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Posted by: City Buzz Motor Sports on 07/29/2017

New York City Council Should Ask For Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Resignation After Spending $3 Million Of State Tax Payer Money With Systematically Discriminant International Speedway Corporation and NASCAR

New York City Council Should Ask For Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Resignation After Spending $3 Million Of State Tax Payer Money With Systematically Discriminant International Speedway Corporation and NASCAR New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, has been duped out of nearly $3 million dollars, of state tax payer money, to assist the multi-billion, publicly traded, International Speedway Corporation, the parent company of NASCAR, with another “redevelopment” project of one of their racing facilities where they did not hire one African American firm, vendor or supplier to assist on its projects.

In December of 2014, Watkins Glen International, owned by International Speedway Corporation (ISC), was awarded $2.25 million, of state tax payer dollars, by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, to assist in track safety upgrades, repaving and modernization efforts to host NASCAR and INDYCAR events at the picturesque Finger Lakes region of New York.

On June 30th of this year it was announced that “I LOVE NEW YORK”, the iconic tourism arm for New York State, had agreed to partner with the historic racing facility to present The Glen’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, August 6th as the “I LOVE NEW YORK 355” to the tune of $463,500 of more state tax payer dollars.

What will the state of New York tax payers receive for $463,500 - well “I LOVE NEW YORK signs of course!

Strangely, New York Governor Cuomo and his hired gun, Howard Zemsky, President/CEO and Commissioner of the Empire State Development Corporation, unimaginably thought partnering with an organization that has historically been considered racially biased towards African Americans was a good idea for business - even with an existing $500 million dollar federal racial discrimination lawsuit hanging over NASCAR’s head!

Allow to provide context.

On September 16, 2016, Georgia businessman Terrance Alton Cox III filed a federal $500 million dollar racial discrimination lawsuit, in the Southern District Federal Court of New York, against defendants International Speedway Corporation (ISC), owners of Watkins Glen International, NASCAR and the 19 member Team Charter.

Mr. Cox refiled the federal $500 million dollar racial discrimination lawsuit in the Western District Federal Court of North Carolina (3:16-cv-00843) on December 14, 2016 with NASCAR being recognized as the sole defendant.

As of this posting, North Carolina Federal Judge Frank Whitney, has not dismissed this federal lawsuit case, and it is presently awaiting to receive a federal court date any day now.

Given this information, we believe it is safe to say, there are certainly more questions that need answers regarding New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s expenditure of nearly $3 million dollars, of state tax payer money, to this multi-billion dollar company; which undoubtedly should include this question - Were any New York African American firms, vendors or suppliers used for Watkins Glen International’s redevelopment?


-69th year the confederate flag is flown where NASCAR races are held
-69th consecutive year NO BLACK high level executive in NASCAR
-69th consecutive year NO BLACK team owner in any of NASCAR’s three touring series
-59th consecutive year NO BLACK driver has ever competed in the Daytona 500
-44th consecutive year NO BLACK full-time driver in NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series

International Speedway Corporation was founded in 1953 to promote motorsport themed entertainment activities in the United States, is the parent company of NASCAR, and is publicly traded as ISCA on NASDAQ.

Presently, ISC’s list of racing facilities under ownership are as follows.

Daytona International Speedway -                              Florida
Talladega Superspeedway -                                        Alabama
Michigan International Speedway -                             outside of Detroit
Richmond International Raceway -                              Virginia
Auto Club Speedway of Southern California -               near Los Angeles
Kansas Speedway -                                                   Kansas City, Kansas
Phoenix International Raceway -                                Arizona
Chicagoland Speedway -                                           near Chicago, Illinois
Route 66 Raceway -                                                 near Chicago, Illinois
Homestead-Miami Speedway -                                  Florida
Martinsville Speedway -                                            Virginia
Darlington Raceway -                                                South Carolina
Watkins Glen International -                                      New York

In 2014, ISC brokered a television broadcasting rights deal between COMCAST/NBC Universal and FOX Broadcasting for $8.2 billion from 2015 to 2024 to televise NASCAR races.

