Report from NY Solicitor General Finds Elected Officials Rigged Aqueduct Bidding Process

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New York State's highest-ranking elected officials rigged the bidding process for an unqualified gaming company seeking a lucrative contract to bring gambling to Aqueduct race track. That's the conclusion of a new report by the state's Inspector General Joseph Fisch.

Those involved in selecting Aqueduct Entertainment Group included Governor Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson. Fisch said the bidding process was entirely political.

"They all together with the governor had one continuency and one constituency only, and that was the state of New York," Fisch said. "And their responsibility to that one constituency was betrayed."

The report also found expert advice from the state's Division of Lottery was ignored, and that the company benefited from leaks by top state officials. The Inspector General has referred his findings to the Manhattan District Attorney and federal prosecutors who were already investigating the deal.

In a statement, Gov. Paterson's spokesman said the administration was still reviewing the report. He added that Paterson had set a new selection process in motion, which resulted in a new vendor being selected that produced $380 million for the state coffers.

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