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Friday, January 29, 2010

Shoe Gazing

NYRA's Chief Operating Officer Hal Handel (the CEO in waiting in the view of one reader), will be hosting a live web chat tonight; so here's the chance for all you anonymous NYRA-haters to have at him. Here's the link. This is your shot, no excuses (unless you're going to see the legendary Mission of Burma at Bowery Ballroom, as I am).

I'm rather surprised that racing resumed here today given the freezing temperatures and howling winds here in the city today. Things started with a bang as Shoe Babe ($37.60) edged 3-5 favorite Sunday In Malibu in the opener. The winner was shipping in from Philly Park, where she ran in the same 25K NW3L class in her last race, but for a $27,000 purse rather than the $22,000 purse today. What's wrong with that picture?

I'm apparently not the only one who's finding it hard to look past the governor's role in the Aqueduct/NYRA mess; at least according to the local Queens Chronicle.

Though the governor remains unpopular, his favorability ratings are edging up because of his newfound fiscal restraint and focus on ethics reform. But many Queens residents and officials including fellow Democrats such as state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. of Howard Beach have had it up to here waiting for Paterson and legislative leaders to pick a vendor for the redevelopment of Aqueduct Race Track.

The ongoing delay saps any support Paterson has here and increases the once-remote possibility that Belmont could see lucrative video lottery terminals installed before Aqueduct. A scenario in which the eastern Long Island Shinnecock Indians could build a racino at Belmont, just over the border in Nassau, seems less the stuff of fiction than it had, as the tribe is racing to win the federal recognition it needs for gaming operations, while the Aqueduct plan remains stuck in the gate in Albany.

10 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Exclusive: Paterson gives 'racino' contract to AEG

http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/knickerbocker/exclusive_paterson_to_give_aqueduct_BBV5FrBHBVfLjGuj9uy52K

2:27 PM, January 29, 2010 ι BRENDAN SCOTT and FREDRIC U. DICKER

ALBANY – Gov. Paterson could as soon as this afternoon announce his decision to award a lucrative management contract for a Queens "racino" to the Aqueduct Entertainment Group, two sources told The Post.

The long-awaited announcement would come nearly a month after Paterson promised to make a pick "in the next week or so." At stake a $200 million up-front payment Paterson the governor and lawmakers are already counting on to balance this year's budget.

The sources said Paterson began notifying interested officials about his decision to name AEG yesterday afternoon, but has since left things hanging. A lobbyist involved in the talks said it appeared that the governor made the decision without notifying his top staff.

"We were told there was going to be a press release yesterday," the source said. "We were told there was going to be a press release this afternoon."

AEG's partners include former MGM executive Larry Woolf and Rev. Floyd Flake, the political mentor of Senate President Malcolm Smith (D-Queens). Other bidders included Delaware North, MGM Mirage, Penn National Gaming and S.L. Green.

Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson of Brooklyn has reportedly favored AEG throughout the process, but Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) is said to be apprehensive about the company. Both leaders have to sign off on any deal.

"We haven't made any announcement and if we have anything else to add I'll make sure to give you a call," Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook told The Post.

Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Chairman Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn) said he expected a decision imminently but he did not know what bidder Paterson would choose.

"To my knowledge, the governor's going to have to come out with something," Adams said. "We're all waiting on him now."

Anonymous said...

Great news. Looks like we finally have an operator for Aqueduct. I also am glad that it is one of the better operators and I am sure AEG will do a great job.

alan said...

>>Great news. Looks like we finally have an operator for Aqueduct.

I wouldn't bet on it. Tom Precious' report is far more nuanced, and personally, I find him far more credible than that right-wing rag.

>>But sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deal is far from done. For starters, there are some doubts whether Paterson indeed wants AEG or if he is trying to push the AEG bid in hopes someone else—namely the Assembly—shoots it down. Were that to happen, then the first choice of Paterson and some of his top advisors, SL Green, could then be pushed to the top, one theory goes.

