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Guv dodging Aqueduct choice: Pols

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The state is losing $1 million a day in revenue for every day it stalls on choosing a vendor for video lottery terminals at Aqueduct Race Track, state Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale) and state Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (D-Rockaway Beach) told Community Board 10 last week.

Gov. David Paterson, who is supposed to give his preference for one of three bidders as he and the state Legislature ultimately decide on who gets the contract, is "not addressing the issue," Pheffer said.

"The governor has not taken the initiative at this point to say who he thinks is the best" bidder, the assemblywoman said.

She said Paterson's office first said the national party conventions would delay his decision and that Tuesday's primaries would again hold up the process.

"There's always some excuse that's taking the attention," Pheffer said.

Maltese said the incentive of losing $1 million a day for the state should compel Paterson to make a decision soon.

"We keep making the argument that $1 million in net education money is being lost every day," he said. "They keep telling us 'two more weeks.' "

Of the three bidders vying for the VLT contract — Capital Play, S.L. Green and Delaware North — Maltese said Delaware North was the only company not to be involved in the community.

He said both Capital Play and S.L. Green sent representatives to the Police Department's National Night Out Against Crime event last month.

"I think that indicates that we would be better off without Delaware North," Maltese said.

He said he fears Delaware North "will just worry about the VLTs" if it wins the contract and not the surrounding community.

Pheffer said Delaware North is offering $370 million upfront to the state.

S.L. Green's bid includes $250 million upfront and Capital Play is proposing to pay $100 million upfront.

The New York Racing Association, which is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, owns the land encompassing Aqueduct and adjacent acreage that both Maltese and Pheffer said has been neglected by the agency.

They said homeowners near the track have been maintaining that part of the property and Pheffer said those homeowners are interested in buying that land.

Pheffer said the bankruptcy court has said NYRA must sell the land outside the racetrack and auction it off.

But the homeowners remain unsure if they can buy the land until Paterson makes a decision.

"We can't say to adjoining homeowners what's going to be," Pheffer said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

Posted 6:38 pm, October 10, 2011
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