Happy first anniversary to us! We’re celebrating one year of The Point with today’s points:
- For OTB, covering your bets
- Trump's secrets hidden in Woodbury?
- Home is where the affordable rent is
The Point of No Return
We’re celebrating (OK, just a Carvel cake but . . .)
The five-year contracts granted to Suffolk Regional Off-Track Betting president Phil Nolan and vice president Anthony Pancella are unusual in many ways.
It’s not just that Suffolk OTB has never given such contracts; it’s also unusual for any patronage position to be tied to a contract in that way because it impedes the ability of future elected officials to pass out the plums to their chosen people.
Nolan, 66, is a Democrat, while Pancella, 55, is a Republican. The parties divide the Suffolk OTB jobs in a fairly friendly manner. The contracts also are seemingly unnecessary. Nolan says the two employees did not seek the pacts, which were signed in early 2015 and then voted on by the OTB board Thursday. If the board supports both men, why do they need contracts?
Here’s one answer. Suffolk OTB is trying to emerge from bankruptcy protection with the income from a casino in Islandia with 1,000 video lottery terminals, but that plan has been challenged in court. If OTB should go bust, the contracts make the two men creditors in any final bankruptcy settlement. They’d be owed not just past wages, but future ones, too. The contracts put them in line for their piece of whatever diminished payout creditors receive.
Nolan concedes this is so, but said he hadn’t thought about it until asked. He added, “If somebody wants to raise that issue, I’d be happy to sign that right away tomorrow.”
Bands of gold
Trump’s LI roots
Hidden deep in the public documents that news organizations are posting with exposes of the Trump Foundation is an odd little Long Island fact: The organization lists its working address as an office building in Woodbury.
For weeks, accusations have flown that Trump spent foundation money on his own expenses, as well as to make political contributions and to settle legal disputes.
This week, The Washington Post revealed a new and potentially damaging issue: The Trump Foundation appears to do business under a very limited EPTL charity designation, meaning it is governed by the New York Estates, Powers and Trusts Law. Such a designation would not allow the foundation to solicit contributions, as it may have been doing for at least 10 years.
As proof of the designation, the Post posted part of the Trump Foundation’s 2014 paperwork filed with the New York attorney general’s office that showed Woodbury as its home. Other stories about Trump have shown documents listing the Trump Foundation as being at 60 Crossways Park Drive West, an office building, in suite 301. That’s an outpost of the Manhattan-based WeiserMazars LLP accounting firm, and it pops up as the operating address of other foundations as well.
WeiserMazar is the firm listed on the foundation paperwork and frequently identified as Trump’s personal and business accountant, with a partner named Donald Bender handling the account. It’s not a huge firm, and Trump’s selection of it has been a fascination in the past with the business press. Now with Trump’s tax returns and foundation spending a major focus of the 2016 campaign, WeiserMazars is no longer enjoying its quiet suburban life.
Case in Point
Progress but still a pipe dream
Long Island seems to want to tackle the taboo topic of affordable housing, so the Long Island Association hosted a panel on Thursday aimed at millennials who would benefit most.
The Island isn’t quite there yet.
Both county executives were scheduled to talk about what’s being done to reimagine downtowns. But Suffolk’s Steve Bellone did not attend because of a scheduling conflict. Nassau’s Edward Mangano did show up, but repeatedly referenced Farmingdale’s new apartment complexes, where one-bedroom units start at $2,500.
Millennials in the audience quickly let him know that such hefty monthly rents just don’t cut it as affordable for singles. As projects such as the Ronkonkoma Hub and Wyandanch Rising go up, hopefully affordability will be reimagined as well.