Thursday, October 21, 2010

Should Skip Alston Resign? Should Linda Shaw? Should Brenda?

"Report Says State Senators Manipulated Casino Bidding

State Senate leaders manipulated the choice of who would build New York City’s first casino, leaking information and showing favoritism to a troubled bidder that was donating to Democratic candidates and had ties to key political figures...

Commissioners Chairman Melvin "Skip" Alston
says he trusts the manager if she says the position is needed.

Arnold should be allowed to apply and be judged on his merits, Alston said.

His history as a commissioner — and his history with Fox
— should not play into the decision.

...the inspector general described a chaotic and ultimately doomed process that was without formal rules or objective criteria, and was awash in “unrestrained political considerations,” lobbyists and targeted campaign contributions.

The report says that the bidder, a consortium called the Aqueduct Entertainment Group, or Aqueduct Entertainment, marshaled funds at the behest of the state’s Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, casting “a taint on the motives behind the Senate leadership’s support of Aqueduct Entertainment”
Kind of sounds like aquatic, doesn't it?

...“This process was doomed from the start, and at each turn, our state leaders abdicated their public duty, failed to impose ethical restraints and focused on political gain at a cost of millions to New Yorkers,” said Inspector General Joseph Fisch. “Shamefully, the public’s best interest was a matter of militant indifference to them.”

Commissioner Linda Shaw said she trusts the manager to know when a position needs to be filled and to fill it with the best applicant. She said Arnold should be allowed to apply and, if he's the best applicant, he should get the job. "Nobody knows the county better than Steve, I'll tell you that," she said. "He knows everything and everybody."

...The casino is now being built by a subsidiary of an international entertainment company, Genting New York, which won a follow-up competition. Among other pledges, Genting offered an up-front payment to the state of $380 million, which it has already paid.

Kind of like Ovation's payment to the Coliseum?

...The report concludes that Aqueduct Entertainment should have been disqualified from the start because of concerns about its financial stability and legal problems of some of its members. Instead, the governor’s office and Senate leaders ignored advice from the State Budget Office and the Division of t the Lottery to disregard Aqueduct Entertainment’s bid.

Does Skip and Linda want this to happen in Guilford County,
by hiring Steve Arnold?

...The inspector general found that an assistant to Mr. Aponte, the Senate secretary, leaked a Senate memo detailing the six competing bids to Hank Sheinkopf, an Aqueduct Entertainment lobbyist and a longtime political consultant, in May 2009. In November, Mr. Sampson disclosed more information about the bidders and their comparative rankings...

Why wouldn't Steve be tempted to do the same?

The report also said Mr. Sampson urged Aqueduct Entertainment to bring aboard a particular developer, Donald Cogsville.

Are we governed by morons?

Mr. Smith, who had publicly recused himself because his mentor, Mr. Flake, was a minor partner in Aqueduct Entertainment, demanded briefings from Senate staff on the bidding and advocated on behalf of Aqueduct Entertainment, the report added.

Sound like Skip's hotel?

...The rival bidders showered important legislators and the governor with more than $100,000 in political contributions, the report said...

Is this a motivation behind hiring Steve?

A lawyer for Mr. Sheinkopf, Henry Mazurek, did not deny that Mr. Sheinkopf received the bidding information. He did dispute any notion that any bidding material was “confidential.”

Could Brenda Jones Fox to say the same,
if confronted with conflicts of interest
after hiring Steve Arnold?

...The inspector general’s report said that Mr. Paterson’s counsel, Peter J. Kiernan, never disclosed to the governor that the state Lottery office, which was responsible for evaluating the bids, had considered Aqueduct Entertainment’s unacceptable, although Mr. Kiernan himself was often critical of the consortium’s bid.

Is this what Skip, Linda and Brenda want for our community?

Lawrence S. Schwartz, secretary to the governor, also ignored warning signals from the Division of the Lottery and the state budget office and failed to intervene in the disjointed process, the report said."


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