"No decision has been made to lease either racetrack," said George Zoffinger, NJSEA president and CEO. "Today's decision was simply to explore the marketplace. After considerable study Lehman Brothers advised us that our racing assets have substantial value and that there is likely to be strong interest by qualified parties in the private sector. "We concluded that it is our duty to solicit interested parties, review their plans and then decide whether it is in the best interests of the State, the racing industries, the local communities and the work force to transfer racing operations to another party."
Said Carl Goldberg, chairman of the NJSEA: "If a transaction is ever to be undertaken, it will be a lease and not a sale. With a lease, the NJSEA will be able to build in protections as to how the facilities may be used; how the surrounding property is to be protected; and other considerations that are important to the various stakeholders."
The NJSEA has created a Stakeholders Committee to advise on various issues relating to a possible lease of Monmouth Park.
"It is very important that we listen to the local community and take into account their concerns in any possible lease of Monmouth Park" said Zoffinger.
The members of the Stakeholders Committee are: Jeanne DeYoung, Monmouth County Tourism Representative; Maria Gatta, Mayor Elect of Oceanport; Charles Hesse III, Thoroughbred owner; Edward McKenna Jr., Mayor of Red Bank; Ann McNamara, Mayor of Tinton Falls; Lynda Rose, President of the Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce; Edward Stominski, Monmouth County Freeholder; Ellen Karcher, Senator Elect; and Michael Panter, Assemblyman Elect.
The NJSEA also will hold meetings with local elected officials and area legislators to seek advice and to keep them informed as to any developments. The meetings should begin in January.
The NJSEA will shortly announce a Stakeholders Committee for the possible lease of the Meadowlands Racetrack.