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State Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D−Rockaway Beach) and the chairwoman of Community Board 10 said they were unimpressed after meeting Monday with the Buffalo−based company recommended by Gov. David Paterson to operate video lottery terminals at Aqueduct Race Track.
“The meeting, in my opinion, was less than productive,” said Betty Braton, the chairwoman of CB 10. “What was presented to us did not go anywhere near allaying the concerns of the community.”
But state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R−Glendale), who set up the meeting at his Howard Beach office between Delaware North, Pheffer, Braton and CB 10 District Manager Karyn Petersen, said while Delaware North did not have anything in writing for the meeting, the company had sent his office three pages of specifics the next day.
“It was a good meeting because they sent out their top officials,” Maltese said Tuesday. “We wanted more specifics so we could satisfy the community.”
Earlier this month Paterson recommended that Delaware North be chosen for the contract to operate 4,500 video lottery terminals – devices similar to slot machines – at Aqueduct. But critics contended the governor’s pick was motivated by the struggling economy because Delaware North’s bid included the largest upfront payment of $370 million out of three bidders.
Braton said the community board has had contact with the two other bidders – SL Green and Capital Play – for about a year while Delaware North first reached out to CB 10 in September.
Delaware North’s bid includes plans for a Las Vegas−style buffet, a hotel and conference center and either a steakhouse or Japanese restaurant in addition to 4,500 VLTs, but those who attended the meeting said the company did not produce any plans in writing.
“They came with the picture in the Daily News,” Pheffer said, referring to a rendering of Aqueduct. “All they did was give us a pretty picture, which we won’t accept as a presentation. We expected a little more substance, which we asked for all along. If they had a vision, they didn’t project it.”
“We must have their views put down on paper,” Pheffer said. “We want to know the impact on the community. We don’t know what these people feel.”
But Maltese said the drawing depicted the “entire front and plan of Aqueduct” and he was satisfied that Delaware North got back to him with specifics.
“We have to take a look at it, digest it and discuss it,” he said.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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