Saturday, May 26, 2007

Now Ilitches, Promoter refuse to talk to reporter they previously mislead


Ilitches buy Moose building
Downtown property is in area in which family is rumored to be considering building hockey arena.

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

The Ilitch family, owners of a downtown Detroit empire of professional sport teams and entertainment venues, have taken ownership of another empty building in an area of downtown being considered for a new home of the Ilitch-owned Detroit Red Wings.

In February, Atanas Ilitch, president of Ilitch Holding's Olympia Development LLC real estate arm, gained the deed for the empty Loyal Order of Moose building at Cass Avenue and Elizabeth Street along with John Kotlar, Ilitch Holdings vice-president, according to the Wayne County Register of Deeds.

Earlier this week, veteran music promoter Blair McGowan said he and fellow promoter Amir Daiza still owned the building and the Ilitches did not. Ilitch Holdings spokeswoman Karen Cullen said at the time she was unaware of the details of the building, a position she repeated Friday.

The warranty deed lists Moose Building LLC as the building owners. State records show the Atanas Ilitch and Kotlar are behind the Moose Building LLC, which the two formed in February.

McGowan did not return repeated phone calls Friday from The Detroit News. Daiza referred all questions back to McGowan.

The historic building is next to the former Chin Tiki, recently bought by Olympia for Ilitch Holdings, owners of the Little Caesars Pizza chain, the Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Hockeytown Cafe and Fox Theatre.

The Moose lodge is three blocks west of the Fox Theatre headquarters of Ilitch Holdings in a blighted 15-block area the Ilitches view as a potential major hub of entertainment, sports and retail.

The Ilitches also recently won the right to renovate the city-owned Grand Army of Republic building, which is bounded by the three-way intersection of Cass, Grand River and West Adams. It's a block away from the Moose building.

The flurry of activity comes at a time when the Ilitch family is fast approaching a deadline on whether to build a hockey venue or renovate Joe Louis Arena.

The Ilitches' lease on the city-owned riverfront arena expires in 2009.

You can reach Louis Aguilar at (313) 222-2760 or

You may also want to review these posts:
--The Verifiable Truth:

Posts at other webs & blogs ...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ilitch agreement requires Moose building be preserved & renovated, doesn't allow relocation

A three page document entitled 'Restrictive Covenant and Development Memorandum' and attached to property at 2115 Cass Avenue, Detroit (historic Moose Lodge) was recorded by the the Wayne County Register of Deeds on February 12, 2007 (Instrument #207064258).

This agreement was signed by Blair McGowan for Anban, Inc. and Atanas Ilitch for Moose Building LLC.

The two paragraphs at the bottom of the first page read as follows:
"The date of execution of the Restrictive Covenant and Development Agreement was February 6, 2007 and its provisions run as a binding servitude with the Land for a period of at least five (5) years and possibly longer pursuant to the terms thereof."

"The Restrictive Covenant and Development Agreement, among other things, provides for the preservation and rehabilitation of the premises, without relocation, in a manner that preserves and recognizes certain historical, cultural and esthetic value and significance of the property and the building contained thereon."

It would appear that demolition or relocation of the building are not possibilities under these terms. However, the memorandum does not detail remedies applicable if the convenants are broken.

You may also want to review these posts:
--The Verifiable Truth:

Spin about Moose Lodge isn't truthful; reporter was mislead

NOTE: this story appeared in today's Detroit News but it appears representatives for the Ilitch Family (they formed Moose Building LLC on February 5, 2007) and the promoters who perviously owned Detroit's Moose Lodge Building weren't honest with reporter Louis Aguilar since documents filed February 12 and February 19 with the Wayne County Register of Deeds indicate the parties had entered into an agreement and then transferred title on the property to Moose Building LLC.

Ilitches may add to monopoly [have added]
Real estate arm eyes Moose Lodge, which may be another step toward new hockey arena.

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

The Ilitch family, owners of a downtown Detroit empire of professional sport teams and entertainment venues, continues to expand its control over a patch of land being considered for a new hockey arena.

