Good old Rye Playland.
On May 26th, Rye Playland will celebrate 91 years of delighting generations of Westchester kids and adults.
And there is a new roller coaster ride – only it is not in the park and you can only ride it if you are in politics, or if you play politics.
Sunday we learned Rye guy and county boss George Latimer nuked the county deal with Standard Amusements around the privatization of the park. And who got on the Playland political roller coaster Monday? You win the stuffed animal! County Republicans and Standard Amusements. And Latimer released a video of his public statements.
Buckle your seat belts.
Standard Amusements (company privatizing Playland)
- decision "deeply disappointing and devastatingly false"
- "exposes taxpayers to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses from Playland’s extensive capital needs and needless litigation"
- Latimer "unwilling to meet with Standard Amusements since November 2018"
- "County’s complete mishandling of food safety, failure to secure the wooden Dragon Coaster, and lack of proper fire suppression technology"
- Latimer’s "mismanagement and complete disregard for visitor safety"
Republican Caucus Statements
- "The public and the County Legislature… were kept in the dark…taxpayers face a very expensive and long litigation process that will end up costing Westchester millions.” – Minority Leader John G. Testa
- “…join me in demanding the County Executive provide the Legislative body with the reasons for his seeking to unilaterally void the existing contract…" –Minority Whip Gordon A. Burrows
- “to terminate… without a concrete plan of action… is troubling.” –Legislator Margaret Cunzio
Full statements below:
Statement from Standard Amusements:
This decision by the County Executive is deeply disappointing and devastatingly false. Standard Amusements’ perfectly valid conduct was never controversial under the prior Administration, and this move is nothing more than a means to improperly terminate a thirty year contract that was twice approved by super majorities of the Westchester Board of Legislators. It exposes taxpayers to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses from Playland’s extensive capital needs and needless litigation. The Administration has been negotiating in bad faith and, despite numerous requests, Mr. Latimer has been unwilling to meet with Standard Amusements since November 2018.
This course of action also directs attention away from the County’s complete mishandling of food safety, failure to secure the wooden Dragon Coaster, and lack of proper fire suppression technology at Playland.
Standard Amusements has worked for nine years and spent more than $10 million on its mission to save Playland. Despite Mr. Latimer’s mismanagement and complete disregard for visitor safety, Standard Amusements remains more committed than ever to restoring Playland to its former glory.
By this action, the County Executive has chosen the worst path possible for Westchester County taxpayers, Playland, and Standard Amusements.
Republican Caucus Statements on County Executive’s Termination of Playland Management Agreement
“I am disappointed but not surprised that the administration has taken this ill-advised action. For months, the County Administration has said that they would negotiate in good faith with Standard Amusements to address the issues they had with the existing contract. It seems the opposite was true. The public and the County Legislature, who crafted and approved the existing contract, were kept in the dark; ncluding about an additional $5 million offer from Standard just 2 weeks ago. I am very troubled by the administration’s great efforts to avoid transparency and cooperation with the legislature in their plan to break the contract with Standard Amusements. Along with returning to past practice of having complete financial burden for Playland Park, Westchester taxpayers face a very expensive and long litigation process that will end up costing Westchester millions.” – Minority Leader John G. Testa
“As a practicing attorney for the past 33 years, I am extremely concerned over the financial exposure that the Westchester County taxpayer may face if this contract dispute goes to litigation. With the exception of vague statements deriding the agreement, the Board of Legislators has been kept in the dark about what the administrations concerns are or what if any plans the administration has for Playland moving forward. Many of my legislative colleagues in the Democratic majority worked very hard to negotiate the terms of the agreement with Standard Amusements and subsequently voted in favor of the agreement. I ask all Legislators to join me in demanding the County Executive provide the Legislative body with the reasons for his seeking to unilaterally void the existing contract and what directions he seeks to move Playland in the near future.” –Minority Whip Gordon A. Burrows
“My concern is that to terminate the existing contract without a concrete plan of action presented to the public, taxpayers, as well as the board of legislators before terminating an approved contract is troubling.” –Legislator Margaret Cunzio
Latimer News Conference video: