Wednesday, December 8, 2010

OTB Restructuring Fails Senate, Corp. Set To Close Tonight by Matthew Hampton - Forest Hills, NY Patch

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Closed OTB on Crossbay Blvd/Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park. Photo: Lost in the Ozone 
The restructuring bill that would have saved New York City's Off-Track Betting Parlors in the city was voted down in the senate Tuesday afternoon, possibly sealing the fate of up to 1,000 workers in New York City.
The rescue, which required 32 votes for passage, received 29 out of 50 votes in the senate on Tuesday afternoon.
The vote broke down almost perfectly along party lines, with State Sen. Frank Padavan, R-Bellerose, and Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga, the only Republicans who voted for the plan.
In and around Forest Hills, every local senator voted in favor of the restructuring.
State Sen. Toby-Ann Stavisky, D-Whitestone, voted yes on the restructuring plan, which was put together by Gov. David Paterson and passed the assembly earlier this year. State Sen. Joe Addabbo,D- Ozone Park, who spent much of his first term working to put together the Aqueduct revitalization, also voted yes on the restructuring. State Sen. Shirley Huntley, D-Jamaica, voted yes.
Stavisky said she was extremely disappointed in the vote because of the jobs which are likely to be immediately eliminated in the city.
"I was hoping to save the 800 jobs, quite frankly. This is not the time of the year when you tell 800 people goodbye," she said. "But it just continues the Republican pattern of voting 'no' on anything."
Stavisky added that in a state where horseracing used to be king, the repurcussions of the loss of off-track betting in New York City would be widely felt.
"This is going to have a statewide impact. Horsebreeders, farms, this affects way beyond the five boroughs," she said.
There were 10 senators who did not attend the vote, including several from New York City.
New York City Councilman David Greenfield, of Brooklyn, took to Twitter to register his frustration.

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Notice on Door of OTB at Ozone Park branch. Photo by - Lost in the Ozone 

New York State Senate rejects OTB bailout by three votes. It might have passed, but 10 Senators didn't even show up," Greenfield wrote.
Many in the chamber voiced their displeasure with the fact that there was no way to work with the state Assembly on a compromise bill, since the Senate went into extraordinary session alone.
A statement on NYC OTB's website stated that the corporation would begin closing processes effective immediately.
"Due to a lack of unrestricted funds to continue in business, NYC OTB will be ceasing all pari-mutuel wagering operations today, Tuesday, December 7, 2010 as per our Board of Directors vote, and will proceed to the orderly winding down of its business affairs," the statement read.
Three sites, including the OTB parlor in Forest Hills, will be open for six extra days, starting Dec. 8, to allow customers to cash out accounts.