May 16, 2024 3 min read

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Ethics Complaint Filed by Nassau College Teachers over $120K Lobbying

The complaint alleges Nassau Community College contracted a company that was lobbying for casinos and more funds for education, putting at risk the College's non-profit status

The expansion of casino gambling in New York captured the attention of major operators within the industry. The competition is fierce as there are only three downstate licenses up for grabs and many more operators that have already submitted plans and reaffirmed their intention to secure one of the coveted licenses.

Supporters of the proposed casino projects said that they would help boost tourism, generate tax revenue, create new jobs and in some cases even bring affordable housing and other public amenities. Opponents have raised concerns about the impact of casinos on local communities, as well as excessive gambling and harm.

The leading developer and operator of integrated resorts, Las Vegas Sands (LVS), is among the operators that have joined the race for a license in New York. Previously, the company confirmed its plans to pursue a casino license and revealed that it anticipates developing an integrated resort in Nassau County, using approximately 100 acres of land that includes the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

But while Sands’ effort faced opposition from Hofstra University, it reportedly enjoyed lobbying support from Nassau Community College (NCC). As reported by the New York Post, NCC teachers’ union voiced its opposition to lobbying efforts supported and paid for by the college. The teachers that opposed the effort filed an ethics complaint, over an alleged $120,000 paid by NCC to a lobbying firm that supported the Sands project.

A Substantial Conflict

The opponents of the project, members of the NCC Federation of Teachers, alleged that the College greenlighted a contract with Shenker, Russo & Clark that lobbied for Sands’ Nassau project in violation of the laws. In their complaint, the teachers said that the company was paid by the college to lobby for education funding but also lobby on behalf of “casinos.” Those actions, the lawsuit claims, put at risk the “non-profit” status of the NCC while demonstrating a “substantial conflict.”

According to the recent report, lobbying data from Shenker, Russo & Clark filed between November and January reveals that the firm lobbied for education funding and on behalf of “gaming-casinos.” However, a recent amendment to the records made on May 14 removed the wording “casinos” from the work the company is paid for by NCC.

Despite what appears to be a lobbying effort supported by NCC, as noted, Hofstra University, a private college in Nassau County, previously voiced its opposition against Sands’ project and even filed a lawsuit. The legal battle represented another hiccup for the company.

Yet, there’s likely enough time for the legal hurdles to be resolved, considering that there’s no imminent deadline for the awarding of each of the three casino licenses.

Journalist

Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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