Hofstra University is suing the Nassau County Planning Commission over claims of violating the state's open meetings law by failing to give the public sufficient notice about a public hearing in March to consider the proposed $4 billion Las Vegas Sands casino for the Nassau Hub in Uniondale.
The university has also blamed the commission for denying the public the right to attend work sessions related to the transfer of the property lease for the casino’s development.
is vying to secure one of three downtown casino licenses that are up for grabs. Hofstra's suit represents the latest in a series of efforts to derail progress on the opening of the facility.
“We are asking that the Planning Commission commit to a fair and transparent process,” Hofstra University
spokeswoman Terry Coniglio said in a statement. “To this point, the Planning Commission’s hearing did not comply with the law, and we have been forced to ask the court to ensure that the public receives the information it deserves and a fair opportunity to be heard on this important matter.”
Hofstra University officials have raised stiff opposition to the build out of the casino near its own facilities from day one.
“We should be investing in opportunities to foster growth and development, not in an industry that can be dangerous to students and community members,” said the university's student government association in a recent letter.
spokesperson Christopher Boyle shrugged off the lawsuit.
“Hofstra University would be better off spending their students’ tuition on education rather than frivolous lawsuits,” Boyle said in a statement.
But Hofstra is not conceding without a fight. And they aren't the only ones. The Say No to the Casino Civic Association and the Nassau Coalition for Responsible Development have also joined in opposition to the transfer of the Nassau Coliseum lease to Sands.
Not all major stakeholders have opposed the casino, however, including Long Island University and Nassau Community College who hope to launch a hospitality management program with Sands. And the Uniondale Chamber of Commerce expects the casino's presence to shore up the local economy.
While observers suggest County Executive Bruce Blakeman is closing in on a deal for a potential lease transfer, he has stressed in the past the need to have “the support of the community, in order to move forward."
The County Legislature is expected to vote on the lease in the coming weeks.