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Will Stewart casino pitch fly?

April 2nd, 2014

The Town of New Windsor and an Alabama gaming company are reportedly working on a 99-year lease of a large parcel of land adjacent to Stewart International Airport to be used for a casino, hotel and convention center.

Conversations are in the early stages.

The proposal was to be discussed at a Town Board work session on Monday and at the regular Town Board meeting tonight. Any agreement would be contingent on the Alabama company, Greenetrack, receiving a gaming license from New York State.

Greenetrack,which got its start in greyhound dog racing, reportedly is also interested in obtaining licensing for a casino in Sullivan County. There are at least a dozen proposals being made for casinos in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties.

The New York Post reported this week that Greenetrack president Luther “Nat” Winn Jr. is a member of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network board of directors and said Charlie King, a Sharpton associate, has been hired to push Greenetrack’s upstate casino proposals. King is a one-time executive director of the state Democratic Party.

Juanita Scarlett, a spokeswoman for Greenetrack, declined to provide details of the proposed New Windsor conversations, but confirmed that they are ongoing.

James Petro, New Windsor planning and zoning coordinator, said talks involve 140 acres of land near the airport. If the casino proposal is approved, it could result in as many as 1,500 to 2,000 jobs and could involve an apprentice program for workers from the City of Newburgh.

Jobs, or the need for them, are constantly discussed at City of Newburgh City Council meetings. The prospect of 1,500 to 2,000 jobs would be extremely tantalizing to New Windsor and its next-door neighbor.

The land lease itself would be very lucrative to New Windsor, Petro said.

Greenetrack reportedly is having problems at home even as it negotiates for an operation in New York State. Alabama State Troopers raided bingo operations at Greenetrack’s Eutaw, Ala., casino and three others Monday morning and seized machines under the order of State Attorney General Luther Strange.

Charlanna Spencer, who represents the casino, called the raids “political blackmail” and said that every other part of Greenetrack’s operations continue to function.

“The attempts of the Alabama attorney general to go after Greenetrack for legitimate gaming compelled us to suspend an aspect of our gaming in an abundance of caution,” Spencer said. “Such targeting by the attorney general is clearly a blatant political maneuver meant to undermine and damage our efforts to expand our operations into other states.”

By ALLAN GAUL
agaul@tcnewspapers.com

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