Flake, Jay-Z abandon Aqueduct deal

From left: Jay-Z and Rev. Floyd Flake

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Rev. Floyd Flake and rapper Jay-Z have each withdrawn themselves from Aqueduct Entertainment Group amid ongoing federal and state investigations into the group’s controversial and surprise selection as the developer for the new Aqueduct racino in Queens. Flake had just a 0.6 percent stake in AEG, worth $625,000, but his involvement had come under close scrutiny in recent weeks as documents related to his affiliated groups were subpoenaed in the federal probe. “Unfortunately, my ongoing participation in Aqueduct Entertainment has become a distraction that has taken me and my attention away from the community projects I created and nurtured,” Flake said in a statement. Jay-Z had a 2 percent stake in the project through Gain Global Investments Network. The departure of two of AEG’s most high-profile players came yesterday just after the group announced that it would pay the state $300 million by March 31 and break ground as soon as possible. According to sources, the deadline for AEG to submit all of its applications to the state was Tuesday at noon. Still, speculation is growing that the deal is falling apart and that Governor David Paterson is mulling over whether to cancel it within days. [Crain’s]