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Empire Claims Collusion Among NY Bidders
Meanwhile Empire Racing Associates "has accused 2 of its competitors of secretly meeting to discuss a possible joint venture involving New York's thoroughbred franchise, which Empire contends violates state procurement rules involving collusion," reported bloodhorse.com. The Empire group claims "top officials from the New York Racing Association & Excelsior Racing Associates have met to discuss a plan in which Excelsior would run the gaming component of the franchise & NYRA, or a re-constituted NYRA group, would continue to oversee racing at Aqueduct, Belmont & Saratoga tracks". NYRA & Excelsior officials denied the accusations, contained in a letter to New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli & Richard Rifkin (who is advising Governor Eliot Spitzer on the franchise bidding process). Empire added the meetings "included Charles Hayward (NYRA president) & Richard Fields (a casino developer who is a partner with Excelsior)" & "called on the state officials to investigate the allegations". Australian-based Capital Play is the other group currently involved in the bidding process for the New York racing franchise.