The financial revenue share breakdown of this $8.2 billion deal over 10 years is between the 23 race tracks where NASCAR competes, the 19 member Team Charter (race teams), and NASCAR itself, is as follows.  

Race Tracks -      65% -   ($5.46B)
Team Charter -   25% -   ($2B)
NASCAR -          10% -    ($820M)

With ISC owning 13 race tracks (as listed above) and NASCAR, collectively, these two entities will clear nearly $3.8 billion dollars of the $8.2 billion - in 10 years!

Lesa Dawn France Kennedy, has been International Speedway Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer since 2009.

The 56 year old grand-daughter of Bill France, Sr., founder of NASCAR in 1948, and older sister to NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France, is a member of the board of directors of NASCAR and the mother to NASCAR Xfinity driver Ben Kennedy.


Ms. France Kennedy has received these accolades since taking over stewardship of ISC.

     Forbes - “The Most Powerful Women In Sports - (2009), listed #1 (2015 & 2016)
     Adweek - “Meet The 30 Most Powerful Women In Sports” (2016 & 2017)

One would think to receive an accolade of this magnitude, from these very reputable media sources, a recipient would be vetted more thorough before bestowing such an honor.

Allow us to explain.

In 2013, ISC officially broke ground on their $400 million, privately funded, redevelopment project for Daytona International Speedway called “Daytona Rising”.

The Speedway and its design-builder, Barton Malow, awarded subcontracts, sub-subcontracts and purchase orders to firms for the following areas: demolition, fencing, metal wall panels, asphalt, grading, drywall, plumbing, lumber supply, electrical, roofing, landscaping and masonry.

From the start to completion of “Daytona Rising” in 2016, this publicly traded company, led by Lesa Dawn France Kennedy, did not hire one African American owned firm, vendor or supplier to assist with its construction.

Presently, ISC is finishing another development project called “One Daytona”, a retail, dining and entertainment district, with two hotels and a residential apartment community directly across the street from Daytona International Speedway, with an estimated cost of $289 million.

The “One Daytona” project is being developed by JV Partners, a partnership between ISC and Atlanta based Jacoby Development.

What’s different about this project is the fact ISC sought, and received, $40 million in public funds from Volusia County and Daytona Beach to financially assist with the development of “One Daytona”.

What stands out from our research, is a comment made by Volusia County Councilman Doug Daniels as quoted in a Daytona News Journal story written by Andrew Gant and Eileen Zaffiro-Kean.

“One Daytona has been out there for a very long period of time, and now at the last minute they’re (ISC) coming to the city and county for money. There must have been a surprise somewhere along the way that made them realize - we need public money to make this work. And it must have been something they weren’t anticipating, otherwise we would’ve heard from them (ISC) before now.”

With “One Daytona” first phase nearly completed, ISC, lead by Forbes and Adweek’s recognized “Most Powerful Women In Sports”, Lesa Dawn France Kennedy, has not ensured that at least one African American firm, vendor or supplier would be hired to help with this project, especially since ISC acquired public funds from Volusia County and Daytona Beach for the project.

And Lesa Dawn France Kennedy receives, “Most Powerful Women In Sports” accolades - for what?

If you read between the lines of what Councilman Daniels says, it seems as if this was a $40 million dollar public funds shakedown by ISC. Especially when you consider the fact ISC did not ask for any public funds initially for “One Daytona”, nor did they ask for public funds to cover any of the costs for the $400 million “Daytona Rising” project.

But if you look deeper, you will notice ISC’s biggest gain will come from receiving property tax abatements and impact fee reimbursements. These items are very crucial to developers, and the first items of redevelopment negotiation.

In January of this year, Phoenix Raceway, ISC owned since 1997, announced its $178 million redevelopment project to modernize the facility with a new fan zone, stadium seats, pedestrian tunnel and redesigned midway.

The ISC board of directors approved the $178 million spend late in their 4th quarter of 2016.

Even though this redevelopment project is also promoted as “privately” funded by ISC, they did receive $7.2 million of Avondale, Arizona tax payer money to connect water and sewer lines during an earlier redevelopment project.

