Government Questions Jay-Z’s Involvement in ‘Racino’ Project
Jay-Z's recent investment in the new "racino" project -- a plan to bring slot machines to the old Aqeduct Racetrack in Queens, NY -- has come under fire recently. A federal probe is aiming to figure out if the Brooklyn rapper's affiliation with New York Governor David Paterson had any impact on his decision to invest with development company, Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG). The company made headlines recently for winning the right to bring gambling to the racetrack, after previously being low on the totem pole of contenders to win the project.
Last summer, Jay and Governor Patterson became chummy, especially after sharing a podium to announce the rapper's 9/11 tribute concert at MSG in August. They developed a friendship, and were even spotted together in the Hamptons. Sources say that a few days after hanging out with the governor, Jay-Z was pushed by AEG's chairman to buy a 7 percent stake in the company, even though he had previously considered teaming up with casino mogul Steve Wynn to participate in the project.
Despite accusations that AEG specifically recruited Jay-Z in order to be in the Mayor's good graces, the company claims that they had no agenda when they signed Hov. "Given [Jay-Z's] superstardom and his long and deep connection to New York, the partners thought he could bring a unique perspective to shaping a facility that would truly be an entertainment destination," an AEG spokesman said. "The partners were looking to bring in someone who could bring marketing and community advice to the team.