Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Flaking Out

The great Aqueduct unraveling continues-with even the governor trying to distance himself from the mess he created. As the NY Daily News reports: "The group chosen to run the Aqueduct racino failed to clear all the state's hurdles and could be bounced as soon as Wednesday, the Daily News has learned. The news comes a day after high-profile investors Jay-Z and Queens Rev. Floyd Flake ran away from the project. The Lottery Division last night forwarded a memo to Gov. Paterson's chief of staff, Larry Schwartz, and chief counsel, Peter Kiernan, stating that Aqueduct Entertainment Group is "unlicensable" for numerous reasons, a source told The News."

What a shock! Symptomatic, though, of the larger dysfunctional sea in which this kind of policy making swims in: "A second source said Schwartz and Kiernan - who have final say for the administration after Paterson revealed yesterday he recused himself from any involvement in the project - had not made a final decision as of Tuesday night, but that "a decision could be made as early as [today] as to what the fate of AEG will be."

Paterson recuses himself? Well, recuse me! We frankly have never seen a decision maker recuse himself from making a decision that, well, he's already apparently made already. And what's the cause of the recusal? Is the AG looking into this mess as well-or the feds?

Here's the NY Times' take: "Answering reporters’ questions in Albany on Tuesday, Mr. Paterson said he had recused himself from the Aqueduct negotiations, following the advice of his lawyers. Asked whether he still thought Aqueduct Entertainment was the right choice, Mr. Paterson said he “certainly thought it was right at the time.” “Whether or not they are able to comply with the protocols is the same problem that one of the other companies was unable to do last year, and so we’ll just wait and see whether that application is valid,” the governor added."

Oy vey! This is enough to make anyone's head hurt-and Floyd Flake must have some migraine if he's walking away from a potential high six figure pay day: "In a prepared statement, Mr. Flake said he withdrew because the bid had become a distraction from his oversight of the church’s many operations, including a school, housing for the elderly and retail facilities."

All of which makes it pretty clear that any chance that AEG will somehow get to do a blippin' thing at the aging race track is the ultimate long shot-and you know what kind of sucker's bets those turn out to be.