|(Click on image to enlarge) Photo By Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates|
The Mets’ owners want to roll the dice on building a Las Vegas-style casino next to Citi Field to recoup some of the $162 million for which team brass are still on the hook following the Bernie Madoff Ponzi-scheme debacle, plans obtained by The Post reveal.
While team owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz are still having trouble opening their tight pockets for high-priced free agents, that didn’t stop their development arm, Sterling Equities, from betting on a proposal that called for bringing a massive casino with gaming tables and slots, a 500-room, full-service hotel, 1.8 million square feet of retail and other amenities to the Willets Point development site in Queens.
The Southampton-based Shinnecock Indian Nation signed on to operate the casino, and the Wilpons and partners even offered the city $100 million for the 62-acre site, according to the development team’s proposal, which was first obtained by project opponents Willets Point United and NYC Park Advocates.
With live-dealer casino gambling currently illegal in New York, except on tribal lands, the Wilpons and partner Related Companies were awarded a consolation prize.
In June, the Bloomberg administration handed them 23 of the 62 acres of city-owned land they sought in the September 2011 casino proposal — most of which is now used for parking — to build a $3 billion retail and entertainment complex without a casino.
City officials pulled the casino from the Willets Point plan partly because they thought the government-approval process would take too long, sources said. However, a city spokesman declined to comment when asked if the city would push for a casino there if the state Legislature eventually backs it.
More from NYC Park Advocates and Willets Point United.
Basically, the City was and is willing to condemn Willets Point for parking lots.