Las Vegas Sand's Nassau Hub casino project hits legal roadblock


Las Vegas Sands plans for the $4 billion casino resort plan at the Nassau Hub in Uniondale  — has hit another bump in the road.

A state appeals court has agreed with last month's lower court ruling that denies Nassau County and the Sands organization’s appeal of the decision, shutting down the request for the court to grant a stay, which would allow the group to continue holding the rights to the county-owned property, and both  aides would have to start the process over.

“We are pleased that the courts continue to uphold the public’s rights to transparency and participation in these important decisions regarding the future use of the Nassau Hub,” said Adam Schuman, the attorney representing Hofstra University.

Sands officials were not pleased with the ruling, however they are optimistic that since they got the lease transfer passed once, they will have no issues doing it again, citing the vast amount of support for the project.

“If that’s the case, we will just repeat the process,” said Matthew Aracich — president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, who told the Herald last month he felt Kapoor's initial ruling was “odd."

But according to a poll by Newsday and Siena College, half of all residents are against the lease transfer and do not want a casino coming to the Nassau Hub — including Hofstra President Susan Poser, who has been one of the more prominent voices against the casino. She thinks we should be “advocating for the use of the Hub in ways that will best contribute to our thriving community, while protecting against environmental and other harms."

The Say No to the Casino Civic Association, who are vehemently opposed to the plans for a casino, at the hub believe "it is very clear that Nassau County violated Open Meetings Laws and skirted its responsibility to conduct a thorough environmental review," calling the way both the county and the Sands organization went about the process, "an obvious attempt to avoid public input and scrutiny."

"We are confident that after a fair and transparent process, it will be clear to both county legislators and residents of Nassau, that any lease transfer that would allow for a massive, and predatory casino in the heart of Nassau County should be voted down," civic association representatives said..

The decision, issued on Dec. 13, represents the most recent development in a continuously unfolding legal saga started by Hofstra with a lawsuit filed in April.

Last month, State Supreme Court Justice Sarika Kapoor ruled in agreement with Hofstra, saying the county Planning Commission had violated the state’s Open Meetings Law — agreeing with Hofstra that the county did not properly notify the public or properly review the development plan prior to the approved lease transfer of the Nassau Hub to the Sands organization back in June.Kapoor also ruled that the county legislature was wrong to forgo an extensive environmental review and ordered the entire process to start over from the very beginning.

“We will continue to move forward and not be deterred by minor distractions as we have the best application of any other area,” said Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, whose administration helped negotiate the lease with Sands earlier this year. “We are confident that the (state) licensing board will view the Sands application favorably.”

Shuman says if the county simply listened to what the court was saying, and were to conduct a proper public hearing and undertake the environmental review that it failed to do previously,” he said, then the county “can avoid further litigation.”

"It is time for County leadership to acknowledge that they did indeed violate such laws, end its wasteful appeal, and start over, this time following our laws and subjecting the lease to both public scrutiny and environmental review," concluded the say no civic association.