Officials involved in the talks have raised concerns about the quality of the AEG bid and the level of its up-front cash payment. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat whose signature on any final choice is needed, has raised numerous doubts with Paterson and Senate negotiators about the AEG bid, not the least of which is that its bid is lower than others on the table. Officials involved in the talks say the Assembly is demanding a full vetting of AEG and its partners before any final selection is announced.

Anonymous said...

It's official: AEG is the Aqueduct Operator

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/

January 29, 2010 at 4:21 pm by James M. Odato

Gov. David Paterson recommended Aqueduct Entertainment Group, or AEG, as the the bidder to get a 4,500- machine racino contract at Aqueduct race track.

The AEG team includes some downstate construction concerns, Robert Johnson of Black Entertainment Network fame and Floyd Flake, the minster with a large congregation in the Queens region of the track and a favorite of Senate President Malcolm Smith, one of the three people who have to agree on a bidder.
Not so fast.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said he would give his required support if some conditions are met, said Dan Weiller, a spokesman. Those include that AEG raise its bid to $300 million, close to the top already offered by Penn National, from $200 million. He also wants to make sure that AEG’s entire team and key employees can pass Lottery’s vetting process, with no criminal histories in the past 15 years, and that AEG uses the footprint planned for development several years ago when MGM was going to build so that another environmental review isn’t necessary.

Paterson’s office responded by sending out this release:
“After an extensive review of the five remaining bids to operate the video lottery terminals at Aqueduct racetrack, I have chosen and the Leaders have agreed the organization that best fulfills our selection criteria. AEG has both the financial viability and ability to pay the required upfront licensing fee. AEG complied with every request made during the review process and addressed satisfactorily all matters related to licensing ability. All of the groups have valid proposals, but AEG presented a comprehensive bid that enjoys community support and also offers strong marketing appeal. I thank my colleagues in government for joining me in selecting AEG, so that the State may begin to benefit from the critical revenue stream that this important economic development project will generate.”

Anonymous said...

Statement from Governor David A. Paterson on the Selection of AEG to Operate the VLTs at Aqueduct Racetrack

* by New York State Office of the Governor

ALBANY, NY (01/29/2010)(readMedia)-- Governor David A. Paterson today announced that he and Legislative Leaders have selected Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG) to operate the video lottery terminals at Aqueduct Racetrack. He issued the following statement:

"After an extensive review of the five remaining bids to operate the video lottery terminals at Aqueduct racetrack, I have chosen and the Leaders have agreed the organization that best fulfills our selection criteria. AEG has both the financial viability and ability to pay the required upfront licensing fee. AEG complied with every request made during the review process and addressed satisfactorily all matters related to licensing ability. All of the groups have valid proposals, but AEG presented a comprehensive bid that enjoys community support and also offers strong marketing appeal. I thank my colleagues in government for joining me in selecting AEG, so that the State may begin to benefit from the critical revenue stream that this important economic development project will generate."

###

Additional news available at www.ny.gov/governor/press | High resolution images available at www.ny.gov/governor/mediaimages | password: paterson | New York State | Executive Chamber | press.office@chamber.state.ny.us | 212.681.4640 | 518.474.8418

Anonymous said...

Good news I think, although there still seems to be some uncertainty given Silver's comment about AEG raising the bid to $300M as a condition!

Anonymous said...

NY1 reporting that AEG has been chosen. Looks official now.

Anonymous said...

Not sure this is done, seems Penn Nat would have a valid lawsuit here,the rules were changed for the preferred bidder.

There also remains the question of the backgrounds checks, which if failed might throw the whole process back to the governor. It almost seems as if it was structured to fail in true Machiavellian fashion.

Select a winner to please certain consituents, fully knowing that they will never pass muster, at which time you fall back on your original selection?

Far from over, I fear.

Anonymous said...

Honestly does it matter what NY tracks get gambling wise, people want TO leave NY to go to Conneticut PA NJ. New York tracks are dead except Toga

Anonymous said...

"Not sure this is done, seems Penn Nat would have a valid lawsuit here,the rules were changed for the preferred bidder."

This is how the Marxist democrats work. Did you see Schumer at the SOTU? He looked like a Nazi when he was applauding Obama.