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Al Sharpton Wanted Job For Pal In Crooked Casino Deal
It’s another Sharpton shakedown.
As bidders sought his support in the fierce battle for the lucrative casino license at Aqueduct Racetrack, the winning bidder’s lobbyist says, the Rev. Al Sharpton asked his company for something in return: a job for his adman pal.
The friend, Donald Coleman, was also vice chairman of Sharpton’s nonprofit, the National Action Network.
Coleman’s identity is revealed in deposition transcripts obtained by The Post from the state Inspector General’s investigation into the tortured Aqueduct bidding process in 2010.
The scandal — in which Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG) was chosen as the winning bidder in January 2010, only to be scrapped by the state Lottery Division over ethics breaches — will be a factor in the corruption trial of state Sen. John Sampson scheduled to begin next week.
Sampson, the former Democratic leader of the Senate, is accused of obstructing justice, witness and evidence tampering, and lying to an FBI agent in an unrelated case.
Federal prosecutors are expected to bring up how the Brooklyn lawmaker, who along with then-Gov. David Paterson and then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver led the process to choose the raceway-casino operator at Aqueduct, made “false or misleading statements” under oath to the IG in the past racino probe.
They’ll also argue that he leaked classified government documents outlining all the Aqueduct bids to AEG lobbyist Carl Andrews — secrets that gave AEG a competitive advantage over the other bidders, according to the IG’s report.
A former state senator from Brooklyn, Andrews was AEG’s point man in the black community, the IG report says. He met with Sampson, Sharpton and other leaders to curry favor for the consortium’s bid, which was projected to produce $2.9 billion in revenue.
AEG principals also gave NAN about $100,000 in contributions.
“It was part of AEG’s strategy to get Rev. Sharpton to understand who we were as a company and if we were successful, he would be aware of who we were and be supportive of us,” said Andrews in his March 2010 testimony to the IG.
Although Andrews claimed that there was no quid pro quo in his discussions with Sharpton, he acknowledged that Sharpton wanted to introduce an associate to members of the AEG consortium.
“I think they were talking about p.r. and how to advertise the opening of the casino, something like that,” Andrews testified.
He identified the associate as Coleman, who is the founder and CEO of GlobalHue, an advertising agency in New York and Detroit. Coleman is a longtime member of the NAN board.
“I was way out on the fringes of this,” Coleman told The Post. “If Rev. Sharpton was putting me forward, it’s news to me.”
Sharpton denied that he put forward Coleman in exchange for his support.
“I did not say put this guy in and I would support you,” Sharpton told The Post.
Sampson also sought favors from the AEG group. He told Andrews that he wanted AEG to hire New York developer Donald Cogsville. He also wanted the consortium to give contributions to Buffalo state Sen. Antoine Thompson and Sen. Shirley Huntley, a Queens Dem.
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