The Ilitch's Olympia Development LLC real estate arm, which has already gained control of most of the land behind the Fox Theatre, is now turning its attention to the empty Loyal Order of Moose building at Cass Avenue and Elizabeth Street.

They haven't bought the building but appear poised to get a piece of the action if two veteran music promoters carry through on their promise of turning the building into a 1,500-capacity club and live music venue.

The historic building is next door to the former Chin Tiki, recently bought by Olympia for Ilitch Holdings, owners of the Little Caesars Pizza chain, the Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Hockeytown Cafe and Fox Theatre. Now Olympia Development President Atanas Ilitch has formed Moose Building LLC with another Olympia executive.

Atanas Ilitch was unavailable for comment and a spokesman declined to say why Ilitch and John Kotlar, Ilitch Holdings' vice president of tax affairs, have formed a corporation named after a building they do not own. [Kotlar and Atanas Ilitch formed the company Feb 5, 2007]

The best explanation could be found in the first three rules of real estate: location, location, location.

The Moose lodge is three blocks west of the Fox Theatre headquarters of Ilitch Holdings, in a blighted 15-block area the Ilitches view as a potential major hub of entertainment, sports and retail.

Clubs like the Town Pump, Centaur and Park Bar are in the area, which spans the Fisher Freeway service drive to Grand Circus Park.

The Ilitches also recently won the right to renovate the city-owned Grand Army of Republic building, which is bounded by the three-way intersection of Cass, Grand River and West Adams. It's a block away from the Moose building.

All that activity has allowed the Ilitches to stitch together enough properties to create a nearly open four-block swath of land directly behind the Fox Theatre big enough to house a new hockey stadium.

The flurry of activity comes at a time when the Ilitch family is fast approaching a deadline on whether to build a hockey venue or renovate the Joe Louis Arena. The Ilitches' lease on the city-owned riverfront arena expires in 2009. Mike Ilitch, co-founder of the Little Caesars Pizza chain that started it all, has hinted he prefers building a new arena near the Fox Theatre.

One sports economist estimates a new facility would bring the Red Wings at least $10 million in additional revenue each year from naming rights and luxury box sales alone.

The Ilitches have not made a decision, said Ilitch Holdings spokeswoman Karen Cullen.

"I know what it looks like, but, believe me, stranger things have happened," Cullen said. "We're still exploring both a remodel of the Joe Louis Arena and a new site. We are looking at a variety of options."

The Loyal Order of Moose building is [was] owned by two prominent music promoters and club owners. Blair McGowan, one of the co-owners, said he was unaware Olympia Development had formed a corporation named after the building but seem unfazed by the most recent move by the Ilitches. [McGowan's company entered into an agreement with Moose Buliding LLC filed Feb. 2, 2007 witih Wayne County Register of Deeds]

"We've talked to them a lot about the building and our plans," said McGowan, whose family once owned and operated St. Andrew's Hall downtown. "We're independent operators. But they're the biggest players in the world of entertainment down here. So, well, there you have it. We work with many different people."

When asked if he and his partner, Amir Daiza, are considering selling the Moose to the Ilitches, McGowan replied:

"We will never put that building in jeopardy of being demolished. And we would not like to be in a position to stop them from putting up a new hockey arena. [an agreement the parties entered into is reportedly prohibits demolition of the Moose Lodge]

"What they are doing for Detroit is fabulous,"

Detroit News Staff Writer Robert Snell contributed to this story. You can reach Louis Aguilar at (313) 222-2760 or
See a map of Downtown Detroit that plots more than 160 properties owned/controlled by the Ilitch Family and other key parcels centered in Foxtown and the area surrounding MotorCity Casino.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Labor's battle over casino agreements extends to Reservation hosting presidential debates

as posted 5.24.07 at The Roundup:

...Dan Morain writes that the fight over tribal compacts has entered the presidential race, as Democratic candidates are balking over a proposed debate at Morongo.

"Only two presidential candidates -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel -- have agreed to take part in the "Prez on the Rez" event planned for Aug. 23 at the Morongo casino-resort near Banning.

