View Full Version : Trump deal at Jones Beach

09-17-2006, 11:39 AM
Trump on the Ocean could bring a significant windfall for state coffers, especially if it succeeds as partners Donald Trump and Steve Carl expect.

The state, which will own the facility, will take in about $200,000 a year, plus inflation, as a flat fee. On top of that, New York will receive anywhere from 2 to 5 percent of the gross revenues from the catering hall and restaurant, once it passes the three-year mark, the state Parks Department said.

And Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro noted that doesn't account for the "enormous infusion of capital" -- as much as $40 million of private money -- in a piece of property that the state has had difficulty with for years.

"It's like a gift from God," Castro said yesterday, after a news conference announcing the deal. Castro noted that if the state didn't have the Trump project, it would have put in about $6 million into a far smaller restaurant.

The project's also a huge difference from what the Boardwalk Restaurant most recently brought into the state, before it was demolished two years ago. In 2002, the restaurant provided the state with 10 percent of its gross revenues of $1.4 million, or $140,000 total. While Trump and Carl wouldn't predict their gross revenues, experts said the state will reap far more from the new deal.

But some argued yesterday the deal gave Trump on the Ocean an unfair competitive edge, especially because it will be exempt from school and county real estate taxes as a state-owned project on state land. The state and county would still reap sales tax revenues from the facility.

"It's obscene that there are no tax dollars flowing from this," said Harvey Levinson, Nassau County's assessor. "Donald Trump of all people should not have an unfair advantage here. If they put a catering establishment in Lido Beach or Long Beach, you know they'd have to pay taxes."

Levinson suggested the state law should change to force facilities like Trump on the Ocean to pay taxes, noting that it would owe about $1.4 million a year in school taxes.

But Fred Parola, the director of the Hempstead Industrial Development Agency who once represented the Jones Beach area as a state assemblyman, noted the Boardwalk Restaurant, which Trump on the Ocean is replacing, never paid taxes either.

"We've never seen any return," he said. "I think if there is a commercial establishment there, such as this, they should enter into some type of payment in lieu of taxes agreement, even if it's minute."

Through a spokesman, Carl and Trump declined to comment on the issue. State parks spokeswoman Wendy Gibson, however, said every state concessionaire, small and large, falls into the same category -- tax-exempt because the state owns the property.

Area caterers said they weren't worried about Trump on the Ocean, and hoped the brand might help the Island as a whole. They said the facility, which is expected to cost the partnership $40 million to build, would likely fall at the extreme upper end of Long Island caterers, price-wise.

"At $40 million, he'd probably have to get $300 to $400 a plate to try to get that type of money back," said Ken Barra, the owner of Eastwind Caterers in Wading River, who noted that some facilities along the Queens/Nassau border might feel an economic impact from the new project.

Gary Melius, owner of Oheka Castle in Cold Spring Hills, said the project "has the Trump name, and that certainly has value ... I'm just confused as to how he's going to do it over there, because you're on state property, and that's paid for by all us little bumpkins ... Two hundred thousand a year? I pay more than that in taxes!"

Trump and Carl, who have not released their price lists, argued they didn't expect other caterers would be hurt by their plans. "I think this is in a class by itself," Carl said. "There's plenty of room for anybody."

Parola, who led a battle to defeat efforts by the administration of former Gov. Hugh Carey to bring in Coney Island-style concessions to the beach, said he worried about what he sees as "disco-type" elements of the Trump proposal, including a nightclub/lounge, that might cater to singles at the expense of families.

But Henry Stern, a former parks commissioner for New York City, noted that when Trump helped rebuild Wollman Rink in Central Park, "we found him to be a satisfactory concessionaire and had no problems with him."

Added Stern: "He always paid the rent on time."

Meanwhile, Walter Jones of Gilgo Beach, one of the directors of the Save Jones Beach Ad Hoc Committee, which opposes a proposed offshore wind farm, sees Trump as a potential ally. "They knock it if you talk about the view at all; you're just a NIMBY. But in real estate a view is considered priceless. You come to the beach and you come to that ocean and you invest $40 million to see the ocean meet the sky, not to see some industrial factory."

The deal is subject to approval by the state attorney general and comptroller's offices. But Trump said yesterday those approvals are "perfunctory."

"It's a done deal," Trump added in an interview before the news conference. He noted he is already receiving calls from people wanting to book bar mitzvahs and weddings.

The news conference, which offered Trump Ice water and included actor Steve Guttenberg, once a Jones Beach junior lifeguard, was full of pomp and a congratulatory air, in what Carl said was "the most incredible day of my life."

And it looks as if Trump isn't stopping at catering. At the event, he announced he was going to look into fixing up the golf course on the Jones Beach property, as well.

Staff Writer Daniel Wagner contributed to this story.

Sicka than aidZ
09-17-2006, 01:07 PM
So U Gonna Get A Job Or What Snapple?

09-17-2006, 03:09 PM
yea im working for uncle sam now man more loot coming in, needed this job a lot stablility is important:hooray:

Sicka than aidZ
09-17-2006, 06:05 PM