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Bidding for Belmont
The state’s new request for development proposals for Belmont Park property emerged just Monday and the competition is already revving up.
Two developers who bid on the original 2012 request for proposals that was canceled last year are likely to participate this time, too. Steven Krieger, a partner with The Engel Burman Group in Garden City, told The Point his firm would bid.
“We are going to put our best foot forward . . . and try to win this RFP,” Krieger said. “Competition is healthy and competition breeds good ideas.”
Krieger told The Point that he and his partners hadn’t yet met to determine what, exactly, they would suggest for the property. The firm’s previous submission included a supermarket, retail space, restaurants, a public athletic field and a community center.
“We don’t have a hockey team, but we try to give the community what they want,” Krieger said.
Meanwhile, Syosset developer Ed Blumenfeld, who previously proposed a Costco, along with additional retail space, restaurants and parks for the Belmont land, told The Point he still has to study the proposal, but “most likely we’ll respond with what is needed by the community.”
No word yet from any other interested participants, including the most prominent likely bidder, the New York Islanders, who even before the request for proposals was released had prepared renderings of a hockey arena and other development for Belmont.
So the quest for a new arena continues. After all, Tuesday marks six years since the failure of a public referendum to build a new Nassau Coliseum for the Islanders.
Randi F. Marshall
Lawyers in the room
When Nassau County Attorney Carnell Foskey was compelled to attend a meeting with the Nassau Interim Finance Authority under threat of sanctions and criminal charges last week, he brought plenty of lawyers with him. There were five: three county employees and two outside counsel — and not just any two of the thousands on Long Island, but two top-drawer, party-connected attorneys.
As always, longtime GOP favorite Peter Bee was on the clock as a labor law specialist. also there was Steven Leventhal, a GOP standby who once served as a party committeeman and for six years chaired the Nassau County Board of Ethics.
He wasn’t the only Leventhal in the room. Another GOP stalwart, Paul Leventhal, is a CPA and the brother of lawyer Leventhal. He was put on the NIFA board by former Republican State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
Asked about any potential conflict around having the siblings sit across the table from each other, the lawyer brother and former ethics official told The Point: “No, it’s not odd. There is no conflict of interest or ethics issue here because neither myself nor my brother has any personal matters before the board. There is no personal conflict of interest.”
But some NIFA board members grumbled in disagreement.
The NIFA board, which includes Paul Leventhal, is demanding that the county provide a “single discrete contract” of the labor deals with each of its five unions. Leventhal is being paid by the county, via spending approved by the NIFA board, to argue that the county has done the best it can.
Foskey reportedly had almost nothing to say as Bee and Leventhal did most of talking for Nassau.
Mooch on the loose
Oh, Long Island . . .
Long Island hasn’t been able to escape the national spotlight in the past week, and it’s increasingly feeling like the harsh glare of an interrogator’s fiercely directed lamp.
First, there was “The Mooch,” then there was President Donald Trump’s speech, and now there is the aftermath.
Monday night, “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah did a 5-minute-plus bit centered on Suffolk County. It started with Trump’s visit to Brentwood Friday to talk about gang violence and law enforcement and moved to Suffolk County police officers applauding when he encouraged them to be physically harsh with suspects when putting them in “paddy wagons.” But it ended with Noah highlighting Suffolk’s favorite poster child for institutionalized police brutality, former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke, who is serving four years in federal prison for beating up a man who broke into his SUV in 2012.
Burke assaulted and threatened to kill Christopher Loeb after the opioid addict was accused of stealing a duffel bag full of sex toys and police equipment. A cover-up among other Suffolk officers ensued, suggesting an institutional problem. And the case went federal at least partially because the Suffolk County district attorney’s office, where Burke was for years the top investigator, never prosecuted.
After Trump’s speech and the audience response, the Suffolk County Police Department issued a statement that said, “We do not and will not tolerate roughing up prisoners.”
That won’t be as memorable as Noah’s sex toy-laced comedy . . . or the response of the Suffolk officers to Trump’s routine.