A rendering of the casino resort Las Vegas Sands Corp....

A rendering of the casino resort Las Vegas Sands Corp. proposes to build at the Nassau Hub. Credit: Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Despite Hofstra University's recent distractive legal posture on the Las Vegas Sands lease of the Nassau Hub property, it is crucial to emphasize the astounding engagement and public outcry for progress by more than 65,000 tradeswomen and tradesmen in our communities, a sentiment that cannot and must not be undermined by legal gimmicks.

Throughout the tiring, many-months-long process, more than 1,000 individuals devoted their time repeatedly, with some remaining patient for hours in packed halls, just to settle for a mere three minutes at the podium to advocate for a casino resort project that holds the promise of a better Long Island. These publicized hearings, extensively covered by the press, render Hofstra's claims of inadequate notice to be weak and incredulous.

Contrary to the case presented, Hofstra's active presence at these meetings speaks volumes. Members of its administrative team were not merely observers; they actively engaged in the hearings and lobbied legislators in private meetings at the same time.

The Hofstra case also misrepresents the state environmental review process. No one disputes the critical need for an environmental review of such a substantial and transformative project. Nassau County, however, holds no jurisdiction over this process. The Town of Hempstead was poised to initiate this review when the lawsuit stalled its progress. It is safe to assume that Hofstra’s legal team knows this but has developed a convenient blind spot when the process conflicts with their agenda, reflecting a blatant disregard for transparency and public interest.

On the other hand, messages delivered by grassroots supporters — including many from the labor movement, numerous chambers of commerce, business associations, nonprofit and community organizations, and local residents — resonated with legislators. Long Islanders continue to recognize the need to create local jobs that lead to middle-class careers that expand revenue streams and economic development in our region. Despite the illusion of concern around public discourse and local legislative processes, Hofstra's president, an attorney herself, understands she cannot stop this well-supported project, but she can try to delay it. This case uses the legal system to diminish the voice of the people and squanders taxpayer resources.

Near-unanimous support from the Nassau County Legislature in May reflects a strong belief that the Sands proposal will transform the nearly 80-acre parking lot into an integrated resort and entertainment center. Sands continues to engage with residents and business owners, seeking their valuable input. Advocates and community ambassadors have spent months amplifying awareness and fostering connections within Long Island's diverse fabric. Their combined efforts are building deep partnerships, growing community youth initiatives, and fostering a procurement pipeline that encompasses 1,200 local businesses. This project will be a financial shot in the arm for the entire region.

Sands represents an engine of transformative growth for our region, a need that resonates across both counties. This project offers an opportunity to partner with a world-class company eager to hire and train the Long Island workforce.

If Hofstra’s legal stunt requires Sands and Nassau County to begin the process again, those crowded halls at the legislative building will certainly produce more supporters than before, both in number and voice. Long Islanders continue to demonstrate an unwavering belief in this project that eclipses Hofstra's narrow, out-of-touch agenda. It's time to reclaim the narrative, ensuring that our strong and diverse communities’ triumph over these self-serving maneuvers, and steer Long Island toward a future built on shared prosperity and collective growth.

This guest essay reflects the views of Matthew Aracich, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau & Suffolk Counties.

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months