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AUGUST 05 - AUGUST 13, 2014

Hornblower Lawyer "We Will Pay $100M more than Glynn!"

By Richard Jacobs

August 05, 2014

Richard Jacobs
Vice President and General Counsel, Hornblower Cruises


In regard to your article "Will Historic Hornblower Appeal Finally Sink Glynn's Maid of the Mist?" (July 29, 2014) I have three comments:

First, Hornblower Cruises was never in a position to actually make a formal or official $100 million greater offer to the New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation because they never put the license out to bid. What we have consistently said, however, is that if, given a chance to bid, we will offer at least $100 million more over the life of the contract than Maid of the Mist is paying. I don't know that this is a critical point, but, of course, no one can possibly know what the real benefit would have been in a public bidding process.

Second, I've always been struck by the State of New York's quote (towards the end of your article) stating that Hornblower is only acting to eliminate Maid of the Mist from competition and for Hornblower to position itself favorably for future negotiations with New York. That is nonsense. All Hornblower has ever asked for, and all we are asking for in the appeal, is a chance to compete in an open and fair bidding process. That process isn't "negotiations." Instead, it is simply public bidding----which, as the Canadian experience demonstrated, resulted in a significantly better deal for the Niagara Parks Commission. We know that the NPC had been running at a deficit for a number of years (it is obligated to be self-supporting by Canadian law) and couldn't do many of the programs it wanted. Our bid plugged a big hole in the NPC's budget, and now allows them to do major things to benefit the Park system there. NY lost that same opportunity.

Third, I've also been struck by Maid of the Mist's position that the State is getting a "free" $32 million boatyard, since its agreement with NY obligated it to build the site and then turn title to it over to the State. If you look at the entire picture, however, it seems crystal clear that in fact the boatyard isn't "free," but costing the State $100 million or more---what it could have gotten if it had engaged in a public bidding process.





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