11/08/2006 12:00AM

NYRA content for now


NEW YORK - Flush with an $8 million loan from the state to continue operating through the end of the year, the New York Racing Association did not seek approval of additional financial help when it went before a U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge in Manhattan on Wednesday.

In its first meeting before Judge James Peck, the U.S. bankruptcy court judge in the Southern District of New York assigned this case, NYRA sought only the approval to retain and authorize the payment of legal and accounting services used in the ordinary course of business. In certain instances, there is a $20,000 monthly cap put on those payments.

Judge Peck approved these requests.

Attorneys representing NYRA said they might not seek approval of future financing until next month. Last week, NYRA officials said they received up to a $50 million line of credit from SC Capital, a New York hedge fund, as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan.

Attorney Brian Rosen, who heads the legal team handling NYRA's bankruptcy case, said the issue of the $50 million line of credit may not come up until the middle of December, though NYRA does have two more scheduled hearings with Peck before then.

NYRA filed for bankruptcy last Friday, in part, it claimed, because state agencies interfered with NYRA's business activities and thwarted the association's efforts to efficiently operate. At that time, the state granted NYRA an $8 million loan that NYRA officials said would enable it to operate uninterrupted through the end of the year. Though the loan came from the state comptroller's office, it was granted at the behest of Gov. George Pataki.

"We were advised by our lawyers that was the most prudent course of action to take,'' said Scott Reif, a spokesman for the governor. "It protects the state's assets, it protects the state's taxpayers, and it ensures continuous racing through the end of the year.''

NYRA filed for bankruptcy after rejecting a $19 million loan from the state oversight board, claiming the conditions of the loan were unsatisfactory.

NYRA operates Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga under a franchise agreement with the state that expires on Dec. 31, 2007.