- Another press event at the Big A, on Thursday, this time to break ground on the construction of the racino.
Elected officials, union representatives and South Queens residents will launch project creating 2,100 jobs and generating more than $300 million in annual state revenue.Governor Paterson will be among the scheduled speakers. On Tuesday, the governor proudly proclaimed that the AEG report "clears me of any wrongdoing, which I am very happy about." And it's true. Sure, he was criticized for acquiescing to the Senate Democrats' demand; but, on the other hand, the report emphasized just how insistent they were being. He was also criticized for choosing the advisors who chose not to advise him of the pertinent information provided by the Lottery. And that's fair I suppose, if a little bit of a stretch. But I'd say that he definitely comes off as the most innocent of the elected officials portrayed in the report....not that that's saying too much.
I'm gonna guess that neither Senator John Sampson nor Malcolm Smith will be there. Nor even Senator Eric Adams, even though you'd normally expect the chairperson of the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee to be present to mark such a long awaited and significant occasion. But the AEG report concluded that Adams "was instrumental in persuading the Governor in January 2010 that the Senate was standing firm with its choice of AEG." Among other things, that makes the fact that Adams was one of the senators who was targeted to receive donations from AEG particularly concerning. And Adams was another whose testimony was labeled "incredible," "regarding a pivotal dinner with the Governor and Senator Sampson which was contradicted by both Governor Paterson and Senator Sampson, in an apparent effort to limit his involvement and responsibility in the choice of AEG."
I would expect however to see Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. appear, even though he drew attention in the report too for being ignorant on pertinent facts of the situation even though he represents the district.
I dunno, if I was a Democrat, with the election coming up in a few days, I personally wouldn't want to be anywhere near that track on Thursday morning. Sure, we have what appears to be a happy ending, with a big upfront fee, an enthusiastic and cooperative vendor, and creation of jobs. But isn't it too soon after too damaging a report, and too close for comfort, to an election, and to the subject at hand to be providing photo opportunities at this point?