Medford civic leaders and the Brookhaven Town Conservative Committee have sued Suffolk Off-Track Betting Corp. in an attempt to block a 1,000-terminal video gaming parlor in the hamlet.
The suit, filed Monday in state Supreme Court, says Suffolk OTB officials have failed to heed Brookhaven Town zoning regulations or obtain town officials' consent to build the casino on a Long Island Expressway service road east of state Route 112 in Medford. OTB officials plan to open the 98,000-square-foot video lottery terminal parlor next year.
The plaintiffs, including the Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organizations, the Medford Taxpayers and Civic Association, several residents, and the Conservative committee, seek a court order blocking construction of the facility in Medford or anywhere in Brookhaven.
The suit states that Suffolk OTB has shown "unbridled arrogance" and "declared that it is above the law and answerable only to itself" while pursuing the Medford site. The suit also alleges that Suffolk OTB and Brookhaven officials worked together last year to craft zoning laws paving the way for the facility.
"If the Medford casino was legal in the first place, there wouldn't have been the effort that was made in the summer to change Brookhaven zoning laws to make it legal," said Northport attorney Peter Creedon, who is representing the plaintiffs.
Creedon said the casino would bring with it disorderly conduct and excessive drinking.
"The law is crystal clear, that OTB casinos have to comply with local zoning and they have to submit to local codes, which is only common sense," Creedon said in an interview Tuesday. "We're talking about a bankrupt gambling company fumbling with the Pandora's box of a gaming casino."
Suffolk OTB president Phil Nolan declined to comment. He and Brookhaven officials have said the state law authorizing gaming facilities in Suffolk and Nassau counties exempted them from local zoning laws. And Nolan said last week OTB would not submit site plans to Brookhaven for an informal review and would deal "exclusively" with the state Gaming Commission.
Brookhaven Town Attorney Annette Eaderesto said the lawsuit's allegations were "misleading. . . . They're trying to allege a conspiracy, which just isn't true."
The town is not a defendant in the suit. The town board in January voted 6-0 to oppose the casino.
Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. withdrew plans for a casino in Westbury in the wake of vocal opposition by local residents. OTB officials there are seeking a new site.