Tribal leaders suspect that labor unions are discouraging candidates from appearing until more worker concessions are incorporated into the compacts.

"Kalyn Free of the Indigenous Democratic Network, which is sponsoring the debate, said candidates' failure to attend could determine who Native Americans supported and how much the deep-pocket tribes spent in the campaign.

"'Tribal leaders are going to remember who came to 'Prez on the Rez' and, more importantly, who didn't,' Free said.

"In proposing a forum at Morongo, Free stepped into the middle of a years-long fight over efforts to organize casino workers. It comes as Morongo and four other Southern California tribes seek legislative approval to more than double the size of their casinos, an effort stalled in part because of labor opposition.

"Free said the top candidates had not responded because of pressure by a union, Unite Here, which is trying to organize casino workers at Morongo and elsewhere. The union denies seeking a boycott.

"'I'm aware,' said Jack Gribbon, the union's California political director, 'that there may be a Democratic presidential candidate or two who is concerned about the ongoing struggle in California over enforceable workers rights. However, to say that Unite Here has specifically asked that candidates not attend is not true.'"

Plans were to establish an Indian Reservation in Foxtown

In the mid-1990's casino syndicators Michael J. Malik, Sr., Tom Celani and the Ilitch Family in partnership witih Harrah's tried to locate an Indian casino for the Bay Mills Indian tribe 350 miles away from its reservation in downtown Detroit's Foxtown neighbborhood; an area where the Ilitch Family had established a significant stronghold and had plans to develop a new baseball stadium.

One plan envisioned money from the casino would be used to build the new baseball stadium but MLB's ban on involvement in/with gaming by owners, players and managers presented a roadblock.

An Indian Reservation? Right in Detroit?

May 27, 1995, Saturday
By IVER PETERSON (NYT); National Desk Late
Edition - Final, Section 1, Page 6, Column 1

LANSING -- Detroit has tried for decades to revitalize its moribund
downtown, but never before with so novel an approach as a proposal now on Gov. John Engler's desk: to create an Indian reservation in the heart of the city solely to establish casino gambling there. Michigan law prohibits casino gambling, ...

Abramoff Scandal extends to Sacramento

as posted 5.24.07 at California Progress Report:

Documents Connect the Dots Between Money, Tribal Casinos, Abramoff, Doolittle, Bush White House, and State Government


By Frank D. Russo

A fresh look at documents released during the Abramoff scandal reveals how one California tribe, now seeking to triple the slot machines at its lucrative casino, used millions in gambling profits to influence state and federal policy and expand its gambling empire. These include exhibits released by the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, court documents and plea agreements, and other documents obtained pursuant to a Public Records Act request.

According to the documents, Palm Spring’s Agua Caliente Tribe paid Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon millions to help win an agreement to expand its gambling empire, including $5,000 monthly payments to Julie Doolittle, wife of Congressman John Doolittle and another $25,000 payment to get a meeting with President Bush in the Whitehouse.

A letter confirming the terms of representation reveals that the Agua Caliente Tribe in Palm Springs paid the law firm of convicted felon Jack Abramoff at least $150,000 per month to get an expanded gambling agreement with the State and remove a US Post Office from the path of its intended casino expansion. The Tribe also agreed to pay convicted felon Michael Scanlon a minimum of $5.4 million “to ensure successful re-negotiation of the Tribe’s gaming compact.”

Another invoice with a firm called “Grassroots Interactive, LLC” is for $2.3 million for research, script development, phone bank preparation, and a direct mail campaigning, among other efforts, on local players in California gambling.

According to memos released during the investigation, the Tribe had former California Member of Congress Richard Lehman assisting Scanlan here and high powered lobbyist Phil Recht, who was also a member of the State Lottery Commission working on their behalf for a new gambling agreement in Sacramento.

