Former Gov. David Paterson, left, and Nassau County Executive Bruce...

Former Gov. David Paterson, left, and Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, right, among others, applaud after Las Vegas Sands chairman and CEO Rob Goldstein signs the lease agreement for the Nassau Hub in Mineola on April 26. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Daily Point

Blakeman brother says he’s no Hub player

Dr. Miriam Adelson is the largest shareholder in the giant gambling company Las Vegas Sands, which is now involved in a fevered, high-stakes competition to build a casino at the Nassau Hub.

She’s the widow of the billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who was for many years known as the national GOP’s leading campaign contributor. Miriam Adelson also heavily contributes, but not at the level of her late spouse, who died in 2021.

One high-profile political project that Sheldon Adelson backed financially in the days of the George W. Bush administration was Freedom’s Watch, which Adelson helped found. The president of this 501(c)(4) lobbying organization was Bradley A. Blakeman, a former deputy assistant for the Bush White House, who is also the younger brother of Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman — a leading pitch man for the Sands project.

In comments on social media, opponents of the Hub proposal are trying to raise the sibling relationship to spread the suspicion that the casino would amount to a big-money arrangement among connected players rather than a positive community development.

When reached for comment on Monday, Brad Blakeman, who has had various private consulting roles, indicated there’s nothing to make such a connection these days. He told The Point: “I have had no communication with the Sands or anyone about the Nassau location — no contact whatsoever.” Brad Blakeman added he has “no financial relationship or as a consultant whatsoever with Dr. Adelson.” He said he has not even conferred on the topic with his brother, the county executive.

Brad Blakeman, who was among those widely quoted eulogizing Adelson after his death, now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is associated with the Sillers Tunnel to Towers foundation, which supports survivors and families of victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Back in the early 2000s, the Adelson-backed Freedom’s Watch became best known for its advertisements for the extended U.S. military effort in Iraq.

Later, the Adelsons championed President Donald Trump and backed and reacted enthusiastically to his moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. As GOP megadonors, Miriam and Sheldon Adelson donated $180 million to Republican campaigns and political action committees in 2020.

One thing seems certain: As the Hub process evolves, no Republicans would attack Sands as a “woke corporation,” the Blakemans least of all.

— Dan Janison

Pencil Point

Going for woke

Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / Luckovich

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Final Point

Holiday bills in the Albany rush to adjourn

State Sen. Kevin Thomas, the first Indian American to serve in the chamber, has in the past backed legislation that would make Diwali, the most important Hindu holiday of the year, an official state school holiday, as well as two Muslim holidays and Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year.

With the Albany session due Thursday to adjourn for the summer, news of approval was still awaited. On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Thomas (D-Levittown) emailed The Point when asked for comment: “He is supportive and in the fight!”

Much of the action has been focused on New York City. Last October, Mayor Eric Adams declared support for state legislation that would make Diwali a school holiday in the city by eliminating Anniversary Day, or Brooklyn-Queens Day, which children have off in June.

Thomas has sponsored his own separate legislation this year that according to its text allows the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Diwali, Lunar New Year, and three other Indian holidays, to be “considered school holidays in districts where a sizable portion of students observe such religious or cultural days.”

But with several proposals pending before committees, it was still too soon to say which measures on the topic will succeed. Two weeks ago, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement: “It is important to recognize New York’s rich and diverse culture. Therefore, it is the intention of the Assembly to pass legislation to observe Lunar New Year and Diwali as holidays in New York State before the close of our legislative session. We will continue discussions with stakeholders as to how this affects the school year calendar.” The clock is still ticking away about whether there will be more official holiday celebrations.

— Dan Janison

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