Islanders Owner Charles Wang On Nassau Coliseum Vote: ‘We’re Out Of Options’

NEW YORK (WFAN) — Nassau County residents will have a shot to keep “New York” on the jerseys of the Islanders Monday, as voters get ready to head to the polls for the proposed $400 million Coliseum renovation project.

Islanders owner Charles Wang wants to get the message out there: vote “no” and the team may be forced to pack up and leave.

“I think we have to face the reality of the situation,” Wang told WFAN’s Boomer & Carton on Friday morning. “We don’t have a place to play anymore, because come 2015, our lease expires. You’ve been to the Coliseum, you guys know what it is like there. We have to have a place to play, so we’re out of options basically.

“We’re working very hard to go make this a reality for Long Island.”

Listen: Charles Wang’s full interview with Boomer & Carton

The Association for a Better Long Island hopes that voters will say “no way.” Desmond Ryan, of the organization, said that if the proposal is approved it “would guarantee real property tax increases for the next thirty years and all of this because of a hockey team.”

“The office of the legislative budget review has looked at it and it will cost, at the worst case, $13.80 per household,” Wang said.

“What is ABLI? It’s a bunch of a developers who bid on the Lighthouse Project, if you remember, and lost it,” he added. “And now they’re coming back again for a second bite of it, and it doesn’t work. And if they were so interested, where is their proposal?”

Wang cautioned that if voters reject County Executive Ed Mangano’s proposal, the Coliseum “will go dark.” And not just for NHL hockey.

“The county owns the land. We’ll have great asphalt for street hockey, maybe,” said Wang. “Remember, the Islanders only represent about 30 percent of what goes on in there … all of those dollars that come now from acts, events, concerts, circuses,  etc., will all be gone.”

More: Wang, Nassau County’s Jay Jacobs with Mike Francesa

The upcoming vote has become a heated subject of debate among Nassau County residents and politicians. Boomer Esiason wanted to know: if so many union jobs are at stake, why are democrats opposed?

“Because a republican proposed it,” said Wang. “It’s so polarized where the whole group of democrats, as a group, oppose something. They’re supposed to represent us. Except for one democrat, Dave Denenberg.”

Wang, who says he’s about $250 million in the red since acquiring the Islanders, doesn’t want to move his team. August 1 may be his best bet to stay, though even if residents approve the measure, the county legislature and NIFA still have to accept it.

“Everybody says I’m nuts, but I want to see it to a good conclusion,” he said. “We need it for Long Island. This is my home.”

Boomer, a die-hard Rangers fan, couldn’t resist taking a jab at the Islanders. As he was bidding goodbye to Wang, Boomer zinged that he always counts on “those six wins every year.”

“Oh that was a low blow!” Wang replied. “Boomer, we’ve got pictures of you in an Islanders jersey, remember that!”

What do you think of the Nassau Coliseum renovation vote? Sound off in the comments below…


    Stop with the lies!!! this will cost us close to a billion dollars with interest and overruns. Here’s my plan, get some paint and some new seats. Put a glass facade over the old one. A nip here and a tuck there and WHAMO!! – we’ll have a nicer facility. If Wang doesn’t like it he can take his pack of losers to any other market that will have them. Then Nassau will have more dates available for concerts and events that people REALLY want to see and pay higher ticket prices. All this for a small fraction of what a new building will cost. Maybe (dar I say) it will MAKE MONEY instead of costing. WOW – WHAT A CONCEPT

  • Heather Burkitt

    Over the last few years I have watched fellow civil servants get laid off by the Nassau County government. It was after many consessions were made in our contracts to help the County stay financially afloat. We were told by the same people that if we lagged our pay there would be no layoffs. Not wanting to see people lose thier jobs the union agreed. Now we see the County Executive saying he had to lay people off because of the unions once again. While I watch this dog and pony show by Mangano and other members of the legislature state that it is the unions that cause this financial crisis, I cannot help but wonder why there are so many 6 to 7 figure jobs being handed out by those same people to “friends and family”. Now we’re being told without the Colisseum going through that we’re going to be taxed or the County will lose money. No offense to Mr Wang but he has more than enough money to furnish this project without my tax money. Let it be privately owned and the County can tax him for it like every other business. I have absolutely no faith in the County government and very much doubt the tax payers will see any revenue from this project. I truly believe the only thing we’ll see is higher taxes anyway. I will vote No today.

  • Pete

    Craig Carton is a whiney, self-absorbed, narcissistic punk. It’s time for WFAN management to fire Carton, and provide quality sports and entertainment programming to its listeners. Kick his ass out the door.

  • Lawn-Guy Land

    The history of public sports financing shows quite clearly that taxpayers will be 100% on the hook. Wang WON’T pay back anything, because he DOESN’T INTEND to pay back anything. The County will let him “forget” to pay it back, or else let him first deduct every expense he’s ever had in his life.

  • grouchy1959

    Pay higher taxes to watch poor quality hockey – Why? Vote NO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Grouchy1959

    Vote NO and let the Islanders go !!!!! The sooner the better !!!!!

  • Chris Mass

    Almost everyone I know is voting “YES” on Monday. Lets crush the “NO’s”!!




    i will be voting yes on monday. iam a big islander fan and i would hate to see them go. ive beena fan since the 1980s . please vote yes.

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