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ALBANY, N.Y. -- According to Albany Common Council President Carolyn McLaughlin, Flaum Management, the group behind the push to bring a casino to Albany, now hopes to build a casino in Rensselaer.
Four Las Vegas-style casinos are coming to New York State, and developer David Flaum hosted a meeting on April 16 to propose bringing one of the casinos to the city of Albany.
The company had partnered with Capital OTB on the proposed project called Project E-23. Developers hoped the project would bring millions of dollars and thousands of jobs to Albany. The proposed casino would be placed right off Exit 23.
Now, Flaum Management has shifted its efforts to Rensselaer instead of Albany. NYS Funding LLC released a statement Wednesday saying they will "no longer be pursuing a gaming facility license for the “E23” development site in Albany and instead will shift our efforts to the DeLaet’s Landing site in Rensselaer."
They refer to a review of the proposed E23 site and "significant land development constraints," as the root of their decision to shift their focus away from Albany.
City of Albany representatives say they are unhappy with the decision.
“We all knew this moment was coming. In our heart of hearts, we all knew we couldn’t trust David Flaum – no matter how many promises he was making us and how good they may have sounded. All those added jobs, gone. All that revenue to the City of Albany – gone. The sad thing is that no matter what we were being told, none of these things were ever going to happen. The E23 project is dead and Flaum has found a new, prettier site to move on to," said Albany Common Councilmember Judd Krasher.
According to Albany representatives, NYS Funding LLC promised the city several things besides a casino through what was called a 'community benefits agreement.' However, with a change in site, those promises are unfulfilled, according to officials.
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan says during the negotiations for a casino at exit 23, the group made numerous promises to help the community, like providing jobs to minorities and additional tax revenue. However, she says she has been warning those who are involved to be fully aware, that a promise is not a promise until it's in writing.
“They made a number of representations, which if achievable, would have been I think something that would have been very interesting for us to consider. But what we've learned today is that none of that was achievable,” she said.
Now, NYS Funding LLC has three weeks to put a proposal together and have it approved by June 30 -- something the company says its confident will happen.
“We’ve worked very hard over the last several months to secure a destination casino resort to create more good jobs and economic opportunity for the residents of Rensselaer. Our diligence has paid off. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bring a new vibrancy to our City, powered by construction jobs, permanent jobs and thousands of new customers for our local businesses. We are determined to make the most of this chance. We are very excited for our partnership with Global Gaming, David Flaum and Capital Off-Track Betting to help us win this opportunity for our community. Rensselaer has always had the best site, and now we have the best team to make a Rensselaer casino a reality,” said Rensselaer mayor Dan Dwyer.
The Rensselaer Common Council is expected to vote on a resolution at city hall on Wednesday night. The resolution would support a casino license for DeLaet’s Landing.
View the full statement from NYS Funding LLC below the comments section of this page.