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“Everything On The Table”

Published: July 16, 2010 2:28 pm ET

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“Everything on the table” is what New York Governor David Paterson’s main man said about New York City OTB, which is now being pursued by a number of would-be operators, including unnamed harness tracks.

Larry Schwartz, the organization’s new chairman who also has been chief of staff for Paterson, said he believes “the only way New York City OTB survives is if somebody takes it over or we create a partnership.” The New York Racing Association, owed double-digit millions by OTB, seems a likely candidate.

Schwartz said he was moving 'at warp speed' to reorganize the company, and his $125,000 a month turnaround specialist, Greg Rayburn, now president of NYCOTB, is on hand and working.

Rayburn said cash flow is the answer, calling cash oxygen, and saying he needed to maximize it to make OTB viable. He already has terminated some high level execs and plans to close branches with negative cash flow.

Noting that the company is living on borrowed time, Rayburn said, “Before we go out and start negotiating a plan and a vision, we have to do everything we can on the internal things we can control.”

Schwartz agreed, saying, “The corporation is in bankruptcy, and we’re not going to get out of bankruptcy unless we restructure and reorganize. Part of that is reducing costs, eliminating the inefficiencies.”

He said at least 11 branches would be closed in the next one to four months.

(Harness Tracks of America)

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