This is seemingly ISC’s ammo when it comes to redevelopment of “their” racing facilities!

They want these communities to have some financial skin in the game, and they hold communities hostage with the threat of not continuing to hold their races in these cities and states if they do not get what they want.

When Avondale, the city in which Phoenix International Raceway is located, The Gold Water Institute labeled this expenditure as “wasteful spending”.

In an article written by David Madrid (The Republic), Byron Schlomach, chief economist at the Goldwater Institute was quoted saying, “it is odd that a business asks for money in order to invest its own money in a project.”

Phoenix International Speedway President, Bryan Sperber said, “ISC did not want to invest in upgrades for the track without access to better-quality water and the sewer line. Money that could have come to the raceway over the years went to other race facilities.”

That statement pretty much sums up, ISC’s “bullying” tactics to ensure their ability to receive whatever they want.

But consider this, eight of the 13 race tracks ISC own have two scheduled NASCAR Monster Energy Cup dates which include the following tracks (Daytona, Talladega, Texas Motor Speedway, Richmond Raceway, Martinsville Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Michigan Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway).

No matter what, ISC will NEVER give up a scheduled race date at one of their owned facilities - so the threat of them pulling a date is simply preposterous, but it still gets folks wound up to find public funding.

In the same article, unnamed city officials stated “A deal between Avondale and PIR will drastically change the face of the racing facility, and ensure the two annual NASCAR races stay in Avondale and bring more revenue to the city.”

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who also drinks ISC’s economic empowerment Kool-Aid said, “PIR’s annual economic impact to Arizona is vital. The local jobs and revenue generated by this construction project will be a win for race-goers and a win for this great state. Investments like this continue to underscore Arizona’s great business climate and prove that our state is open for business.”

Avondale’s economic development director, Dan Davis said, “The agreement with PIR will benefit the city by keeping the NASCAR races in Avondale. The tracks impact on the city can be as much as $500,000 per race.”

And that my friends is the critical component as to why cities and states pay out millions of state tax payer dollars, to a multi-billion dollar, publicly traded company - it is because of the economic empowerment NASCAR races bring to these cities and states!

It all boils down to the “MO’MONEY, MO’MONEY, MO’MONEY” syndrome.

And theoretically, there really isn’t anything wrong with that line of thinking.

It is very logical actually!

The issue stems from, and no one holds their feet to the fire, but when ISC, a publicly traded company, receives state tax payer funding - why are they not required to hire an African American firm, vendor or supplier for state funded redevelopment projects of ISC’s owned racing facilities?

Rossetti, a Detroit based architecture firm, teamed with DLR Group for Phoenix International Raceway’s project, while Okland Construction, headquartered in Tempe, Arizon with an office in Utah serves as the general contractor, however, Barton Malow, will play a “minor role” in association with Okland.

We mention this information, because to absolutely no one’s surprise, ISC, led by Lesa Dawn France Kennedy, did not hire one African American firm, vendor or supplier to assist with this project.

And Lesa Dawn France Kennedy receives, “Most Powerful Women In Sports” accolades?

Again we ask, for what?

On second thought, Lesa Dawn France Kennedy may actually be showcasing why she may be considered “Most Powerful Women In Sports”, because she can get city and state governments to cower to her demands for public funding, and she systematically discriminates against African American businesses to work on ISC’s redevelopment projects without receiving any penalty.

When you consider the billions of dollars ISC and NASCAR come in contact with on an annual basis, and you take into account there are 44 million African Americans in this country, with nearly $1.3 trillion dollars in annual spending power - how is it possible, in the year 2017, a publicly traded company can receive state tax payer dollars, without significantly engaging this segment of the population within the United States of America?

Honestly, how is that possible, especially in this day and age?

Lesa Dawn France Kennedy, can you understand why questions the credibility of you receiving “Most Powerful Women In Sports” accolades?


Clearly, one can now comprehend why Mr. Cox, initially, filed a $500 million federal racial discrimination lawsuit against ISC, the 19 member Team Charter and NASCAR.

