CRITICISM OF THE WANGANO COLISEUM DEAL…It's not just for the Democrats anymore!

In the latest turn of events surrounding the Aug. 1 referendum for a new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, a key Republican has done an about-face and has put some surprising heat on the deal between Charles Wang and Republican Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.

Peter Schmitt, the Republican presiding officer of the County legislature, expressed cynicism over the deal in an article in Sunday’s Newsday. The news piece focuses on the revelation that the lease between Wang and Mangano will actually not be completed before the Aug. 1 vote, but it’s Schmitt’s criticism of the deal that’s an eye-opener.

“I don’t believe that the income, if I can call it that, will cover the debt,” Schmitt said of the projected revenues expected to be created by the proposed new arena in Nassau.

Schmitt also says voting on the Aug. 1 referendum is now based on a “conceptual” idea instead of a finalized lease agreement or specific plans for the arena. “Everything is all murky right now,” he says in the article.

Mangano has always had his fellow Republicans on his side with the Islanders’ arena deal. Now his own presiding officer is not acting like a team player.

The Islanders and Mangano need an effective final two weeks before the vote. The Newsday coverage of NIFA’s critical “fact sheet” and remarks earned front page promotion in Friday’s editions. A story detailing the financials if the Islanders left Nassau ran in Saturday’s less popular editions, and on page 16.

The last 14 days should be quite a battle. Count on the ratcheting up of the Islanders’ PR campaign on television and radio and in the newspapers and social media, and at least one special event.

Comments on the arena issue are welcomed.