Aqueduct will become a big campaign chip
Jun 22, 2010 | 14597 views | 0 0 comments | 386 386 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The news over the controversial pick of Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG) to run a future casino - or as it has been dubbed a “racino” - full of video lottery terminals just keeps getting worse.

Now it's being reported that before the selection was made, the Democratic boss in the State Senate, John Sampson, handed over internal documents to former State Senator Carl Andrews, who was working as a lobbyist for AEG. After getting a peek at the leaked documents, AEG decided it might be a good idea to up their bid, and the group was ultimately selected.

Because the process was so unseemly and stunk to high heaven, AEG eventually lost the contract and the project is now out to bid in a more stringent process, and a new operator is expected to be selected this summer.

And because the process that selected AEG was so messed up, casual, and involved so many people with little oversight, it's unlikely that Governor David Paterson or Sampson or anybody else involved in the whole muddy mess will have to face criminal charges or even much scrutiny and criticism.

Unless you ask Anthony Como!

Como jumped on the new revelation about the leak to lash out at State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr., who he will be challenging come November. Addabbo's district, the one Como hopes to represent, is home to Aqueduct Racetrack, and even though Addabbo's name was never connected to the leaked reports and the whole disorderly process to pick a bidder started long before he took office, it didn't stop Como from implicating him in a statement he sent out last week.

Como charges that Addabbo “abandoned us while Albany dishonesty hits right here in Queens” and that he isn't “standing up” for the residents of the borough. Of course, Como's comments are simply a candidate seizing at the opportunity to lash out at an incumbent, as any good candidate is wont to do. However, it does highlight an interesting facet of this race.

A bidder to run the Aqueduct racino should be selected this summer, months before the election. If that process goes smoothly and people are happy with the selection and the proposal, that could be a big boost for Addabbo, who can step up and say that he helped fix a flawed project and in the end the community benefitted.

If, on the other hand, Albany manages to screw this up like they have the tendency to do, it could prove disastrous for Addabbo even if he had very little input, and Como will no doubt bring up the issue at every single town hall, civic meeting, and debate in the weeks leading up to the election.

The forthcoming Aqueduct decision could actually prove to be the biggest factor in the race between Como and Addabbo.

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