Representatives of Hofstra University don’t think county officials should place a NY casino on land near its campus in Nassau County. Now, the school believes members of the Nassau County Planning Commission have violated the law by holding a secret meeting to discuss the possibility.
Hofstra University has filed a lawsuit against Nassau County over an alleged March meeting about a casino proposal for the Nassau Hub property, which is near university land. According to the suit, Hofstra believes the Planning Commission violated the law by holding a hearing that was not open to the public.
Comments surrounding Hofstra suing Nassau over NY casino
“The proposed transfer of the Nassau Coliseum lease to Las Vegas Sands needs to receive a full airing to the public, which the planning commission has failed to do,” said Adam Schuman, a lawyer that represents Hofstra.
The Planning Commission isn’t flinching. It believes the New York casino-related lawsuit is fatuous.
“Hofstra University would be better off spending their students’ tuition on education rather than frivolous lawsuits,” said Christopher Boyle, Nassau County Director of Communications.
But Susan Poser, President of Hofstra University, is concerned about the proposed project and the way Nassau County officials are handling the public land.
“It’s serious because this is an enormous tract of public land that they are considering essentially transferring to a private multi-national casino company,” Poser told ABC-7 News. “That’s of huge interest to the public whether they are for it or against it.”
New York has laws requiring open meetings by government agencies on most issues. It’s unclear how Boyle and the Nassau County Planning Commission believe the meeting in question, which occurred on March 2, was appropriate under the statute.
According to the Long Island News, Hofstra “cites concerns about increased traffic congestion, crime, and economic harm to local businesses” in its opposition to a casino near its campus.
$4 Billion Casino Proposal by Las Vegas Sands
The casino project in question is a proposed $4 billion casino and resort by Las Vegas Sands, which was first announced in January.
The Long Island resort/casino would be located on the former grounds of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum as well as Nassau Hub. That property is owned by the county. The total footprint is about 80 acres. The project has the support of former governor David Paterson. Any sale of land would need to be approved by the county, and a casino project would require approval from the county and the state.
Hofstra University, the largest private university on Long Island, is only a stone’s throw away from the proposed NY casino location. Mitchel Field, which hosts the Hofstra football team, is across the street from the property that would host the Las Vegas Sands casino and other proposed developments.
The Nassau County casino project by Las Vegas Sands is one of a handful of proposals to have emerged since New York opened an application phase earlier this year. By law, the state is allowed to issue gaming licenses for up to three casinos outside New York City.
According to the Las Vegas Sands, their proposed casino would represent only a sliver, perhaps just 10%, of the entire project on Long Island. The development would include multiple hotels, restaurants, an entertainment stage, a theater, gardens, and a large convention space.
Hofstra is not alone in its opposition to the casino in their backyard.
“We have Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center [in Nassau County], this is not the place for a casino,” Pearl Jacobs, a representative of Nostrand Gardens Civic Association told ABC-7 News. Nostrand is an organization that promotes the quality of life in Uniondale, which is home to Hofstra.
Las Vegas Sands Corporation is headquartered in Paradise, Nevada. It’s carved a niche in the gaming industry by concentrating on developing “integrated resorts.” That means the gamin component and resort component of the project is only a portion of the overall development. Other amenities like theaters, parks, pools, commercial real estate, and meeting spaces are also typically included.
The company has several properties in Macau and Singapore, but Las Vegas Sands does not currently own or operate a casino or resort in the United States. Previously, it owned the Sands Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, and other properties in North America that have been sold off or closed.
Las Vegas Sands is a public company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange as LVS.
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