Judge blocks Las Vegas Sands' agreement to build casino at Nassau Coliseum site

CBS News
Judge blocks Las Vegas Sands' agreement to build casino at Nassau Coliseum site

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- There are three coveted licenses up for grabs to run a Downstate New York casino. But with billions of dollars hanging in the balance, a judge just threw a curveball to one of those jockeying for position. 

Developers who want to turn the Nassau Coliseum site into a gambling casino and resort were told to go back to the drawing board. 

The two sides squared off prior to Nassau County's sudden vote in May that approved construction of a $4 billion casino complex at the Nassau Coliseum site. 

But in what some are calling a bombshell, that lease agreement was blocked by a state supreme court judge, for now at least. 

"We are very encouraged by the judge's decision," said Pearl Jacobs of Uniondale, a civic association leader. "Rules of open meetings and transparency were clearly violated." 

The decision is a big victory for Hofstra University, a stone's throw from the Hub. The university argued a gambling casino could have a harmful effect on the campus. 

"We appreciate the court's thoughtful ruling. We look forward to the planning process advocating for the best use of the Hub," Hofstra President Susan Poser said in a statement. 

The judge ruled officials short-circuited the open meetings and environmental laws before voting in an attempt to avoid public scrutiny. 

"A project of this size needs a pretty extensive environmental impact analysis. Utilities in the area, impact on traffic, impact on economics," said Michael Shenoda, an associate professor at Farmingdale State College. 

George and Lynn Krug of Garden City said persistent opposition to the casino project paid off. 

"The people who don't want it thought that it was already a done deal," said George Krug. 

"It was rushed through by the legislature, and as a grass routes group, I really got involved," said Lynn Krug. 

They say develop the Hub, but without a casino. 

Meanwhile, Sands hopes the decision is just a bump in the road. 

"Las Vegas Sands is proceeding proudly and enthusiastically with our proposal for an integrated resort and entertainment center at the Nassau Hub," the company said. 

It's unclear if or when Sands, Nassau's planning commission and legislature would begin a new comprehensive review and transparent public hearings. 

Jennifer McLogan

During her decades-long career, Jennifer McLogan has been recognized for her coverage of breaking news and live reporting on major stories that include the September 11 attacks, Superstorm Sandy, the Gilgo Beach Murders, the Long Island Rail Road massacre, the crash of TWA Flight 800, the Philadelphia Police firebombing of the radical group Move, the Hamptons' Pine Barrens fires, and major snowstorms crippling the Northeast. In sports, she covered Super Bowl XLVI, World Series with both the Yankees and the Mets, NBA Finals with Michael Jordan and the death of Arthur Ashe.