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October 27, 2010

Aqueduct Report: Jay-Z Was Clueless

The Huffington Post
by Matt Sledge

The New York inspector general's report on the tainted Aqueduct bidding process contains a little-noticed tidbit about the Aqueduct Entertainment Group's most famous would-be investor.

Jay-Z, as it turns out, never actually inked a deal with AEG.
...

What's more, Jay also didn't seem to know much about the project, Inspector General Joseph Fisch determined after taking his testimony. That conversation "revealed":

scant knowledge of AEG's proposal and its composition, no finalized agreement with AEG, and no lobbying by him whatsoever. Regardless, his notoriety caused his name to be mentioned in most news articles discussing AEG which brought his name, and well-known conviction, to the forefront.

So much for the the savvy, take-charge CEO persona Jay-Z likes to present to the world. The report seems to suggest that he was little more than a hype man for the AEG bid.

The project's real heavy hitters may have been hoping to use Jay to impress just one person: Governor David Paterson. A February report in the New York Post suggested the AEG consortium chose Jay-Z to gain the favor of the governor, who became friends with the rapper last year.

The multimillionaire music impresario's part of the AEG bid bears a striking resemblance to his role with the New Jersey Nets. Although he controls only a tiny share of the basketball franchise, his stake is trumpeted loudly in promotional materials for the related Atlantic Yards arena project, and he was prominently featured at its groundbreaking in Brooklyn, along with Governor Paterson. As Norman Oder has perceptively written of the groundbreaking, putting the rapper "front and center" was "a brilliant move [...] relying on the unsurprising shallowness of a star-struck press."

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Posted by eric at October 27, 2010 11:32 AM