Jay-Z Involved in Race Track Pork Barrel Scheme?
It looks like the US Attorney's office is sticking its nose into the business dealings of hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and former U.S. Congressman Reverend Floyd Flake's Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG). The two were recently awarded the winning bid to contract and operate 4,000 video slot machines at the Aqueduct Race Track in Queens, New York. Allegations are being made that the two only received the winning bid due to their relationships with Governor Paterson, who is accused of awarding the contract to AEG in order to gain political support from the company's investors.
Jay and AEG supposedly bid much less then rivals, offering the least amount of money and financial details while also making unrealistic financial projections. Another prominent figure in hip-hop, Russell Simmons, wound up on a losing team, acting as an advisor to Penn Gaming, who also put in a bid for the Aqueduct Race Track. It was reported that AEG's winning bid totaled in the $200 million vicinity for the license while competitors offered upwards of $300 million, including bonus incentives. All three men were reportedly subpoenaed yesterday (Mar. 2) by the Inspector General's office, which is working with the US Attorney's office in this matter. At press time Gov. Paterson and AEG have denied all allegations.
"People should focus on the community development, rather than the personalities of people involved," Rev. Flake said in a statement. "If the media frenzy drives the development process, then all of the good that could be born out of this possibility will be precipitously lost. From my 30-plus years as a developer in this community, I can tell you that media innuendo does not build projects; strong leaders and solid, well-financed ideas build projects. Aqueduct has the potential to use racing as a Trojan horse -- if you will -- to deliver on a long-elusive and sustainable goal of a new private sector driver of the local economy. To a great extent this reality is part of the rationale for my involvement."