NEW YORK CITY-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver wants the state’s inspector general to take a closer look at the selection of Aqueduct Entertainment Group to operate a racino at a Queens racetrack. In a letter Thursday to IG Joseph Fisch, Silver wrote that “serious questions have been raised regarding the selection process.” He did not elaborate on the nature of the questions.

Silver is asking the IG to review the procedures used by the state Division of the Lottery “and other relevant state agencies” in reviewing bids for the contract to develop and operate a video lottery terminal facility at Aqueduct Racetrack. He is also requesting that Fisch inquire about how the state lottery will “assure that the conditions I conveyed to the governor on Jan. 29, and restated in my Feb. 3 letter to him, are met.”

In that Feb. 3 letter, Silver warned Gov. David Paterson that the conditions the speaker mandated for his approval of the Aqueduct deal are “not negotiable.” Those conditions include: the AEG consortium paying a $300-million upfront licensing fee by March 31; use of the existing footprint as the basis of a State Environmental Quality Review Act approval on the normal timetable, with no requests for waivers or expedited approval; and ensuring that all key AEG stakeholders obtain licenses from the state lottery.

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