More trouble with the racino project in Queens, this time involving Paterson’s bud Jay-Z who also has stakes in the Aqueduct Entertainment Group, the company that's set to run slot machines there. According to the Post, AEG—the group that was controversially awarded the multi-billion dollar deal to run slot machines—was going after Jay-Z as an investor when he and the governor were just becoming friends. Now, some question whether it courted Paterson's pal to make its bid for the project more appealing.
Late in August Paterson shared a stage with Jay-Z and Beyonce to announce that the rapper would host a 9/11 tribute at Madison Square Garden. Days after, Jay-Z was approached by AEG chairman’s and convinced to take a 7 percent stake in the company. Previously, he’d been interested in teaming up with casino entrepreneur Steve Wynn to be part of the racino project, but that deal fell through, leaving the hip hop mogul open for Aqueduct. That summer Jay-Z and the governor had had dinner and hung out together in the Hamptons.
But AEG says it had no ulterior motive in signing on with Jay-Z. "Given [Jay-Z's] superstardom and his long and deep connection to New York, the partners thought he could bring a unique perspective to shaping a facility that would truly be an entertainment destination," said a spokesman. "The partners were looking to bring in someone who could bring marketing and community advice to the team." According to a Paterson spokeswoman, "There is absolutely no relationship between Governor Paterson's friendship with Jay-Z and the choice of AEG." But even now, the swaggering rapper and the shameless governor continue their friendship. In the pages Esquire last month Paterson said "Jay tells me, 'I've got your back.' "