Instead of disclosing information about their personal finances and their spouses' personal finances, rap mogul Jay-Z and influential former Congressman Rev. Floyd Flake have bailed out of the Aqueduct Entertainment Group—the casino company selected by Gov. Paterson to operate slot machines at the Aqueduct Racetrack. The Observer reports that Jay-Z and Flake, who both own less than 1 percent shares in AEG, withdrew because they "felt the confidentiality surrounding their personal information could not be maintained."
Authorities have been investigating Paterson's selection of AEG, which was chosen even though the company initially said it would generate the least revenue before radically altering its profit estimates. News of Jay-Z and Flake's departure comes on the same day that Paterson threatened to disqualify AEG unless all of the company's investors submitted applications for gaming licenses with the New York Lottery by noon, according to the Post.
Flake issued the following statement:
Unfortunately, my ongoing participation in Aqueduct Entertainment has become a distraction that has taken me and my attention away from the community projects I created and nurtured. I support Aqueduct Entertainment's vision for the revitalization of my community through the creation of jobs, retail facilities and other opportunities for growth.
AEG founder Jeffrey Levine says his company is still moving forward with its plans:
Aqueduct Entertainment Group is continuing to move forward to complete the MOU, so that we can pay the state $300 million by March 31st and break ground on this vital job-creating project as soon as possible. All applications have been submitted to Lottery in full compliance with the State's instructions.