New York State Sports & Entertainment Facilities Association

Looking to "jump ship" into a nice "retirement gig", Anthony J Picente, Jr sought to create a new New York State Authority. He would of course make a huge salary. It would be payable by fees, concession sales, parking receipts, and membership charges like the Utica Memorial Auditorium, who would pay $7,000 per year!

AJ would grab control of the Stanley Center For The Arts, the Oneida County Tourism cash flow, and the local "Friend & Family™" hired-in at The Mohawk Valley Garden would handle the marketing.

November 4, 2018 - Senator Joe Griffo sponsors legislation to rename the "Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority" to the "Oneida County Arts, Culture & Entertainment Authority". Lots of changes; new board makeup and what appears unlimited bonding powers...

Was this new "AUD" authority C. E. Picente's fallback concept? We see below, the Statewide effort seems to have collapsed.

June 18, 2018 - "They can get in, but they cannot get out!"...

June 18, 2018 - When will we see the Nexus funded? A casino, beer museum, and hops field? Was the Children's Museum going to be blended in too? Seems that AJ's "NYSSEFA" is belly-up before it got off the ground...

Their DRI dreams; mixed with Harbor Point, a new hospital, baseball stadium(s) with bridge ways designed for Google-controlled autonomous cars... is it all going to collapse only to have another Grill & Tavern? Was the stage being set for the Master's Plantation over in Bagg's Square as well?

Interesting reading, the AUDIT: 2016 Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial AUD, where we learn about poor financial practices as outlined by State Comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli.

January 13, 2016 - Per the Utica Observer-Dispatch, the NYS Public Authority that operates the Utica AUD has placed a purchase offer of $500,000 for the Washington Courts site, which runs along the railroad tracks in downtown Utica. The Utica AUD and Board of Directors is largely funded by New York State taxpayers by way of Albany. As the days unfold, you will see this purchase expand into plans that meet with the downtown hospital plans, that oddly have not yet been released. Can we honestly believe that the hospital board doesn't know of the plans and what they will look like? In the story, our County Executive shares his opinions- and as the new leader of a yet another new authority (the NYSSEFA) he's likely preparing to funnel more tax dollars into the plans. You might say this is a good use of taxes, but why can't the taxpayer be part of the plan? And truly, until you see their plans you cannot say these leaders are dealing fairly, can you?

January 7, 2016 - Should college and universities spend millions and billions of dollars on sport teams, coaches, infrastructure, and everything that it requires? Or should institutions focus on preparing students for careers and all of life’s challenges that lie ahead of them? One university president suggests the answer is “No” Drexel University happily avoids the sports spending binges that sap resources at far too many other schools

What about very significant taxpayer dollars being invested into expanding county and city owned facilities- for example Rochester's Blue Cross Arena? The same venues where college teams, as well as privately owned companies, operate within and profit handsomely? In our case, here in Utica Mohawk Valley Garden Takes Over Utica Memorial Auditorium In this deal New York was investing $8,000,000 of the taxpayer's money.

If you love sports, you might say “sure!” But what if you happen to be out-of-work and or under-employed, and feel your regional governments have spent too much on the wrong things? Your leaders have been chasing employers to locate here- yet they haven’t shown up and you’ve been waiting for decades? But now, what if these same leaders suggest a new "big need", one calling for a new or expanded arena, sport complex, and even a hospital district complete with multiple parking garages and billed as a Oneida County Healthcare Facility Transformation?

We at #NoHospitalDowntown have been watching. We’ve been criticized that our questions will chase away $300M dollars in funding. Yet when our leaders say they’re eyeing 34-acres for a downtown hospital district, but no defined plans exist- and it’s only 12-acres! Well we have questions, especially when the 12-acres support Erie Canal-era buildings, and tax-paying businesses. While some buildings are not shiny or overly productive today, they're buildings prime for redevelopment into properties that cannot be recreated if bulldozed.

We see Rochester has spent heavily on their sport venue, just as Utica’s AUD has in recent years. Then more recently we heard our Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is heading a new New York State venture. It's not private, it's "public", so taxpayers will foot the costs for the New York State Sports & Entertainment Facilities Association Today we’ve located the website they have under construction, visit them at NYSSEFA

When we look to see who’s names are connected to the NYSSEFA, we found a firm called Park Strategies LLC, which was founded by and is run by none other than Former NYS Senator D’Amato. So this new public association, that Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente heads, appears to have a contact person who works for a private lobbying firm, Robert D Bulman, also of Park Strategies LLC The website features the Utica AUD, talks about the Utica Comets, is headed by our County Executive, but is the email and contact form information being received by a leading Albany-based lobbyist? Are things like this why U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara says New York State suffers from "a lot of enabling of corruption"?

Either way, we suggest that Utica-area taxpayers prepare for a significant plan for their downtown. A plan designed by others, but paid in large part by taxpayers. And while labeled as an "amazing healthcare investment opportunity", it just might be "more urban hospital sprawl" designed to bring a parking garage to the Utica AUD and wipes-out our canal-era past. It also seems likely to wipe-out the historic police building and a modern police maintenance garage- which was a first step in the Utica's Gateway Plan but one that stalled.

You can read of this plan and so much more in a Cornell University thesis by Ross Randolph Pristera URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND REVITALIZATION RELATED TO CITY AND REGIONAL POLITICS IN UTICA, NEW YORK (PDF Link)

No Studies, No Reports, thus we remain #NoHospitalDowntown