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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

How Does It Look?

Danny Hakim reports in the Times this morning that Governor Paterson met with the Rev. Floyd Flake on Monday morning and sounded him out about his political support.

Despite the statement by the governor’s spokeswoman that an endorsement had not come up, Mr. Flake said that he and the governor agreed that because of the Aqueduct deal, “it would probably be more difficult to make the endorsement.” And, he added, “we did discuss how that might look to other people.”
As you may know, Flake is an investor in Aqueduct Entertainment Group.

How might that look? Let's see. According to Hakim, the meeting was the first between the two in the two years since Paterson became governor. It came on the very first business morning after the governor made the Big A announcement under the relative press shroud of a late Friday afternoon; which, in turn, came a week after Flake told the Times that Andrew Cuomo would "be a great governor.” And that was a sudden turnaround for Paterson after months of delay during which, according to many press reports, he held out steadfastly for SL Green.

Whatsmore, Hakim reports:
In fact, the Aqueduct Entertainment Group received poor ratings in a ranking of the bidders compiled by the state’s Lottery Division, according to several people with knowledge of the process. The Lottery Division refused to release the document or make its director, Gordon Medenica, available for comment.
That beside the fact that AEG was offering $100 million less that the top bidder.

So, how does it look?
Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, a government watchdog group, said the meeting between Mr. Paterson and Mr. Flake “raises a red flag.”

“What’s amazing to me as an observer of what goes on is the blatancy of it,” she said.

9 Comments:

Anonymous said...

A "man of the cloth" investing in a casino? Surely he didn't have to put up very much cash.

RG

Anonymous said...

Hakin should now write an article pointing out the political connections of Delaware North, which are immense, and SL Green which also immense. Lets be honest all the bidders had lobbyists and connections to the power brokers in Albany.

I see this as an attach by sore losers.

SaratogaSpa said...

Anon...be careful now, we all know a "man of the cloth" are holy and honest people..Just look at the Rev. Al Sharpton..

alan said...

To Anon 10:42 - I've noticed you've left a few comments now referring to "sore losers," and you no doubt make a fair point about the connections that the other bidders have. However, in this case, Hakim is reporting about a meeting that, given its timing almost immediately after the announcement creates the unavoidable appearance of impropriety, even if it's totally innocent. Especially from a governor who just vetoed an ethics bill for being insufficient.

Anonymous said...

Rev.Floyd Flake, Just remember the last time the Big A had 90,000 people The Pope was there!

Anonymous said...

Fred Flake is a sacred cow. Just black corruption instead of Shelly Silver corruption.

Anonymous said...

Bettor wait a minute

By FREDRIC U. DICKER in Albany and CARL CAMPANILE in NY

Last Updated: 11:46 AM, February 3, 2010

Posted: 3:14 AM, February 3, 2010

Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos yesterday moved to halt the award of a contract to build a slot-machine casino at Aqueduct race track -- suggesting Gov. Paterson's selection of a Queens-based business consortium reeked of favoritism and election-year politics.

Skelos demanded Senate hearings into the governor's decision to award the Aqueduct "racino" contract to Aqueduct Entertainment Group -- whose partners include powerhouse Queens minister and former Rep. Floyd Flake.

"This is probably the largest faith-based initiative I've ever seen in terms of funding to a group," said Skelos (R-Nassau), only half in jest.

Flake -- pastor of Greater Allen A.M.E. church in Jamaica -- hails from one of the largest black constituencies in the state, sources said.

He has not declared whom he would back in a potential Democratic primary for governor between Paterson and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

"There potentially could be a conflict of interest," Skelos told reporters in the state Capitol. "The discussions right now have all been behind closed doors. It wasn't vetted in a public way."

Skelos questioned whether AEG had the resources or experience to run a gambling facility.

"Let's make it a success rather than a temporary thing to either employ people or solve some political needs that may exist out there," Skelos said, referring to Paterson.

AEG's ties to the governor include:

* Carl Andrews, a former top aide to Paterson, who was hired as a top AEG lobbyist. Since last spring, he has been paid $7,500 a month to win support for the project in the Legislature.

* Another investor in AEG, Darryl Greene of the Darman Group, who is a former business partner of Paterson chum and Senate President Malcolm Smith, a Flake protégé from southeastern Queens.

Greene was convicted in 1999 of stealing $500,000 from city agencies.

Skelos said he was concerned about the relationship between the key players in the AEG bid and a state-funded not-for-profit group called New Direction Local Development -- first outlined in Sunday's Post.

The Post reported that Smith funneled thousands of dollars in state grants to New Directions Local Development Corp, whose founding members included Greene's wife, Cathy.

For his part, Paterson denied any sweetheart deal in his selection of AEG.

"I don't think Reverend Flake's involvement with them had anything to do with it," Paterson said.

"There was a deadlock. I myself did not have a preference. Time had long since worn out and I was trying to break the deadlock and that was the best thing that I could do."

Additional reporting by Brendan Scott in Albany

fredric.dicker@nypost.com

Aqueduct Entertainment Group’s ties to Gov. Paterson

REV. FLOYD FLAKE: Powerful Queens black minister and former congressman, an AEG Partner. A friend of Paterson, who would like to have his endorsement for governor.

CARL ANDREWS: AEG lobbyist who is a former top Paterson aide and Brooklyn state senator. Forced out of administrative job last year after being accused of meddling in State Liquor Authority license proceeding for Cipriani.

SENATE PRESIDENT MALCOLM SMITH: Flake protégé whose former firm, the Darman Group, is part of AEG consortium. Paterson chum in Senate for many years.

DARRYL GREENE: Principal in Darman Group and former Smith business partner. Convicted in 1999 of defrauding city agencies.

http://www.nypost.com/f/print/news/local/bettor_wait_minute_lHnFr3KBwj6wseJkbc6clJ

Anonymous said...

this is way beyond "sore losers". This had a big smell about it the moment it was announced and the stench grows stronger.
Thank goodness the Speaker was "conditional" in his ok. Now that the NY Times is on it, Silver will no doubt revisit and redirect this thing before it's too late and before this blows up. That's a good thing because a scandal of this proportion could otherwise take NY racing down with it.







'
' acceptance" of the Speaker to the deal can now be

Anonymous said...

They're all up to their necks in it. I remember reading the 2007 Inspector-General's report into the integrity of the bidders for Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga and the report saying there were no political contributions or lobbying of significance etc etc by the bidders. I then ran a couple of the bidders names through the NYC Lobbyists search only to find that they had in fact been employing lobbyists all along. Example Capital Play Inc - Inspector General's report says "no lobbying contracts" but NYC Lobbyists register shows $117,500 paid to one lobbyist that same year.

http://nyc.gov/lobbyistsearch/search?client=Capital+Play+

The same thing applies now. They dirty money is just being channeled through other avenues.