1:00 pm: SNY Point Blank learned this morning (and tweeted) that Islanders owner Charles Wang and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano will provide “complete transparency” of their deal for a new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and surrounding property next week. With less than 45 days to go until the Aug. 1 referendum, and with the vultures circling, the release of the details will not be a moment too soon.
In the meantime – and we do mean “mean” – the Nassau Democratic Committee last night distributed an explosively critical email of Mangano last night to its constituents. In the email, first reported last night via Twitter by B.D. Gallof, the Democrats called the Republican Mangano a “liar.” Point Blank received a copy of the email this morning. In a prelude to the text of Randi Marshall’s recent Newsday story about the deal potentially costing taxpayers $58 annually, it reads:
After a year and a half of woeful mismanagement by the Mangano administration, it comes as no surprise to discover that Ed and his fellow Republicans are lying to us again.
Mangano has told us over and over that borrowing $400 million to revamp Nassau Coliseum won’t cost the taxpayers a dime — and now, of course, the head of the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Budget Review has come forward to call him on his lies.
The coliseum bond would add at least $58 to our tax bills every year for the next 30 years. Mangano says this cost would be offset by sales tax revenue from the new stadium, but that’s a risky assumption because, as “Field of Schemes” author Neil deMause explains, “1) you could just end up cannibalizing existing sales tax receipts and 2) there’s always the danger that if the economy slumps, sales tax receipts will go down, and then you end up having to dip into the general fund to make the bond payments.”
It’s not safe to make policy decisions based on wishful thinking. Nassau County needs leaders with their feet on the ground.
First it was the Republicans – in the Town of Hempstead, the Nassau Legislature and above – fiercely against the Lighthouse Project. Now the Democrats are pushing back on the Wangano Plan before the details have been revealed. Eleven years after purchasing the team, Wang is up against yet another fight to develop the Coliseum property and keep the Islanders in Nassau.
Besides a major public relations initiative from the Islanders and Mangano’s group between their next big announcement next week and the planned Aug. 1 referendum, it’s time for Wang to talk tough and back it up. He really might want to consider speaking with other counties, states (or provinces). He should not be shy about it – because almost everyone who has followed this saga for a decade will understand. Actually, Wang should have done it a long time ago.
Perhaps only when the New York Islanders have one skate out the door will all sides come together to keep the team where a dynasty and tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue were raised.