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Christie Grants Gural Extension

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Published: March 31, 2011 4:32 pm ET

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Michael Drewniak, spokesman for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has confirmed that an extension has been granted to Jeff Gural to reach a deal to lease the Meadowlands Racetrack.

“The administration and the NJSEA (New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority) are continuing to work with Mr. Gural to solve the remaining issues with his taking over management. We think they can be worked out. Of greater concern are his negotiations with the union representatives,” Drewniak was quoted as saying in an article by Bob Jordan of the Asbury Park Press.

As previously reported, Gural announced late last week that he had pulled off a major feat in corralling $100 million in financing to allow him to move forward with his Meadowlands vision, but that the unions were the only issue.

The deadline, which had been set for today, has now been pushed back until April 14.

“This can really be a make or break issue," continued Drewniak. "To say the least it would be disappointing to lose this opportunity to bring private investment and private management to the Meadowlands Racetrack. A lot is at stake, including jobs.”

Earlier today, Gural was part of a New Jersey gaming forum which took place at Rutgers University. It was during the panel when Gural revealed that he needed an extension from Gov. Christie to hammer out a deal with the unions.

Interestingly enough, the keynote speaker for the Rutgers forum was none other than Jon Hanson, architect of the now-infamous 'Hanson Report' which called for horse racing at the Meadowlands to cease. Hanson made an interesting comment during the forum, as he stated that “The bottom line for our perspective, our commission, is that horse racing and gaming still face an uphill battle, but we believe they can be successful.”

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