BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Senator Antoine Thompson (D) 60th District, along with four other New York State senators received thousands of dollars in campaign funds from the Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG). Even governor David Paterson is named in the report for seeking political backing from one of the company's partners after the deal.
The report was issued by State Inspector General Joseph Fisch. It shows the governor's office and state legislative leaders selected AEG to run slot machines at the Aqueduct Race Track in Queens, even though the company offered the state $100 million less than other bidders and was struggling with licensing and other financial problems.
"There was not legitimate non political reason for AEG to have survived beyond September of 2009," said Fisch.
As part of the deal the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee directed AEG to contribute thousands of dollars to the campaigns of five state senators, including Senator Antoine Thompson, he received $8600 from AEG.
But Senator Thompson denies knowing where the money came from. He released this statement today,
"I absolutely had no involvement in any pay to play transactions and negotiations whatsoever in the selection of a bidder for the Aqueduct Racetrack deal in Queens, nor do I sit on the Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee. I knew nothing about the potential origins of the contributions, as my campaign accepts contributions from various sources. However, in our effort to exercise excess caution in this matter and to provide transparency, we are going to return the money to donors."