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Queens Senate Slots Row Affecting Video Slot Machines Placement in Aqueduct Race Track

On October 25th, 2008, the close race for a Queens Senate slots vital to Republican domination of the chamber is helping trouble a $370 million agreement to introduce video slot machines to Aqueduct Race Track. Democratic Governor David Paterson and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos have not talked since when the Long Island Republican refused to back up Paterson's pick of Delaware North Cos. of Buffalo to manage the video slot machines at the racing track in Queens.

Paterson's office accused Majority Leader Skelos of letting political interests affect state finances. The Assembly's Democratic majority supports Paterson's decision. In the balance hangs the $370 million the company has offered to pay as an upfront to the state, which is facing a budget deficit as high as $2 billion this year.

The money could help some unnecessary spending cuts when lawmakers return for a special session after the November 4th, 2008 elections. Skelos recently met with Delaware North officials in Buffalo to see if they would change their proposal. Skelos said that he and Senator Serphin Maltese, a Queens Republican whose district includes Aqueduct, would not back Paterson's proposal unless there were more jobs and business opportunities for the community living around the track.

Skelos spokesperson John McArdle said that they have stated from day one when this was proposed on the table that this has to be a tourist destination in the area and economic improvement was important for this to succeed. McArdle said that what was surprising was the timing of the announcement from the governor. Before Paterson announced his pick, the governor backed Democratic Joe Addabbo, a city councilman, for the slot held by Maltese since 1988.

A senior aide of Paterson said that tensions have gradually increased over the previous days between Paterson and Skelos because of the legislative election. Skelos is also talking with other bidders in the project, who promised less money but a larger return in the long term. These bidders are SL Green, a developer working with Hard Rock Entertainment and Capital Play from Australia, working with the Mohegan Sun Casino.


Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Caroline Mitchell