At the end of the day, everyone who has reaped ridiculous wealth while being associated with ISC/NASCAR are plain and simply greedy, callously greedy!

Just so you readers are aware, according to Forbes Magazine, Lesa Dawn France Kennedy has an 18% ownership stake in NASCAR and a personal net worth approaching $875 million.

Well let’s continue, because we have unearthed more nauseating information regarding ISC’s bullying tactics to threaten communities with taking away a NASCAR race date, in order to get whatever “infrastructure” funding they need from the public sector.

Here’s how the ISC race track redevelopment “shell game” is played.


Tax abatements can be defined as either the forgiving of taxes by government or their deferral to a later predetermined date. The amount of abatement is typically determined as a percentage of tax payable or as a dollar amount of the tax attributable to the particular parcel receiving the abatement.

The length of abatements can vary, though most state laws set a limit of 10 or 12 years as the maximum time taxes can be forgiven or deferred.

Abatements can be given to businesses for a variety of purposes, including economic development (the increasing of jobs or the area tax base), and the resulting benefits from businesses that come to an area as a result of such tax incentives can include construction of public facilities and infrastructure (such as streets and roads), and the redevelopment of blighted areas.

Tax abatements have become a common, almost standard tool for cities to attract businesses to their area. When one city chooses to use tax abatements as a method to lure business, it puts increasing pressure on neighboring cities to do the same or else risk losing valued business and jobs as firms flock to where they can procure the most benefits.

Thus the decision of where businesses will locate can become a game not of where a business would best operate and function but of where a business can receive the most free handouts.

Oh this sounds familiar.

Does anyone remember NASCAR’s charade of what city will be awarded the NASCAR Hall of Fame?

How did that work out Charlotte?

A common criticism of the use of tax abatements is that they are handed out indiscriminately. It is often the large corporations that receive the most lucrative tax incentives; a situation that has led to what some critics term corporate welfare.

Another criticism of tax abatements is their ineffectiveness. It is hard to gauge the success of tax incentives, given the inability to know what the alternative situation would have been had the tax incentives not been provided.

By handing out tax breaks to already wealthy corporations, the tax burden in a community is then made heavier and shifted to local residents and area businesses.

State and city officials have grown so used to using tax incentives as a method for economic development that they have become an established tool.

And a corporate bullying mechanism for ISC.

Providing tax abatements in an effort to attract or retain an area business is also a tangible action for state and city officials to point to and use as evidence, to their constituents, that they tried to help the community.

Which is why in nearly every sound bite, or quoted statement regarding ISC’s redevelopment for one of their race tracks, the issue of money is the commonality statement.

Case and point!

In August of 2010, it was announced that Martinsville Speedway, an ISC owned track since 2004, would continue hosting two NASCAR races for the next five years.

This announcement was a major relief, to the track, owned by ISC, after years of speculation Martinsville might lose one of their race weekends.

Here is a quote by Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Bill Bolling, in an article written by Damien Sordelett of The News and Advance, from a press announcement.

“We were determined to do anything we reasonably could do to make sure we maintained these two Sprint Cup races at Martinsville every year,” Bolling said. “We had a willing partner in International Speedway Corporation. ISC, I think, understands that Southern Virginia is a part of the home of NASCAR. They understand that these short track races are important and once we were able to show them that we were willing to step up to the plate and be a partner in the effort, they responded very positively.”

Did you catch that?

Lt. Governor of Virginia, Bill Bolling quote excerpt:

“...once we were able to show them that we were willing to step up to the plate and be a partner in the effort, they responded very positively.”

Well here is how the Commonwealth stepped up for ISC, and why they chose to respond very positively.

The Commonwealth provided them $2 million per year; that’s $10 million of state tax payer money, over five years, to improve the Martinsville race experience, with $400,000 going toward improving the local roads and highways, which included a new ramp on U.S. Route 58 adjacent to the speedway.

Additionally, the Virginia Tourism Corporation invested $200,000 in a marketing campaign for NASCAR in Virginia to help promote the four annual NASCAR Monster Energy Cup race weekends in Richmond and Martinsville, while the Virginia Tobacco Commission provided another $1.5 million grant.

