Lawyers In Love

It is costly.

There is one sure thing when sports owners decide to try and build a new venue. Lawyers will make money. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo with great fanfare got a shovel into the ground and that was the ceremonial start of building a New York Islanders ownership backed National Hockey League state-of-the-art hockey arena on state owned Belmont Racetrack property. But there is a lawsuit scheduled to be heard on December 6 that arena opponents have filed. The opponents claim you cannot give away state owned parkland and allow a private entity to build not only an arena but an arena village complete with other businesses. But the question that needs to be answered is this. Is that state land parkland? Does the state legislature have to pass a law that allows the construction? Belmont Park is a horse racing track with barns that house horses. It might look like parkland, but it may not be parkland. When the New York State Empire State Development agency put out its Request For Proposals in 2018 to develop the land, there was this clause. “No part of the Site is considered parkland that would require Legislative approval for alienation purposes.”

Meanwhile in the Los Angeles market, the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is running into opposition in his attempt to build a state-of-the-art basketball arena for his business. Ballmer and fellow NBA owner, the New York Knicks James Dolan, are battling. Dolan wants to stop Ballmer’s plan because Dolan owns the Forum arena which is about a mile from where Ballmer wants to set up shop. But Ballmer’s more immediate problem seems to be with the California Air Resources Board. The two sides have not reached a deal on environmental issues. There is one group happy about all the legal problems. The lawyers charging billable hours.

Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders
AP Photo: Chris O’Meara