“The unpaid bills include $607,502 in rent and more than $2.4 million in electric bills. In addition, the hockey team and SMG have not yet paid the county its share of concessions and parking revenue.” – Newsday
It was recently revealed that the New York Islanders and the Nassau Coliseum’s management company, SMG, are in arrears for months of unpaid rent, water, parking and concession costs. With the lame duck Isles poised to move into the Barclays Center at the end of 2015, will the team leave the county owned Coliseum before its current lease is up?
A matter of balance due
According to a Newsday article published March 2, 2013, “Nassau says Islanders/SMG owe millions in unpaid rent, utilities, fees,” by Randi F. Marshall, “The New York Islanders and Nassau Coliseum's management company, SMG, owe Nassau County as much as $3.8 million in unpaid rent, utilities and other expenses for the Coliseum dating back to at least 2011, records show.”
Marshall reports Newsday, Long Island’s largest newspaper, combed through numerous financial documents related to the Islanders’ lease with the Nassau Coliseum and discovered “The records included county-issued invoices for 2011 and 2012 expenses, without any corresponding checks or records that they had been paid.”
Is something else going on?
In cash-strapped Nassau County, which is overseen by a state financial watchdog and already had its bond rating lowered, local businesses like the Islander franchise, naturally are expected to pay their debt obligations. But perhaps there is something else afoot here.
The Islanders have already inked a controversial deal to play at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which is just a LIRR ride away. Furthermore, team representatives have fired shots across the county’s bow alleging the Islanders are owed a sizeable sum for building improvements they made to the Coliseum.
With all of these problems, including asbestos abatement issues at the rink, not to mention the team’s perennial losing record, could the orange and blue be planning an early exit from Uniondale, prior to the end of their 2015 contract?
In theory, the Islanders could strike a bargain to make good on their debt with Nassau County in exchange for releasing the former NHL dynasty out of their current lease. Will it happen? Just wait and see.