Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

Forget for a moment the wider questions about his day-to-day performance, his electoral chances, his standing in his party.

For Gov. David A. Paterson, the frenzy surrounding a proposed contract for slot machines at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens comes at a terrible time, helping further dim the public's short-term view of his governance.

Bidders who lost to the Aqueduct Entertainment Group, which Paterson ultimately signed off on although he was earlier reported to favor another bidder,  went public criticizing the process.

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Approval involves the legislature. AEG has well-known minister and former congressman, the Rev. Floyd Flake, as an investor.

He's an ally of Senate President Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans). Another investor, Darryl Greene, pleaded guilty to a criminal charge in 1999.

Worse for Paterson, fairly or not, is Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's distancing himself from the deal. Silver has already made it known he considers Paterson political toast.

Some wonder if state leaders can negotiate a crisis budget by, or even after, the April 1 deadline.

N.Y. Gov. David A. Paterson during his budget address in January, 2010. (AP Photo)