03/07/2006 12:00AM

NYRA to receive $6 million


A New York state oversight board on Tuesday approved the allocation of $6 million in funds from a $20 million loan provided by the state lottery corporation to the New York Racing Association, according to officials from the board and NYRA.

The request for the funds was the first by NYRA since the state legislature approved the loan last week. NYRA negotiated the $20 million loan with legislators late last year as part of a $30 million loan package designed to allow the financially troubled association to avert bankruptcy.

Charles Hayward, the chief executive of NYRA, said that the association had broken the $6 million request down into four blocks. The largest block, for $3 million, would be used to pay the association's 2005 real estate taxes to Nassau County. Another $1.7 million would be used to pay two months of delinquent parimutuel taxes to the state and associated fees to the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

The state's Department of Taxation and Finance placed a lien on NYRA's properties earlier this year because of the delinquent parimutuel taxes, which totaled $1.125 million. Hayward said he believed that the lien would be removed once the debt was repaid, which could occur as early as the end of this week.

In addition, NYRA asked the oversight board for $1 million to make delinquent payments to vendors, and another $300,000 for "working capital," Hayward said.

The oversight board also approved a measure that makes NYRA's $83 million debt to the state for franchise fees "subordinate" to a $170 million loan to NYRA from MGM Grand, the casino company. MGM loaned the money to NYRA in order to fund construction of a slot-machine casino at Aqueduct.

Hayward said that NYRA's long-stalled plan to begin construction of the casino would commence at the end of March, provided that the lien is removed from NYRA's property and that NYRA negotiates an agreement with the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation on obligations to its pension fund.