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Islanders, SMG paid $4.4M to Nassau County in February

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Aug. 3, 2015.

Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Aug. 3, 2015. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Islanders and former Nassau Coliseum lease partner SMG paid off more than $4.4 million in arena-related debt to Nassau County in late February, nearly seven months after the arena lease expired.

The Islanders’ lease to play games at the Coliseum ended July 31, 2015. The team moved to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn before this season in October. County officials said on that final day of the Coliseum lease that the Islanders and SMG agreed to pay their debt — then tabulated to be $3.55 million — in unpaid rent, utilities, parking, concessions and revenue payments.

The payments, copies of which were obtained by Newsday through Freedom of Information Law request, show that the Islanders paid $500,000 on the final day of the Coliseum lease. The remaining debt was paid in February.

According to documents, the Islanders and SMG sent a check to Nassau for $4,248,843.77 on Feb. 25 and then the next day sent checks for $120,332 and $42,376.93.

A county accountant acknowledged receipt of the payments to the Islanders and SMG that same day, noting that the more than $4.3 million received by Nassau “constitutes payment of the outstanding obligations,” according to the documents.

County spokesman Brian Nevin said Thursday in a statement, “As of the expiration of the lease, the parties had an agreement regarding the parameters of what was owed to the County and once the final numbers, including utility expenses, concession and parking revenue, were tabulated a final payment was made.”

The Islanders did not return calls seeking comment.

The Islanders and SMG owed the county money for several years. But county officials said they withheld payment because the team was spending its own money on repairs of the Coliseum. In February 2015, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos recommended “collection action and legal action” to get the Islanders and SMG to pay their debt. The county first sent a letter to the Islanders about the accumulating debt in 2012.

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