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Opinion

Back to the future

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Fans file into the newly redesigned Coliseum as

Fans file into the newly redesigned Coliseum as Billy Joel performs at the re-opening of Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

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Breaking Point

Starting from scratch

Nassau County is getting ready to start over at the Hub.

County Executive Laura Curran’s decision Thursday not to give the Nassau Hub lease to developer Ed Blumenfeld has paved the way for the county to allow that lease to expire on Monday – and issue a new request for proposals seeking fresh ideas for most of the 77 acres surrounding Nassau Coliseum.

The county’s original tenant, Nassau Events Center Plaza, was once headed by developer Bruce Ratner. But Ratner is no longer involved, and in an out-of-court settlement, Blumenfeld received the right to propose a development plan.

Now, it won’t be that simple.

In a statement, Blumenfeld said, “County taxpayers will note that the latest failure to launch at the Hub sadly has history repeating itself.”

He said his company would now “consider all of its options.”

But a county source noted that Blumenfeld could still be involved in the future of the Hub.

“This does not preclude Mr. Blumenfeld from re-imagining a new Hub development plan that would fit in with the county executive’s vision,” the source told The Point.

But Blumenfeld might have a different plan in mind.

“There’s virtually not an attorney handling real estate who wouldn’t say this is going to the courthouse,” a source knowledgeable on Blumenfeld’s discussions said.

Nonetheless, the county’s decision to start anew isn’t really a surprise. Just 10 days ago, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment announced its decision to part ways with Blumenfeld, weeks after promising that the two companies had a “shared vision” for the Hub. And since no one can develop at the Hub without cooperation from BSE and its parent company, Onexim Sports & Entertainment, the county’s choice became far more obvious.

What isn’t so clear is what happens after Monday.

Randi F. Marshall

Reference Point

#ThrowbackThursday — A losing bet for decades

With legal sports betting on the horizon after the Supreme Court struck down a law banning gambling on sports events in most states, and New York politicians champing at the bit about being able to tax it, a trip down memory lane offers some perspective.

Once again, The Point dug into the archives of Newsday’s editorial board to find that past is prologue. We discovered a cartoon from this day 74 years ago — May 17, 1944. The topic was another statewide gambling movement and a duck named “Nassau Joe” offered, “Legalizing off-track betting would lower our state income tax.”

To which a thoroughbred in a stall responded, “Sure — it’s just plain horse sense.”

Or nonsense, as it turned out.

Betting on gambling to fill the public coffers so that taxes would go down has always been a losing proposition.

Michael Dobie

Talking Point

The Hempstead hustle

The election of two new members to the Hempstead school board Tuesday also signals a return to the action by a former member with a troubling past.

Carmen Ayala and Patricia Spleen, who defeated incumbents Maribel Touré and Gwendolyn Jackson, were backed by a community group called Hempstead for Hempstead. The organization was founded after Touré, part of a reform movement, was elected in 2014 with assistance from groups outside the school district. Hempstead for Hempstead has been working since then to get Touré and her allies off the board.

The public face of Hempstead for Hempstead is Thomas Parsley.

Parsley, a Hempstead High grad who won a board seat in 2003, was removed from the seat two years later when he was convicted of fourth-degree grand larceny and petty larceny: He stole a principal’s ATM card and withdrew $500.

In 2006, a former school consultant was convicted on charges related to his alleged bribing of Parsley while he was on the board. And in 2010, Parsley was convicted of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old boy and appears on the state sex offender registry as a Level 3 sex offender.

Hempstead insiders tell The Point that Parsley is aligned with majority board members LaMont Johnson, David Gates and Randy Stith. “Thomas Parsley has his hands on the power levels in Hempstead,” one of those insiders said.

Parsley is mentioned in a lawsuit against the district filed by former Hempstead superintendent Shimon Waronker, who was placed on administrative leave in January by the voting bloc of Johnson, Gates and Stith. The suit says, “Hempstead for Hempstead was founded by Thomas Parsley (according to him)” and claims that the group told Waronker that if he fired high school principal Stephen Strachan, which Waronker did last fall, “there would be ‘war.’ ” The board rehired Strachan after putting Waronker on leave.

Attorney Fred Brewington, who represents Waronker and supported Touré and other reformers, said of Parsley’s presence in school district matters, “He’s up to his neck. He’s actively involved in pushing issues . . . He’s in direct line with Gates and Stith and LaMont.”

In the Hempstead school district, even a convicted sex offender and thief can make the grade.

Michael Dobie

Columns