by Blood-Horse Staff
Under intense scrutiny for his decision granting a contract to Aqueduct Entertainment Group to operate video lottery gaming at Aqueduct race track, New York Gov. David Paterson on Feb. 16 released a large volume of documents related to the contract.
In a statement accompanying the release of the documents, Paterson’s office cited a a broad range of criteria, including gaming expertise, community support, and marketing appeal for awarding the contract to AEG. According to a statement from Paterson’s office, AEG was the best choice in many of the areas used to determine the contract holder.
While the documents provide much more information about the bidding process and decision to select AEG, some information, including proprietary AEG business information, was redacted before the material was made public.
According to various media reports in New York, Paterson has been criticized for choosing the politically connected and little-known Aqueduct Entertainment Group. The controversy over the VLT contract centers around the involvement of the Rev. Floyd Flake, who is part of the AEG team, according to various newspapers. The reports state that Flake initially said he would endorse Andrew Cuomo for New York governor before meeting with Paterson, who then awarded the Aqueduct contract to AEG.
The New York Observer reported that the state determined AEG did not have a "tremendously strong bid, at least financially," based on estimates and other figures supplied by the bidders themselves.
However, an e-mail from the state budget office lists AEG as having the lowest "present value" to the state of the five bidders at $2.9 billion, according to the Observer. After a revised projection, it lists AEG as having the best "net present value" to the state—at $3.6 billion, the newspaper reported.
In addition to the action by Paterson’s office, earlier in the day AEG released documents that included correspondence with the governor’s office.