Three members of a five-person panel
that will select where new private casinos will be built in New York state — a possibility
being Saratoga Springs — are now
The state Gaming Commission announced
in February that business expert
and policy advisor Paul Francis, Hofstra
University President Stuart Rabinowitz
and former New York City Comptroller Bill
Thompson joined the panel responsible for
selecting casino locations and operators in
upstate New York.
The members receive no compensation
other than expenses incurred in carrying out
their duties. The commission said they will
commence work right away and expect to
issue the Request for Applications in March.
An outside consultant to provide the members with analysis of the gaming industry and assist with the comprehensive review and evaluation of the applications will be selected in the very near future.
“These individuals have the expertise, objectivity and knowledge of New York state to evaluate the applications to operate destination resort casinos,” said Mark Gearan, chairman of the committee. “I thank them for their commitment to bringing much needed economic development, revenue and jobs to Upstate New York.”
An outside consultant to provide the Gaming Facility Location Board members with analysis of the gaming industry and assist with the comprehensive review and evaluation of the applications will be selected in the very near future.
Gearan said the timeline is:
• Request for Applications issued in March.
Francis is founder and managing partner of Cedar Street Group LLC and a business executive with more than 25 years of private sector experience and has served as a senior policy advisor and appointee under three consecutive governors. He currently serves as a distinguished senior fellow of the Guarini Center on Environmental and Land Use Law at NYU Law School.
He came to public service in 2007 as budget director for Gov. Eliot Spitzer after serving for two years as a policy adviser to the Spitzer campaign. In 2008, Spitzer made him director of state operations, overseeing all state agencies. He kept that post under Gov. David Paterson until stepping down at the conclusion of the 2008 session for the role of COO for Bloomberg L.P.’s Financial Products Division.
In December 2010, Gov. Andrew Cuomo named Francis the state director of Agency redesign and efficiency, a new post, and installed him as chairman of the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission (SAGE). He retired from state employment in 2013.
He graduated from Yale College and New York University School of Law in 1980 and worked for Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. He resides in Westchester County. “Mr. Francis’ distinguished experience in both the private and public sector is a commodity that is vital to the siting process,” said Gearan.
Rabinowitz is the eighth president of Hofstra University. Prior to his appointment, he served as dean of the Hofstra University School of Law. He joined the faculty of the school in 1972.
Rabinowitz has held positions with a number of government and community organizations, including the Judicial Advisory Council of the State of New York Unified Court System, County of Nassau. He currently serves as a member of the board of directors for the Long Island Association and as co-vice chairman of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council.
He has also served as a trustee of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities and on the board of directors of the Long Island Technology Network. He is a former member of the Nassau County Blue Ribbon Financial Review Panel, former chair of the Nassau County Local Advisory Board and a member of the Nassau County Commission on Government Revision, which was charged with drafting a new charter and a new form of government for the county.
He received a juris doctor, magna cum laude, from Columbia University School of Law, where he was a member of the board of editors of the Columbia Law Review and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. He graduated from the City College of New York with honors, and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the American Law Institute.
“Rabinowitz has long been a strong advocate for community interests in proposed casino siting plans, and he brings a valuable perspective to the board,” said Gearan. Thompson is chief administrative officer and senior managing director at Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. LLC. He was Comptroller for the City of New York from January 2002 to December 2009, where he was custodian and investment advisor to the $100 billion-plus New York City Pension Funds. He also worked with leaders of the financial services industry to reform the operations of the New York Stock Exchange and spearheaded the city’s innovative Banking Development District program.
He joined Siebert Brandford Shank & Company, LLC, the largest minority- and women-owned municipal bond underwriter in the country, in 2010.
Prior to his work as comptroller, he had served as Brooklyn deputy borough president and as a member and five-term president of the New York City Board of Education. Thompson brings to the board “a lifetime of demonstrated leadership and financial management experience that is essential,” said Gearan.
The board’s primary duty is to select not more than four gaming facility license applicants through a competitive process to be located in the Catskills/Hudson Valley Region, the Eastern Southern Tier and the Capital Region.
Gearan said in particular, the board will work with the Gaming Commission to develop the application form; determine a gaming facility license fee; develop the criteria to assess which applications provide the highest and best value to the state, zone and region; determine the sources and total amount of an applicant’s proposed capitalization to develop, construct, maintain and operate a proposed gaming facility; and issue detailed findings of facts and conclusions demonstrating the reasons supporting its decisions to select applicants.
“The requirements for appointment to the Gaming Facility Location Board are intentionally strict in order to ensure that only the best individuals are selected and that integrity is paramount throughout the entire siting process,” said Gearan. “These individuals meet or exceed the criteria set forth in the law, and we look forward to assisting them as they begin their important work.”
More information about the process of siting casinos in New York can be found at www.gaming.ny.gov.