12/26/2007 12:00AM

NYRA bankruptcy hearing delayed

EmailA hearing scheduled for Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to consider the reorganization plan approved by the creditors of the New York Racing Association was postponed to allow political negotiations on NYRA's racing franchise to go forward.

Brian Rosen, NYRA's bankruptcy attorney, said that NYRA asked for the adjournment so that the bankruptcy proceedings would not have an impact on a meeting scheduled for Thursday with New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, and senate majority leader Joseph Bruno. The three were scheduled to meet to discuss how to deal with NYRA's franchise, which expires at the end of this year. Negotiations are ongoing on either a temporary or long-term extension.

"It's our effort to allow the meeting to go off unimpeded," Rosen said.

NYRA agreed to the postponement with the condition that a hearing be scheduled between Jan. 10 and Jan. 15, Rosen said.

Without a temporary or long-term extension in place, the bankruptcy court was not expected to approve the reorganization plan, which has been approved by 97 percent of NYRA's creditors. The reorganization plan is based on NYRA receiving a 30-year extension to its franchise in exchange for giving the state undisputed title to Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga. Any agreement to extend NYRA's franchise would have to closely track the reorganization plan for it to be accepted by the court because of the plan's financial projections.