By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Reflecting the sentiments of many a county resident, Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini blasted off a letter Saturday to local casino interests, telling them, as he put it to the Democrat yesterday, to “poop or get off the pot.”
Those who know Cellini can guess what his original language was.
The letter, too, was more politely worded but no less firm, demanding that Louis Cappelli, Empire Resorts and partner EPT, the St. Regis Mohawks, and the Stockbridge-Munsees attend a July 7 meeting to explain their plans to him, a town board member or two, County Legislature Chairman Jonathan Rouis, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and NYS Senator John Bonacic.
“The purpose of this meeting is to have all the proposed and present developers in one room to find out why we in the Town of Thompson, Sullivan County and the region are being denied serious economic development and the vital jobs all you have in your control,” Cellini wrote.
“As you are aware, I, along with our residents, have been on this roller-coaster ride for far too long regarding gaming in the Town of Thompson. It seems that every time we get close to reality, someone, somewhere finds it necessary to deny our right to support economic development and the vital jobs in our community.
“We are all big boys and girls, and we have to set aside our differences and for one time to play nice in the sandbox to get something done. We have enough outside forces fighting us, so let’s all join together and fight back.”
Cellini warned that non-attendance would result in a lack of support from the town for whatever project that person represents.
“And we will lobby to everyone informing them that we now want off your roller-coaster and for you to take your show on the road,” he wrote.
Cellini, who’s running for re-election unopposed, said yesterday that a party he attended on Saturday was the impetus for the letter. For years, he’s been constantly asked (or told) about casino prospects in his town, and after yet another round of questions and comments from constituents, he decided now was the time to get as firm an answer as he can from those interested in siting a casino locally.
“It’s not anger it’s frustration. For 30 years I’ve been getting jerked around on this,” he told the Democrat. “... I’m going to play hardball, because they’ve been screwing this county around for years.”
Cellini’s already gained attendance confirmations from Cappelli and partner Mohegan Sun, plus the two Native American tribes. He said Empire Resorts and its partner, EPT, “are sort of hedging,” but he refuses to change the date or allow attorneys in.
He plans to have county and state elected officials present to ensure honest responses and concrete answers on plans and timelines.
“This may seem harsh,” he concluded in his letter. “However, please understand that our community and all the government officials that have supported you 100 percent are sick and tired of chasing the golden carrot that has been dangled in front of us for far too long.”