On Tuesday, Hofstra University filed a lawsuit against the Nassau County Planning Commission in State Supreme Court in Mineola, claiming that the commission violated state open meeting laws.
According to Hofstra University’s allegations, the planning commission failed to properly notify the public of the lease transfer of the Nassau Coliseum to Las Vegas Sands before the meeting, conducted the meeting before lease negotiations were over, voted to close public comment too soon, and met secretly with Sands representatives.
A Meeting to Discuss the Transfer of the Lease for the Nassau Hub to Las Vegas Sands Was Kept Out of the Public Eye, Hofstra University Claims
On March 2, a meeting that included a public hearing to consider the future of Las Vegas Sands’ casino proposal at Nassau Hub was held. But according to Hofstra University, the commission violated the state’s open meeting laws. In a lawsuit filed against the commission on Tuesday, Hofstra University asks the court to void the meeting and mandate the commission to make materials related to the lease negotiations public at least a week before the hearing. A judge is yet to be assigned to the case.
Adam Schuman, an attorney for the university, said that the transfer of the lease at the Nassau Hub to Las Vegas Sands should receive a full public airing. The lawsuit comes just before the commission’s meeting, which is to take place this Thursday at 10 am. The planning commission has not voted on the lease negotiations yet.
Nassau County spokesman Christopher Boyle refrained from commenting on Hofstra University’s allegations but said that the school should spend their students’ tuition on education. Las Vegas Sands officials also did not comment on the university’s legal actions against them.
Why Las Vegas Sands’ Casino Project on Long Island Raises Controversy?
In January this year, Las Vegas Sands announced plans to build a multi-billion-dollar entertainment venue in the undeveloped area around Nassau Coliseum. The company signed an agreement with the site’s developer to lease the land and applied for a downstate New York gaming license. The new complex is projected to generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state and attract crowds of tourists to the area.
However, the casino project was opposed by many people, who voiced their concerns that the casino would bring traffic congestion and crime to the area. Besides, the proximity of a gambling establishment means that young people are more likely to develop gambling problems.
Hofstra University also opposed Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s plans to build a casino near its campus on Long Island. On the other hand, Long Island University and Nassau Community College backed the casino proposal, explaining that the complex would create sustainable job opportunities and develop academic programs in hospitality and culinary arts.