From the Times Union:
Hotel unions seeking to organize a proposed Aqueduct racino have given Las Vegas gaming magnate Steve Wynn a failing grade after talks about his plans for the project.
Union operators recommend the selection of another bidder if the state wants to avoid strikes and pickets at the proposed Queens operation, which is eligible for $250 million in building aid from the state to build the facility.
Wynn was the only bidder of the six contenders to receive a bad grade, said Peter Ward, president of the 30,000 member New York Hotel Trades Council.
The long-awaited announcement of the winner of the six-firm contest to redevelop Aqueduct in Ozone Park, Queens will be made some time around Sept. 29, when the state Legislature returns to discuss the budget deficit, according to sources.
Earlier this week, there were rumblings that Gov. David Paterson, along with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the Senate president, would select a winner as early as Monday. That is looking more unlikely as the Labor Day weekend approaches. The six bidders, which include casino mogul Steve Wynn and mega gaming operator MGM, have not been notified as to when a decision will be made, but they expect the winner will be chosen shortly.
And from NY Magazine:
The political fortunes of former Senate majority leader Malcolm Smith may have plummeted, but his business prospects are looking up. Democrats say the Queens lawmaker, whose hold on the Senate slipped away after falling victim to a coup this summer, is maneuvering to take advantage of one of the largest gambling ventures in New York history.
Demoted by his colleagues, Smith isn't eager to stick around Albany much longer. And he may soon get the chance to cash in his chips. In a few weeks, Governor David Paterson and legislative leaders are expected to announce the winner of a highly secretive and nearly decade-long competition for the rights to develop a casino at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens. According to sources, Smith is urging the Senate to get behind Aqueduct Entertainment Group, one of the lesser-known bidders. The consortium happens to include one of Smith's former business partners and Smith's closest political ally.
Could Smith's golden parachute be landing in Ozone Park as a future casino partner? Smith's colleagues think it's a strong possibility. "He's looking for an exit plan. What better place than that? Do you think he's going to be one of 32 members again? He wants to be sure he's making a good living," says a Senate Democrat.