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Howard Stutz

Aqueduct casino soap opera continues

10 February 2010

QUEENS, New York -- In today's episode "As Aqueduct Turns," two New York media outlets are reporting that state investigators are considering opening a preliminary investigation into the awarding of the casino franchise for the Aqueduct Racetrack.

Winning bidder Aqueduct Entertainment Group, the consortium that includes Las Vegas-based casino operator Navegante Group, quickly issued a statement through its New York City public relations firm discounting any potential investigation.

"Aqueduct Entertainment Group won because our bid offered the best value for New York's taxpayers and the best plan for the residents of Queens," said Jeffrey Levine, chief executive officer of Levine Builders and a partner in Aqueduct Entertainment Group. "Like all bidders, we adhered to the bid process as outlined by the State of New York and were selected on that basis. We are unaware of any investigation and have not been contacted by any law enforcement or regulatory agency of any kind."

Aqueduct Entertainment said its continues to work toward finalizing a memorandum of understanding with the state and hopes to finalize payment of a $300 million licensing fee by March 31.