State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans) was among three senators served with a subpoena by the state inspector general’s office relating to the office’s investigation of how the video lottery terminal contract at Aqueduct Race Track was awarded.
Smith and state Sens. John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) and Pedro Espada (D-Bronx) filed a lawsuit last week in Manhattan Supreme Court challenging the legality of the subpoenas. The senators claim the inspector general only has jurisdiction over the executive branch of government and not the legislative branch.
The subpoenas and the lawsuit were posted last week on a blog published by the Albany Times-Union, which said the subpoenas were turned over after a briefing with reporters from the Senate Democrats’ lawyer in Albany.
The subpoenas served to Espada and Sampson ask the senators to list any campaign contributions they received from anyone involved in the five bidding groups that sought the VLT contact. But Smith’s subpoena did not ask for that information.
Sampson received $2,500 in October 2009 from Douglaston-based Levine Builders — a firm involved in Aqueduct Entertainment Group, the winning bidder for the VLT contact until the deal fell apart last month.
The three were also ordered to hand over documents, e-mails, internal memos, telephone logs and calendar notations relating to the proposals to install and operate the VLTs at Aqueduct.
The deal between Aqueduct Entertainment Group and the state for the VLT contract fell through last month after the state Lottery Division refused to grant the consortium a gaming license.
The deal was scrutinized after the politically powerful southeast Queens minister and former congressman, the Rev. Floyd Flake, who had a 0.6 percent interest in AEG, met with Gov. David Paterson just days after the agreement was made.
Flake had said earlier he was open to supporting state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for governor.
But Paterson has since canceled his plans to run for election and Flake and rap superstar Jay-Z severed their ties with AEG.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2010 Community News Group
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