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What you need to know for 04/27/2017

Group sues to halt East Greenbush casino bid

Group sues to halt East Greenbush casino bid

A group opposed to a proposed casino project in East Greenbush said its members filed a lawsuit Thur

A group opposed to a proposed casino project in East Greenbush said its members filed a lawsuit Thursday against the East Greenbush Town Board and the groups pursuing the project — Saratoga Casino and Raceway and Churchill Downs Inc.

The lawsuit — filed by attorney Jeff Meyer of Meyer and Fuller on behalf of Save East Greenbush — challenges the June 12 vote by the Town Board that approved a resolution of support for a casino on Thompson Hill.

The suit states that the resolution was passed at a public meeting held in violation of the state’s Open Meetings Law and was adopted without undergoing environmental review. The group is also questioning the Town Board’s discussions with Brad Fischer, a director at the state Gaming Commission, in relation to crafting the language in the resolution of support.

“Any contact with Brad Fischer is an illegal ex parte communication that should mandate immediate dismissal of any application submitted to the state Gaming Commission,” the group said in a statement.

The lawsuit comes days before casino applications are due to the state Gaming Commission. Applications must be delivered to the commission’s offices in Schenectady by 4 p.m. Monday.

A spokesperson for Saratoga Casino and Churchill Downs responded to the lawsuit in a statement saying, “This is a silly and meritless lawsuit, and we are confident we will ultimately prevail in this matter.

“We have been the most transparent of all bidders in the Capital Region and at every step have followed the letter and spirit of the law that was approved by the Legislature, governor and majority of New Yorkers in a statewide referendum, including a majority of voters in East Greenbush.”

Meyer said the lawsuit is “merely an initial step” in the group’s efforts against a casino in East Greenbush. According to a news release from Save East Greenbush, the suit was filed Thursday in Rensselaer County.

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