After Las Vegas Sands had officially paid on 27 October 2023 an overall price of $241 million to Nassau County under the 99-year lease agreement to develop a $4 billion casino complex at the Nassau Coliseum site, Supreme Court Judge Sarika Kapoor invalidated the Nassau County government’s approval of the lease agreement on 9 November 2023 due to the failure of the officials involved to meet the open meetings and environmental laws requirements prior to entering the deal.
Lease Agreement Invalidated:
As New York Post reports, the lease agreement is now null and void. As a consequence, the issue has been brought back to start leaving the Nassau County planning officials an option to start new hearings with the local legislature and vote again to have the proposal approved. Supreme Court Judge Sarika Kapoor issued the decision in the case that included the plaintiff Hofstra University, whose campus is located in the immediate vicinity of the Nassau Coliseum facility. The University opposed the casino proposal and the Supreme Court ruling represents a big victory for the university, according to the source.
Hofstra University president Susan Poser reportedly commented: “We appreciate the court’s thoughtful ruling and the court’s granting of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs to Hofstra incurred in connection with several of the claims.”
Alleged Failure to Provide Sufficient Notice:
As reported by New York Post, Hofstra University filed the lawsuit in April 2023 claiming the alleged failure of the Nassau county planning officials and legal representatives to provide sufficient information about public meetings and environmental reviews before the voting procedure. The court’s ruling has approved Hofstra allegations. Poser reportedly said: “The court recognized the public’s right to participate in decision-making about the current redevelopment plan for the Nassau Hub. We look forward to contributing to the planning process and advocating for the use of the Hub in ways that will best contribute to our thriving community, while protecting against environmental and other harms.”
What the source calls ”the bombshell” comes just a few days after Mets owner Steve Cohen revealed his bid to construct a $8 billion casino and entertainment complex in Queens next to the City Field stadium. As reported, several giant casino operators are competing for the last casino license for a casino development in the downtown New York City area including Long Island, Queens, and the northern suburbs.
32-Page Judge Decision:
The source reports that judge Sarika Kapoor presented her opinion in 32 pages of the decision. She reportedly explained: “The respondents violated both the Open Meetings Law and SEQRA [State Environmental Quality Review Act] approving the lease transfer.” Nassau County has reportedly not come up with any official comments yet.
At the same time, New York Post reports that Sands stated that the ruling will not make them give up their plans: “Las Vegas Sands is proceeding proudly and enthusiastically with our proposal for an integrated resort and entertainment center at the Nassau Hub. We are grateful for the wonderful response we have received from the Long Island community and we will be continuing our very comprehensive outreach as we present this transformational project.”