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Pallone Statement on Monmouth Park

February 11, 2004
Press Release

"I would like to thank the members of the stakeholders committee and the Sports Authority for their efforts to address some of the concerns that I, along with Assemblymen Panter & Morgan and Senator Karcher have set forth. I'm particularly pleased that the Sports Authority agreed to hold a public forum later this month so local citizens could voice their opinions on the future of Monmouth Park. There should be an opportunity for subsequent public meetings as well.

"For the purposes of these public meetings, it's imperative that all relevant information, including any reports submitted to the authority or its members, be disclosed prior to a public meeting and be made available to the public. I believe this should also include the Lehman Brothers report recommending Monmouth Park be leased to private investors.

"I have said many times that any agreement to lease Monmouth Park should include provisions prohibiting residential or commercial development. The Sports Authority continues to develop land it owns in the vicinity of Monmouth Park. This piecemeal development for residential or commercial purposes should not continue until it is determined what amount of property is integral to the operation of the track.

"I have also stated in the past that the state and its taxpayers should receive more revenue under the lease agreement than it has received under public operation. It's equally important that the state receive the full benefit of any revenues resulting from video lottery terminals. Any proposal to make a payment to the track in lieu of allowing the lottery terminals is only satisfactory if it guarantees the purses necessary to ensure the viability of the track. It should only be temporary, and take into account the need for the installation of lottery terminals in the future depending on the actions of our neighboring states.

"Finally, it's imperative that all current park employees receive job protection and are guaranteed comparable wages and benefits.

"Again, I want to thank the Sports Authority for listening to my concerns and hope that we can continue to work together to ensure the public has a say in Monmouth Park's future."