A group of investors put together by New York Yankees owner
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) _ A group of investors put together by New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner met with the owners of Roosevelt Raceway Thursday to discuss purchasing the facility.
The raceway owners told the group that they would be willing to entertain an offer for the 174-acre facility, according to John Van Lindt, who heads up the Steinbrenner investor team and said his group wants to run the facility as a harness track.
″Their position was simple,″ said Van Lindt after the meeting. ″They want to make as much money as they can and they don’t care if they sell it to developers or to those like us who want to run it as a racetrack.″
Van Lindt, the former chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, characterized the one-hour meeting as ″a friendly get-acquainted session.″
″They appeared to have a sincere interest in working something out with us,″ Van Lindt said.
They told the group, however, that they were also talking to other people interested in purchasing the track, he said.
Van Lindt said that the Steinbrenner group will draw up a proposal and present it to the raceway ownership sometime after Labor Day.
The meeting, held in a conference room at the City Center in Manhattan, was attended by Steinbrenner, Van Lindt and attorneys for both sides.
In June, Roosevelt’s owners announced they were closing the 48-year-old track, contending they were losing too much money and attributed the loss in revenues to dwindling attendance due to competition from Off-Track Betting and the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J.
The owners bought the track with the help of $54 million in Hempstead Town tax-free bonds, which they must repay before they can dispose of the property.
The horsemen and unions have accused the owners of purchasing the track for a windfall profit in the eventual resale of the property.
Steinbrenner’s group announced two weeks ago that it wanted to purchase the track, pump improvement money into it and make it a premier harness racing track again.