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Westbury BOE Opposes Casino

The following letter was addressed to Joseph Cairo, president of the Nassau County OTB. A copy has been reprinted here.

On behalf of our many officials and residents of the Westbury School District community, we are opposed to both the selection and site of the proposed Nassau County OTB Casino on the former site of the Fortunoff Store at 1504 Old Country Road, Westbury, New York. [Read more...]

We Didn’t Ask To Become A Hub

I have lived in the Salisbury area of Westbury for 46 years and each year the traffic has gotten worse than the previous year. That said, the idea of a casino at the old Fortunoff building is the worst idea yet for the empty Fortunoff’s store and will greatly affect Nassau residents. Casinos may look like a quick fix for the NYS OTB fiscal bottom line but it will end up costing Nassau county and the residents of Carle Place, Westbury and Garden City more than anyone can imagine—not just in inconvenience but monetarily as well. We will all pay dearly for their decision (made without consulting residents around the site). The reasons were clearly delineated in the Jan. 7 article [“Residents Outraged Over Casino”] and I agree with all the sentiments expressed. [Read more...]

Dirty Deal

First Nassau County OTB witnesses the opening of the Meadowbrook Pointe community, the two Avalon rental communities, the newly opened Westbury Gallery shops and the now under construction, soon to be opened, Lifetime Fitness luxury gym, all elevating the neighborhood formerly occupised by the Roosevelt Racetrack, all of which are, or will be paying taxes to Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead. [Read more...]

OTB Mailer Address FAQ’s

Westbury and Carle Place residents received a mailer from Nassau County OTB on Jan. 13, addressing several concerns about the video lottery terminals poised to come to the former Fortunoff’s at the Source Mall. Below is a copy of the letter. 

Dear Resident,

There have been many questions raised about the proposed video lottery terminals (VLT) at the former Fortunoff site and a great deal of misinformation has circulated.
In order to present the facts, Nassau Regional Off Track Betting (NROTB) has prepared this mailing, which includes frequently asked questions and answers. We hope you will take a few moments to review this information. The New York State Gaming Commission, as established by law, is the sole agency with responsibility for providing oversight and approval of the proposed VLT facility. [Read more...]

Casino to The Rescue? Some Residents Say No Thanks

The news that Nassau Off Track Betting Corporation (OTB) has decided to go ahead in approving the vacant Fortunoff department store as the site for its slot style casino came as music to some people’s ears, and a disgusting and annoying noise to others. News of the corporation’s intent first came to some area residents’ attention via an email blast in mid-December from the office of Mayor Cavallaro, who also advised that it was his understanding that other areas in the county were also under consideration. However, we have since learned of the tremendous push back from residents of Plainview and Elmont/Belmont Park, (two of the proposed areas) voicing strong opposition to such plans, and no doubt played a role in the selection of Westbury as the path of least resistance. [Read more...]

Mario Cuomo and Westbury

 Thomas F. Liotti, Westbury Village Justice 

Much has been written about our beloved three-term Governor since his untimely death on New Year’s Day at the unripened age of 82. A sadness over his passing has gripped New York and much of the nation much as it was felt at the demises of F.D.R. and J.F.K..  Mario uplifted the Italian community, the nation and the world with progressive ideas, integrity, unrivaled intellect, courage and eloquence.  He was in essence a profound father figure to all; a model public servant. [Read more...]

Withhold The Decision Of The OTB Casino

The following letter was addressed to Joseph Cairo, president of the Nassau County OTB. The writers asked that the letter also be reprinted here:

Dear Mr. Cairo:

Recent media reports indicate that the Nassau County OTB has selected the former site of the Fortunoff store (1504 Old Country Road, Westbury) as the future site of the Nassau County OTB Casino.

As the elected representatives of the residents of the Carle Place Union Free School District, we strenuously object to both the selection of this site and the process by which site selection has moved forward.

The residents of our school district have witnessed an explosion in vehicular traffic in and around our neighborhoods with the enormous increase in retail establishments on the Old Country Road corridor. Our local roads can no longer safely handle the volume of traffic they currently bear. Adding to the hazardous conditions by encouraging thousands of additional visitors is an unsatisfactory decision.

Those of us in public service recognize our responsibility to clearly and regularly inform the members of our constituency of decisions likely to impact the public good. We respectfully request that you withhold your decision as to the placement of this gaming facility until such time as you have held public hearings relative to the impact such a facility will have on the surrounding neighborhoods.

Members of the public must have an opportunity to be heard on such a significant decision. Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to the favor of a reply.

The Carle Place Board of Education and Superintendent David J. Flatley


Related letters: 

A Letter to Nassau OTB

Kate Murray Addresses Casino Concerns  



Kate Murray Addresses Casino Concerns

The letter below was written by Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray to residents. 

The concerns that neighbors like you have expressed regarding the proposed Nassau OTB VLT (video lottery terminal) parlor at the former Westbury Fortunoff’s store location are serious.  I share many of the same concerns, and I am working, along with my colleagues on the Hempstead Town Board, to learn more about this proposal that could impact homeowners in the vicinity of the Old Country Road property.  Based on what I already know, I oppose the proposed OTB facility at this site.

