Silver may refuse to sign Aqueduct contract, pending federal probe

February 19, 2010 10:03AM

Amid an increasingly divisive probe into the state’s selection of Aqueduct Entertainment Group for the new Queens racino, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is reportedly having second thoughts about giving the deal his blessing. Silver, who initially had favored SL Green in the bidding process, may refuse to sign a “memorandum of understanding,” which is the legal agreement required to finalize the contract, the Post reported. “The speaker is leaving open the possibility that he won’t sign, depending on what new information emerges, on what the investigations find,” a source said. Silver ultimately caved to Governor Paterson and state Senate Democratic leader John Sampson in agreeing to back AEG for the slots deal, but insisted that the group pay additional state licensing fees upfront and that its top leaders and investors undergo criminal background checks. AEG partner Darryl Greene of the Darman Group then recused himself from the project because of a past criminal conviction. Earlier this week, documents released from Paterson’s office showed that AEG’s original bid for the project would have generated the least revenue for the state out of all the bidders. After the bidders were asked to revise their proposals, AEG’s bid ranked first in terms of state revenue. [Post]