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N.Y. council members endorse MGM Mirage Aqueduct bid29 January 2010
By Howard Stutz
LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The selection of casino operator for New York City's Aqueduct Race Track has dragged on for almost a year.
Now, the three New York City Council members who represent the Southeast Queens Community where Aqueduct is located have weighed in on the matter.
Deputy Majority Leader Leroy Comrie, Civil Service & Labor Committee Chairman James Sanders Jr. and Economic Development Committee Chairman Thomas White Jr. announced late Wednesday they support the bid submitted by a group that includes Las Vegas-based casino giant MGM Mirage.
In a joint statement, the three council members told New York Gov. David Paterson he should select the MGM Mirage bid out of the five proposals on the table that are seeking the contract to build and operate a 4,500-machine video lottery casino at Aqueduct.
"There are a myriad of reasons why we are recommending this bid," Comrie said in the statement. "However, what stands out is their track record of quality development throughout the country, their focus on inclusion of minority and women-owned business in the development, their commitment on providing stable economic opportunities for our community."
MGM Mirage would operate the casino at Aqueduct. New York developer Donahue Peebles, MGM Mirage, Harbinger Capital Partners, Perini Building and Global Hue, submitted the proposal.
Casino operators in the other four groups include Penn National Gaming, Harrah's Entertainment, Navegante Group and the Florida-based Hard Rock casinos.
The council members met with representatives of three of the four groups.
One would think this is a pretty important endorsement," MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said.
Paterson and leaders of the New York legislature have been deadlocked on which of the major bidders to choose to operate the VLT casino and re-develop the 115-year old racetrack.
The council members said the indecision has cost taxpayers upwards of $1 million a day in tax revenue.
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