The lease agreement for the development of a $4 billion casino complex at the Nassau Coliseum site has been invalidated by Supreme Court Judge Sarika Kapoor. The decision came after Las Vegas Sands had paid $241 million to Nassau County under the 99-year lease agreement. The judge declared that the Nassau County government’s approval of the lease agreement was invalid due to the failure of officials to meet open meetings and environmental laws requirements prior to entering the deal.
As a result, the lease agreement is now null and void, and the issue has been brought back to start. This leaves the Nassau County planning officials with the option to hold new hearings with the local legislature and vote again to have the proposal approved. The case was brought to court by Hofstra University, whose campus is located near the Nassau Coliseum facility. The University opposed the casino proposal, and the Supreme Court ruling represents a significant victory for the university.
Hofstra University president Susan Poser expressed appreciation for the court’s ruling and the granting of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs to the university incurred in connection with several of the claims. The lawsuit was filed in April 2023, claiming that the Nassau county planning officials and legal representatives failed to provide sufficient information about public meetings and environmental reviews before the voting procedure.
The court’s ruling has approved Hofstra’s allegations, recognizing the public’s right to participate in decision-making about the current redevelopment plan for the Nassau Hub. The ruling is seen as a victory for the community, as it will allow for planning that best contributes to the community’s thriving while protecting against environmental and other harms.
The decision comes amidst competition for the last casino license for a casino development in the downtown New York City area, including Long Island, Queens, and the northern suburbs. While the county has not officially commented yet, Las Vegas Sands has stated that the ruling will not deter them from proceeding with their proposal for an integrated resort and entertainment center at the Nassau Hub. The company is grateful for the response received from the Long Island community and will continue their outreach as they present their transformational project.