REPORT — Isles, County, Owe Each Other Money

Kevin Schultz

A report in Newsday released late last night details a possible squabble over money between the Islanders and County. The report states that the Islanders owe the County millions in back utility bills and revenue that the Islanders are required to share with the County, as the County receives a percentage of concessions, parking and advertising.

The county has written to Islanders senior vice president Michael Picker seeking payment of the monies twice in the past 12 months — in February 2012 and on Feb. 22 of this year, according to documents. The most recent letter, written by the county’s real estate office after Newsday asked about the bills, detailed two years of expenses that had not been paid. The unpaid bills include $607,502 in rent and more than $2.4 million in electric bills. In addition, the hockey team and SMG have not yet paid the county its share of concessions and parking revenue.

What’s not stated so clear and plainly in the title of the Newsday report (titled:”County says Islanders/SMG owe millions”) is that the County may also owe the Islanders money:

The letter states that Nassau may owe the Islanders and SMG for repairs the team has made to the county-owned Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders’ arena in Uniondale . But the letter to Picker, written by the county’s acting director of the Division of Real Estate Services, Michael J. Kelly, says the debts outpace anything the county might owe by at least $2 million.

Legis. David Denenberg (D- Merrick ) said that even beyond the repairs requiring reimbursement, the county may not have met its obligations under the lease, either, because some maintenance and repairs the county is responsible for have not been done at all.

So, the cap-floor Islanders are allegedly withholding some money they owe the County and the County, which is broke, may owe the Islanders money for repairs the team has done on the Coliseum.

But this all could be a moot point and totally pointless exercise because, unlike in the past, the County and team may be on good terms.

“There has never been a lapse in oversight of funds owed to the county,” Nevin said. “You must remember, this is a more fluid, cooperative relationship than you would have with a tenant.”