Gov. Andrew Cuomo has shown a strong commitment to the idea of strengthening MWBEs in New York, but the true test will be whether the governor’s gaming commission awards one of the four casino licenses to the only MWBE proposal: the Grand Hudson Resort and Casino, proposed for the Stewart International Airport location in Orange County.
Cuomo recently announced the state’s commitment to increase its goal for MWBE participation to 30 percent. This is the third time during his tenure that the governor has increased MWBE goals. As minority and women business owners, we commend the governor for his commitment. Now his gaming commission has the opportunity to make a game-changing decision when it comes to MWBE participation in New York.
The Grand Hudson has done everything right in the process to obtain a casino license. The Orange County executive has said publicly that the Stewart International Airport location is the best site bar none; it is the only site that is “shovel ready.” The Grand Hudson has commitment letters for more than $500 million in financing, and the Grand Hudson leadership is committed to turning around the city of Newburgh, a city comprising a majority of people of color and one of the poorest cities in the state.
Following the governor’s lead on MWBEs by awarding a license would send a powerful message that New York is indeed open for business for business owners of color. In addition to making clear that a qualified MWBE company can be selected for the largest economic development proposal in the state, it will also have the practical advantage of opening the door to other MWBE companies to work with the Grand Hudson.
We are very excited that the Grand Hudson, led by Luther Winn, president and CEO of Greenetrack, has actively reached out to MWBE-certified businesses to discuss the opportunities should the Grand Hudson be successful in receiving a casino license.
Awarding the Grand Hudson a casino license would be a landmark event for Cuomo and his administration when it comes to truly opening the doors to qualified MWBE businesses. As MWBE companies, we hope that the gaming commission understands the significance of this selection.
Signed, Sandra Wilkin (Bradford Construction NYC) Scott Griffin (Artisan Construction NYC & Buffalo) Tiombe Tallie Carter (Tallie Carter Law Newburgh Professional and Business Association Hudson Valley)