Supreme Court invalidates lease, putting Sands’ $4B Nassau Casino project in limbo

Supreme Court invalidates lease, putting Sands’ $4B Nassau Casino project in limbo

Las Vegas Sands Corporation’s $4 billion Nassau Casino project faces uncertainty as the Supreme Court has invalidated the lease agreement, citing officials’ failure to meet open meetings and environmental laws requirements. Supreme Court Justice Sarika Kapoor has rendered the casino project null and void, despite the operator having already fulfilled the $241 million payment. Las Vegas Sands made the official payment on October 27, 2023, as part of the 99-year lease agreement with Nassau County for the development of a $4 billion casino complex at the Nassau Coliseum site.

In her 32-page decision, Judge Sarika Kapoor asserted that the respondents had breached both the Open Meetings Law and State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in approving the lease transfer. However, as of now, no official comment has been made on the ruling by Nassau County officials.

The judge's decision marked a major legal victory for plaintiff Hofstra University, which is situated in close proximity to the Nassau Coliseum facility. Hofstra University President Susan Poser expressed gratitude for the court's ruling as well as for awarding of reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred by the university in connection with several claims.

Susan Poser, President of Hofstra University, said, “We appreciate the court’s thoughtful ruling and the court’s granting of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs to Hofstra incurred in connection with several of the claims.”

Consequently, the issue has been reset, affording the county's planning officials the opportunity to instigate a renewed series of hearings at the local legislature. It will grant them the flexibility to conduct a fresh vote on the proposal, allowing for an all-inclusive reevaluation of the casino project's viability and addressing any concerns raised during the legal proceedings.

The decision, which has been terms as "the bombshell" by some market experts, follows Mets owner Steve Cohen's recent announcement of a proposed $8 billion casino & entertainment complex in Queens, close to the City Field stadium. A number of major casino operators are reportedly competing for the final casino license for developments in downtown part of the New York City (NYC), encompassing Queens, Long Island, and the northern suburbs.

In the meantime, Las Vegas Sands Corp. has declared that the court’s ruling wouldn’t deter it from pursuing their plans. The world-renowned casino operator stressed that it remains resolute and enthusiastic in advancing the proposed integrated resort & entertainment center at the Nassau Hub.

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