Anytime ISC’s “forgiven” or “deferred” tax abatements come due, they “strong arm” renegotiate with the community in which a NASCAR race is held, in an effort to receive further tax abatements for the land in which the race track is on, as well as ensure receipt of publicly funded incentives.

It is safe to say, if Lesa Dawn France Kennedy is not satisfied, then the likelihood of loosing a race becomes very plausible.

But again, make no mistake about it, if a NASCAR date were to free up it would come from one of the three tracks (Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway or New Hampshire Motor Speedway) Bruton Smith owns through Speedway Motorsports, Inc. that hosts two NASCAR Monster Energy Cup series races.

In our research concerning Richmond Raceway’s $30 million infield redevelopment project, was unable to uncover the true overall cost of public funds incurred by the citizens of Richmond for redevelopment.

However, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, on July 11th announced that Richmond Raceway would receive $150,000 grant from the state funded Virginia Tourism Growth Fund, three-times as much as it received in 2015, to assist with the development of the “Virginia Is For Racing Lovers” interactive welcome area, as part of the new infield.

This is what Governor McAuliffe said at the press conference, as reported by Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“This is the first step in what I view as a redevelopment of the entire area,” McAuliff said. “If we look at the next five, 10 or 20 years, I envision this whole area developed into a gigantic entertainment district.”

Which leads to believe the citizens of Richmond are about to be bamboozled by ISC, the same way Volusia County and Daytona Beach were out of $40 million with “One Daytona”, in the very near future.

So this all comes back to you New York Governor Cuomo. How will you protect the state of New York from being corporately bullied by ISC and NASCAR?

In a letter obtained by, we provide an excerpt of what was written to Governor Cuomo by Dr. Luonne Abram Rouse, New York civil rights leader and lead organizer for the Clergy For Minority Youth Matters Movement in opposition to Governor Cuomo providing $3 million to ISC.


I write this letter, on behalf of the Clergy For Minority Youth Matters Movement, in complete opposition to the state of New York providing $2.25 million of tax payer dollars to the International Speedway Corporation (ISC), a multi-billion dollar, publicly traded company, who owns Watkins Glen International, for the benefit of track safety upgrades and modernization of the facility to host NASCAR and INDYCAR events; in addition to the $463,500 dollars of sponsorship to promote "I LOVE NEW YORK".

Our opposition stems from the systematic discrimination of both NASCAR and INDYCAR for not having significant African American presence within their organizations, in particular no drivers, crew chiefs or team owners - but yet and still they promote equality and inclusion!

International Speedway Corporation does not, and has not, utilized minority vendors or suppliers when it comes to their race track improvements, which prompted a “Prayer Intercession” in Daytona when they did not employ any minority vendors or suppliers for their $400 million renovation project called Daytona Rising - and there is no reason to discredit the notion ISC/NASCAR did not hire one African American owned business for Watkins Glen International's improvements. To note, this is an organization that still allows confederate flags to be flown on the grounds of their races.


Your willingness to partner the state with International Speedway Corporation/Watkins Glen International, will undoubtedly elicit the same emotionally callous race fan to Watkins Glen for the “I LOVE NEW YORK 355”, which will not be a welcoming environment for African Americans or any other minority who may potentially visit the Finger Lakes region of New York and attend the race.

Governor Cuomo, you have been quoted as saying, “I believe racism still exists in society, and we must fight it in every form.”

Well, respectfully, these words are a direct contradiction of your actions.

Please do not favor the use of New York tax payer dollars for economic gain by supporting these two discriminant racing series’, and motorsports facility.

As Governor of the great state of New York, you now have an opportunity to demonstrate preemptive measures for not supporting organizations or industries that continue to display unfair practices in a broken system of racial and ethnic stratification.

Just so you are aware of the seriousness of our opposition to NASCAR and INDYCAR’s discriminant practices, the Clergy For Minority Youth Matters Movement are the lead organizers for a class action lawsuit.

