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Nassau Community College teachers file ethics complaint over school’s $120K spent on casino lobbying

Nassau Community College’s teachers union slapped the varsity with an ethics complaint for doling out $120,000 to a lobbying agency backing a controversial casino venture, The Post has realized.

The NCC Federation of Teachers accused leaders on the public school of breaking the regulation when it accredited a contract for Shenker, Russo & Clark to again a proposal to construct a Sands casino at Nassau Coliseum.

“This is a clear violation of New York State Public Officers Law,” the union stated in its complaint, filed with the state Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government and obtained by The Post.

Nassau Community College’s teachers union has issued the school an ethics complaint for giving $120,000 to a lobbying firm that supports the Sands casino proposal at Nassau Coliseum.
Nassau Community College’s teachers union has issued the varsity an ethics complaint for giving $120,000 to a lobbying agency that helps the Sands casino proposal at Nassau Coliseum. Newsday through Getty Images

The deal, which paid the agency to foyer on “casinos” in addition to push for schooling funding, was an improper expenditure and “substantial conflict” that “may jeopardize” NCC’s “not-profit-status,” the complaint claims.

The group school is positioned subsequent to the Coliseum in Uniondale and the officers have publicly supported the venture, which is backed by Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and the Republican-led county legislature.

A trustee on NCC’s board – Long Island Federation of Labor president John Durso – is an enormous booster of the Sands Casino venture as a jobs generator.

Jerry Korthbluth, NCC’s vp, has referred to as the casino venture a “win-win for Nassau Community College.”

The casino lobbying comes as NCC has come under criticism for shutteringits dining hall for 11,000 college students, changing it with cellular meals vehicles.

A rendering of the proposed casino at Nassau Coliseum.
A rendering of the proposed casino at Nassau Coliseum.

NCC’s help for the Sands casino contrasts with Hofstra University, the non-public school close by that has spearheaded opposition to the venture and has filed lawsuits which have briefly sidelined the plan.

The complaint stated the two-year lobbying contract with the agency coincided with backing for the venture by Blakeman and county lawmakers.

The complaint slammed NCC for “expending taxpayer dollars and the resources of a public institution of higher education to lobby for a casino and gaming corporation.”

NCC is closely reliant on county funding for its companies.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakemen backs the Nassau Coliseum casino project.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakemen backs the Nassau Coliseum casino venture. Stephen Yang

Lobbying information filed by SR&C and NCC from final November by January stated the agency lobbied on “Gaming-Casinos” in addition to for schooling funding.

But in an amended registration filed on May 14, the agency omitted “casinos” from its description of lobbying work for NCC.

The ethics and lobbying fee declined remark, saying confidentiality restrictions bar it from discussing any pending complaint or investigative matter.

But NCC could profit from a loophole that makes it exempt from scrutiny – at the very least by state ethics officers.

A 2021 advisory opinion by the ethics company decided that the Public Officers Law doesn’t cowl the actions of the State University of New York’s group schools, based mostly on a previous complaint involving a group school.

“Only SUNY Administration and the enumerated SUNY Institutions in Education Law – not its community colleges – should be deemed state agencies under Public Officers Law,” the opinion stated.

“Such an interpretation accords with the well established and long-standing treatment of SUNY community colleges as distinct from the SUNY system overall in the state’s education law, in federal and state case law, and by the SUNY system itself.”

Hofstra University opposes the Nassau casino proposal.
Hofstra University opposes the Nassau casino proposal. Las Vegas Sands Corporation

The opinion concluded that the fee doesn’t have jurisdiction.

“We are not aware of any complaint,” stated Richard Lauricella, COO & Chief Legislative Advisor at Shenker, Russo & Clarke.

The Post reached out to NCC, County Executive Blakeman and Sands for remark.

Numerous energy gamers are vying for as much as three casino licenses to function within the New York City space, though state regulators aren’t anticipated to present the inexperienced gentle to any earlier than 2025.

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