Labor Union Criticizes Hofstra’s Opposition to Long Island Casino

Posted on: December 5, 2023, 04:03h. 

Last updated on: December 5, 2023, 04:03h.

The leader of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau & Suffolk Counties criticized Hofstra University over its legal actions to oppose Las Vegas Sands’ casino hotel project at the site of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY.

Matthew Aracich
Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau & Suffolk Counties President Matthew Aracich in an interview. He said Hofstra’s efforts to prevent a Long Island casino goes against the will of the community. (Image: YouTube)

In a published op-ed on Newsday, Matthew Aracich, president of the council, called Hofstra’s arguments about public comments and backroom dealings on the casino issue “weak and incredulous.”

Last month, a New York State Supreme Court justice ruled that Nassau County’s lease transfer to Sands violated New York’s open meeting laws. Days later, the appellate division of the New York State Supreme Court put a hold on that ruling. Aracich noted that Hofstra representatives were present at many of the meetings at which locals made their voices heard on the casino resort issue.

Contrary to the case presented, Hofstra’s active presence at these meetings speaks volumes. Members of its administrative team were not merely observers; they actively engaged in the hearings and lobbied legislators in private meetings at the same time,” he wrote.

The Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau & Suffolk Counties represents 65,000 tradeswomen and tradesmen in Long Island.

Aracich Hits Hofstra on Environmental Review for Long Island Casino

Larger projects, such as new gaming venues, require comprehensive environmental reviews. Hofstra asserted that the process was skirted by Nassau County. However, Aracich noted that it’s the town of Hempstead that has purview over the environmental review. Its progress on that matter was stymied by the college’s legal posturing. These actions indicate Hofstra’s “blatant disregard for transparency and public interest,” according to the trades council boss.

Some legal experts believe that Hofstra is attempting to force Nassau County and Sands into a protracted legal battle, which could endanger the hopes of a Long Island casino. It’s taking the state of New York years to hear environmental law cases, and it’s possible state regulators will award the three downstate casino permits next year.

Sands, the largest casino operator by market value, previously said the legal maneuvering will not affect its bid and plans in Long Island.

Aracich added in the Newsday piece, “Sands represents an engine of transformative growth for our region, a need that resonates across both counties. This project offers an opportunity to partner with a world-class company eager to hire and train the Long Island workforce.”

Aracich Promises Community Will Fight Hofstra

Aracich concluded by saying that if Hofstra is successful in forcing Nassau County and Sands to start the process anew, the college will feel the weight of locals that want to see the project come to life. “Long Islanders continue to demonstrate an unwavering belief in this project that eclipses Hofstra’s narrow, out-of-touch agenda,” he concluded. “It’s time to reclaim the narrative, ensuring that our strong and diverse communities’ triumph over these self-serving maneuvers, and steer Long Island toward a future built on shared prosperity and collective growth.”

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