01/10/2006 12:00AM

New York State okays NYRA loan

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The New York State Public Authorities Control Board approved a $5 million loan to the New York Racing Association from the state's Urban Development Corporation at a meeting on Monday.

The loan is part of a $30 million financing package that was negotiated between NYRA and state legislators at the end of 2005. NYRA officials had said prior to obtaining the financing package that the association was considering filing for bankruptcy because of cash shortages.

Charles Hayward, the president of NYRA, said on Tuesday afternoon that he was "hopeful" the money would be released on Wednesday. NYRA officials and state regulators were negotiating the final details of the loan on Tuesday in Albany, Hayward said.

"We're negative in cash flow from December through July, with the exception of May and June, so this should keep the place open and the lights on," Hayward said.

According to documents filed by the control board, interest on the loan, which is to be used for "continuing operations" of NYRA's three tracks, will be 4 percent annually. The loan will come due in 23 months, the documents said.

The largest part of the entire financing package, a $20 million loan from the state's Division of the Lottery, will not become available until the state legislature passes a bill providing the loan. Hayward said that the legislature is expected to begin working on the bill next week.