2010-11-26 / Top Stories

Meeks Denies Ties To Druggie Duo, Dirty Aqueduct Deal

By Howard Schwach

A spokesperson for Congressman Gregory Meeks told The Wave this week that he had no connection either to the King of Kings Foundation or to the political deal to give the Aqueduct Racino contract to his mentor Floyd Flake or his company, the Aqueduct Entertainment Group.

The Wave had said two weeks ago that the foundation, headed by two convicted drug dealers who had served federal prison terms for their activities “had received the [present] $500,000 funding [from State Senator Malcolm Smith] on top of a $25,000 grant Smith sought for the duo in 2008 and $290,000 in federal funding steered to the organization by Congressman Gregory Meeks.

Bob Simmons, the Democratic District Leader in Far Rockaway and a Meeks staffer, told The Wave that the $290,000 had been requested and posted on the House of Representatives website, but was never given to the brothers who run the non-profit.

“It is not true that the member provided that money to King of Kings Foundation,” said Candice Sandy, a longtime Meeks press spokesperson. “The money was never paid out.”

In addition, Sandy said, The Wave erred by saying a few weeks ago that “Meeks, [State Senator Malcolm] Smith and [former Congressman Floyd] Flake were involved in the scheme to give the Aqueduct Racino deal to AEG, a company in which Flake was an investor.”

While admitting that Meeks has longtime ties to Flake and that he regularly attends Flake’s church and meets with the former congressman, Sandy says that a recent report by the state’s Investigator General, Joseph Fisch, exonerates Meeks of any connection with AEG of the final political deal that was made with Governor David Paterson and other Democratic leaders to give the contract to the politicallyconnected consortium.

Of Meeks, Fisch’s report says that Meeks voluntarily appeared before the Inspector General and attested: “My involvement was basically that I represent the district of Aqueduct and those individuals who were bidding, I wanted to make sure that local and community people would be involved in the job creation that would be created from Aqueduct, because we know that the revitalization of Aqueduct and the area right now needs a lot of work, a lot of renovation.”

Meeks told the IG that he was lob- bied by three of the bidders, including AEG, but that he never was an advocate for any one of them.

During his meeting before investigators, Meeks related that he succeeded Flake and worshiped at his church. As to communicating with Flake regarding the former congressman’s participation in AEG, Meeks said that his communication was limited to “home development and community,” and said that Flake never asked him to support AEG.

Meeks also noted his long personal relationship with Darryl Green, Flake’s business partner, who also had close ties to Smith and had earlier been convicted of fraud.

Meeks reported that he spoke with other players in the AEG saga: with Smith and [State Senator] Sampson, but only to find out when the final decision would be made.

Likewise, he said, he “never had any conversations with [State Senator Joseph] Addabbo, {State Senator Eric] Adams or [Assembly Speaker Sheldon] Silver about the Racino proposal.”

He also spoke, he said, with Governor Paterson, but only to “impress upon the Governor the importance of minority participation.”

The IG’s report concludes, “The Inspector General found no evidence that Congressman Meeks played any meaningful role in the selection of AEG, or regardless of his relationship with AEG principals, undermining his testimony that he did not act as an advocate for the group.”

When questioned about what the last line, “undermining his testimony that he did not act as an advocate for the group” meant, a spokesperson for the IG’s office declined to comment, saying that the report spoke for itself.

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