Clearly, issues such as increased traffic (including the prospect of bus traffic), parking, impacts on natural resources and municipal services (water, sewage, garbage), as well as concerns relative to criminal activity, are topics that need to be thoroughly and carefully explored.

While I do oppose this proposal, I would like to dispel the notion that Hempstead Town has oversight, project approval power or any other jurisdiction over the planned project.  In fact, Nassau OTB is an agency created by New York State and, as such, falls under the authority of the New York State Gaming Commission.  Furthermore, an inaccurate claim that the state’s gaming commission is required to confer with the town on this VLT parlor proposal has caused confusion.  In fact, local government input is only provided for in circumstances where a casino referendum has failed.  As you may be aware, a New York State casino referendum was approved by voters last year.  As a result, Hempstead Town does not have an official role or a “seat at the table” with the gaming commission on this matter.  Despite these facts, I will remain aggressive in voicing my concerns and advocating for local neighbors.

Please be aware that the town will meet with Nassau OTB, state officials and others to learn more about this proposal and to express my reservations.

I would urge you to share your views on this matter with other officials, and please feel free to call Nassau OTB directly at (516) 572-2828 or send e-mails to to share your concerns.  The aforementioned phone number is dedicated to this proposal.

Again, I thank everyone who has shared their thoughts with me on this issue, and I will continue to keep you updated on the matter.




A Letter To Nassau OTB

Joseph G. Cairo, Jr., President and CEO
Joseph Bentivegna, Director
Eric A. Harkin, Director
Frank DeStefano, Director
Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting Corp.
139 Liberty Avenue
Mineola, NY 11501

Dear Messrs. Cairo, Bentivegna, Harkin and DeStefano:

We are writing to express our profound concern regarding the announced plan of Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. (“OTB”) to open a casino with 1,000 video lottery terminals and gaming tables in the former Fortunoff building on Old Country Road in Westbury.

Although the proposed location is in the Town of Hempstead, we believe a casino placed there will adversely affect nearby residents of the Town of North Hempstead whom we represent. The proposed site is directly across the street from the North Hempstead community of Westbury (an incorporated village) and in very close proximity to the unincorporated North Hempstead communities of Carle Place and New Cassel.

In the first instance, we have serious questions about the lack of transparency in the process leading up to the selection of this site.

The openness and transparency required for such a large and significant project have clearly not been provided by OTB. The announcement of your plan was made during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day and reflected virtually no outreach to the community. A meaningful process providing for authentic community input and vigorous public discussion is an important safeguard for sound and responsible governmental decision-making. Our residents are entitled to – and frankly expect – no less from their public officials.

Unfortunately, the actions of OTB up to this point have failed this crucial test.

Under the present circumstances, we strongly believe that all negotiations towards acquisition of this property and placing a casino there should be suspended, pending implementation by OTB of a comprehensive process that will ensure much-needed community and public input.

In addition to the process, there are numerous substantive questions and community concerns that have been brought to our attention that OTB must address. We request that OTB begin at least with the following:

1. The residents of Carle Place, Westbury and New Cassel are entitled to an opportunity to have their concerns and questions heard by OTB and addressed in a public forum, before this project proceeds any further. We request that at least one such meeting be scheduled this month for our residents and their elected officials, at a location that can accommodate the many residents who would most certainly wish to attend and with sufficient notice to the public.

2. Many residents who live within walking distance of this proposed site, as well as in the broader community, have expressed their concern – and even fear – for their personal safety and security, and that of their families. This very real issue must be addressed openly and honestly by OTB. We are concerned that the already heavily-burdened (as a result of consolidation) Third Precinct of the Nassau County Police Department will face a “tipping point” in its ability to provide appropriate and timely response to neighborhood security concerns, as it focuses on the increased law-enforcement duties that result from a busy casino with prolonged hours of operation.

3. Many concerned citizens have told us that they believe that the immediately adjacent residential neighborhoods will be severely impacted by increased traffic and be turned into a high-traffic commuting corridor, as casino patrons come and go from the nearby Carle Place and Westbury LIRR stations and the Northern State Parkway (increasing traffic on Cherry Lane, Ellison Avenue, Post Avenue and adjacent residential streets).

We share these and our residents’ myriad other concerns regarding this proposal. Our constituents have called and written to us for our assistance in this matter because they understandably want to protect their most important investments – their homes – and the quality of life they wish to preserve and enhance.

We join numerous residents of the Town of North Hempstead in stating our strong opposition to placing a casino at this location. In the interests of fairness, openness and transparency, we are calling upon OTB to commit immediately to the suspension of this project and bring the entire process out into the light of day.

We thank you for your attention to this urgent and important issue.

Sincerely,                                                                                Sincerely,

Judi Bosworth                                                                        Viviana Russell

Supervisor                                                                               Council Member – District 1

Town of North Hempstead                                                   Town of North Hempstead


Our Violent World

By Tom Liotti

The recent murders of two police officers in New York City stands in contrast to the spirit of the season. While violence is endemic to law enforcement, rhetoric may also cultivate an atmosphere in which the mentally unstable, anarchists, terrorists and militants may use expressions of discontent to promote their agendas of hate. This then not only divides the city and nation, but brings us to the near point of revolution or a race war. [Read more...]