The current tide of discrimination within motorsports has to turn, and never again be a threat of a tidal wave of injustices against people of New York or any citizen of the United States of America, who have been through the storms of life, who have seen their wings clipped as they soar towards success.

What will it take for us to see reparation that would level the field for justice and fairness?

Must we always litigate for rights that were inherent to all human beings?

Do us good, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and support our cause and intelligent piety against racism as witnessed in NASCAR and INDYCAR.

Our prayers be upon you and your staff.

Dr. Luonne Abram Rouse
Clergy For Minority Youth Matters Movement

Governor Cuomo, the $3 million dollar question is - are you willing to demonstrate preemptive measures to not continue supporting ISC/NASCAR with New York tax payer dollars, especially when ISC and NASCAR do not hire at least one African American firm, vendor or supplier?

Our suggestion is to get the citizens of New York’s money back!

Be an example!

Set an example!

And if you choose not to request getting the citizens of New York’s money back, showing fiscal responsibility, then we call upon the New York City Council to ask for your resignation.

What say you New York City Council member: Margaret Chin, Rosie Mendez, Corey Johnson, Daniel Garodnick, Ben Kallos, Helen Rosenthal, Mark Levine, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Bill Perkins, Ydanis Rodriguez, Andrew Cohen, Andy King, James Vacca, Fernando Cabrera, Ritchie Torres, Vanessa Gibson, Rafael Salamanca Jr., Annabel Palma, Paul Vallone, Peter Koo, Julissa Ferraras-Copeland, Cost Constantinides, Barry Grodenchik, Rory Lancman, Daniel Dromm, Jimmy Van Bramer, Daneek Miller, Karen Koslowitz, Elizabeth Crowley, Donovan Richards, Eric Ulrich, Stephen Levin, Antonio, Reynoso, Laurie Cumbo, Robert Cornegy Jr., Rafael Espinal Jr., Carlos Menchaca, Brand Lander, Mathieu Eugene, Darlene Mealy, Inez Barron, Vincent Gentile, David Greenfield, Jumaane Williams, Alan Maisel, Mark Treyger, Chaim Deutsch, Deborah Rose, Steven Matteo, Joseph Borelli

Now we realize all of this information will be tough to digest, but if you believe Governor Cuomo of New York, Governor Ducey of Arizona and Governor McAuliffe of Virginia has displayed a gross sense of negligence with regards to utilizing state tax payer dollars to support a family owned motorsport entertainment business for, in essence, facility capital improvements.

Then you will be absolutely dismayed to learn about the abomination of fiscal negligence by former Indiana Governor and now Vice-President of the United States of America, Michael Richard Pence, when he signed Indiana House Bill 1544 into law on May 10, 2013, which provided Hulman and Company, the family who owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the INDYCAR sanctioning body, with $100 million dollars of Indiana state tax payer money for capital improvements on the (then) 104 year old facility!


According to a proposal deck from Hulman & Company, presented to the Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee on February 14, 2013, examples of potential investments of the $100 million for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are as follows.

Facility and Building Renovations and Additions                                       $30 million
Campus Access Changes - parking, tunnels and gates                             $20 million
Facility Lighting                                                                                    $20 million
Grandstand changes and enhancements                                                 $15 million
Video boards                                                                                        $15 million
ADA compliance                                                                                   $10 million

So understand this clearly, Hulman & Company received $100 million dollars of Indiana state tax payer dollars.

This includes the present 591,397 African American tax payers, who for decades were discriminated against by the Ku Klux Klan, whereas this despicable organization had even infiltrated the highest ranks of Indiana city and state government, and controlled these same Indiana African Americans from attending and/or participating in the Indianapolis 500 - but now they have been forced to endure the bewildering legislative actions of former Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

When you read how the law was written, Hulman & Company really does not have to pay the state back.

Nevertheless, with NASCAR just having ran the 24th annual Brickyard 400, where no African American driver has ever competed, the race finished under near darkness.

With that said, we are researching now to see how IMS has been spending the $100 million dollars thus far, especially since facility lighting was a priority.