, 2007. He was re-appointed, again on the recommendation of Comptroller DiNapoli, by Governor Paterson on June 15, 2010. His current term expires on December 31, 2013.

I can also write the NIFA website itself is about as outdated as the Professional Hockey Writers Association's and do not even update the profiles of the people appointed who's terms were due to expire in December 2010 but are still there, currently there are only six serving.

NYIFC Comments:
NIFA (above) ironically was formed because of former County Executive Republican, Tom Gulotta's financial mismanagement in the first place, while he did all he could to prevent any Coliseum proposal from getting done with his actions.

So obviously this committee has a heavy democratic tie to the Suozzi administration that lost to Ed Mangano, and now in January 2011 took over the County's finances because Mangano has picked up where Tom Gulotta left off in terms of financial management.

Mangano threatened a lawsuit at the time here because of the takeover and then there is long-time Majority Leader, Peter Schmitt (R) of Massapequa, who has accused the NIFA board members of having partisan Democratic sympathies despite a unanimous vote to take control of the county finances.

You cannot make this stuff up:

The Nassau County Legislature:
A majority out of this nineteen member legislature will have to approve an 8/1 election before a referendum vote can even happen. We have no idea when date that will be decided upon at this time.

No majority, game over before a voter referendum is even scheduled for 8/1, the fighting on the cost of that already has NIFA-Mangano's Nassau bickering.

Nassau County Legislature
Eleven Republicans/Eight Democrats.

For now let's identify those players in the legislature.
Kevan Abrahams Democrat
Robert Troiano Democrat
John Ciotti Republican
Denise Ford Republican
Joseph Scannell Democrat
Francis X. Becker, Jr. Republican
Howard Kopel Republican
Vincent Muscarella Republican
Richard Nicolello Republican
Judi Bosworth Democrat
Wayne H. Wink, Jr. Democrat
Peter J. Schmitt, presiding officer Republican
Norma L. Gonsalves Republican
Joseph V. Belesi Republican
Dennis Dunne, Sr. Republican
Judith Jacobs Democrat
Rose Marie Walker Republican
Diane Yatauro, minority leader Democrat
David Denenberg Democrat

1-If a majority of the Nassau County Legislature (11 vs 8 Republican advantage) approve an August 1st Vote it will be placed on the ballot.

2-If a referendum is approved by the voters on 8/1, then thirteen of those nineteen members must approve what the voters approved.

3-Finally there is NIFA with six members and one spot to be filled, it is unknown what constitutes approval from that group of six with one vacancy.

Many Islander fans outside the political process but with long memories may remember some of the legislature names over the years with their constant flip-flopping depending on whether a Republican or Democrat are the County Exec and what party backs the proposal for the Coliseum as they supported Wang/Rechler, Howard Milstein, Steven Gluckstern, Charles Koppelman or Bob Gutkowski.

Democrat Judy Jacobs in those days used to be pro Coliseum, blasting Republican Tom Gulotta, along with another old name, Democrat David Deneberg, who used to blast Republican inaction/TOH on the Coliseum issue. Jacobs dropped off the map during the Lighthouse for the most part, where will she stand now on a Coliseum vote if it requires democratic support vote for a Republican County Exec? Mr Denenberg is already playing blame game and wondering why public is now stuck with paying after Wang-Rechler would have with LH?

But for NIFA/Republican Nassau/Democratic Legislature, that's entirely how it's going so far. Combined with the usual this is not the time rhetoric we have been reading for twenty years as the Coliseum approaches it's 40th year?

Bottom Line:
It's about as absurd and rough as any New York Islander fan can expect who has followed this nightmare since the mid-90's as New York Islander owners came and went with their proposals.

Between lawsuits, scoreboard hoists, constructive eviction threats with Smg's deal until 2015 to run the Coliseum which Wang (and/or) Rechler paid 17m to manage starting in 2010 before Mangano came in, does anything ever happen?

The New York Islanders never seem to be priority, it's always political football, our fans (and owners) always placed in the middle.

Given what I have posted it's painfully obvious these folks are not going to work together because of party politics. Sound familiar?

I hope I'm wrong. Even if a referendum passed in a public vote as Charles Wang said during LH meetings, it's not a Suozzi Democtatic project or a Republican project.

Speculation On What Will happen:
I expect this to be rejected in 2011 but ultimately it will be the framework for what finally will be approved.

Nassau politicians cannot afford a vacated Coliseum in disrepair closed or tax dollars and jobs lost. NIFA knows that also.

You will get a ton of this is the end for the Islanders in Nassau articles when it is rejected, it will serve as what will force true pressure to get something approved like it has everywhere.

Charles Wang's hotel cannot move, it's his. The cable contract until 2030 is not relocating outside of NY area unless Dolan pays him near a billion dollars for everything to get that property and television contract bought out.

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