The lawyer who argued the rosy re-wording of New York’s casino gambling referendum illegally used tax dollars to push voters into approving the measure dropped his appeal Thursday.
Now, the referendum that would change the state constitution to allow Las Vegas-type casinos off Indian land will go to voters on Nov. 5.
“We can continue with our preparations for the general election without any fear of potential legal delays,” said John Conklin, spokesman for the state Board of Elections.
Brooklyn lawyer Eric Snyder had argued the board secretly re-worded the neutral wording of the Nov. 5 referendum provided by the state attorney general. Snyder claimed the new wording illegally promises disputed benefits of lower taxes, more school aid and jobs. But Acting Supreme Court Justice Richard Platkin rejected that argument Wednesday. He cited a signed document dated July 29, the date of a public meeting held by the Board of Elections.
Snyder, however, noted the meeting never mentioned the specific additions. He seized on statements made in the meeting and captured in the webcast. Board members authorized the executive directors to make additional changes in private telephone calls afterward, which would have violated the Open Meetings Law.
On Thursday, however, Snyder dropped his plan to appeal his self-funded case, saying there isn’t enough time before Election Day.
Platkin never ruled on the crux of Snyder’s argument in Wednesday’s decision. Snyder argued the Cuomo administration, the Legislature and Board of Elections illegally used public money to dupe voters into approving Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to authorize seven casinos. Instead, Platkin ended the case by ruling Snyder’s lawsuit was filed too late under a 14-day statute of limitations.
The board didn’t post the revised referendum on its website until Aug. 23, four days after the deadline to file a lawsuit. Snyder and the general public learned of the new wording in Sept. 12 press reports.
“This wasn’t a vanity project for me,” Snyder said Thursday. “I think I was able to show the process was flawed, that voters hopefully will realize a neutral playing field was prevented in what happened here, and they will remember that when they go into the voting booth.”
The New York Jobs Now lobbying group of business and political leaders supporting Cuomo’s casino proposal had called Snyder’s lawsuit a “needless distraction from the issue.”