The hardball tactics apparently were shared by other tribes with deals now before the Legislature. One memo to the Agua Caliente Tribal Council from convicted felon Michael Scanlon alleges the Morongo and Pechanga Tribes successfully replaced a state official in the Davis administration responsible for forming state policy toward tribal governments:

"Furthermore, it is important to note that Rosenberg's departure was the result, in large part, of the efforts of two tribes' direct lobbying of the Governor. We believe that the Pechanga and Morango Bands directly called for, and received, Mr. Rosenberg's dismissal."

The same tribe and five others are now using similar hardball tactics to push the Assembly to agree to triple their lucrative casino empires.

At least $30,000 in payments to Julie Doolittle’s Sierra Dominion Financial Services are detailed (here, here, here, here, here, and here).

Interestingly, Scanlon twice warned the Tribe at least twice that its millions in lobbying expenditures would run afoul of California’s lobbying laws (in a letter of May 6, 2003 and in a memo of May 30, 2003 here), but the Tribe apparently never took Scanlon’s advice, according to this article in the Sacramento Bee. Not surprisingly, this same tribe currently rejects its responsibility to the rules of California’s politics. In his declaration in the Tribe’s case disputing the application of California’s laws, Agua Caliente Chairman Richard Milanovich said, “The Tribe will not simply submit to regulation by an agency of the state government.”

Using these hardball tactics, it is perhaps no surprise that the Agua Caliente Tribe and the other four rich southern California tribes got their expansion deals front and center in the California Legislature. The interesting question will be whether or not they will be successful.

I'm sure others will find information in these documents fodder for further analysis as they fill in the gaps and connect the California tribal compacts, events in our state, and people to the sordid scene and pattern in our nation's capital. There's a lot to look over here.

There most assuredly would be even more to look at if, and when the Tribe reports to the Fair Political Practices Commission on money contributed and where it has come from. The Supreme Court of California has ruled, 4-3 that they are required to comply with our state's laws on contribution dislcosure. After the appeals run out, we will know more of what is being hidden from view right now.

"Detroit: The Reel Story" brings back memories for moviegoers

Exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum highlights experience of movie- going. See how the experience has changed from the first movie shown at Detroit Opera House in 1906. First movie theater was The Casino, on Monroe St. Most of downtown Detroit's movie theaters were located along Monroe Street or Grand Circus Park.

read more digg story

you may also want to review this post at another blog:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Demolition Crew working on site at Detroit's United Artists Theater Building

Crews wearing hard hats marked Beal Inc., Demolition Contracting have been seen working at the site of the historic United Artists Theater Building at 150 Bagley Street in downtown Detroit's Grand Circus Park area. Teams from Beal Demolition have also been spotted at the historic Moose Lodge property at 2115 Cass Avenue, three blocks west of the Fox Theater in the area believed to be a potential site for a new hockey arena.

From the Beal website:

"Beal Incorporated provides demolition services, specializing in historic building renovations, for a variety of clients throughout Michigan. The company specializes in interior demolition and lead/asbestos abatement with projects sizes ranging from $10,000 to over $1,000,000. BEAL also offers a wide range of other services including; emergency services, dumpster and waste hauling, and recycling services.

"The company, formed in January 2006, is rapidly developing into one of the leading demolition service companies in the state of Michigan. BEAL Inc. is the team to call for demolition services when a client is faced with a comprehensive renovation of a historic or other complicated structure. BEAL has the best and most efficient equipment, technology, processes, and people."

If Beal stays close to its mission statement, then it would seem that the Ilitch organization (Olympia Development of Michigan LLC), may have plans to spare the building or at least some parts from the wrecking ball.

Then again, it's also possible that Beal may be undertaking asbestos abatement or something similar prior to knocking the building down.

Little has been disclosed by the Ilitch organization about their intentions for the UA Theater Building complex since a January 2006 press release announced:

"Olympia Development is teaming up with the City of Detroit to co-market the property at 150 Bagley, currently the site of the United Artists Building and Theatre, along with the property adjacent that was the former Statler Hotel site
that is now owned by the City."
Certainly that statement doesn't imply concerete plans to renovate and restore the building.

You may want to review these posts:

Posts at other blogs ...

Has Illitch acquired the historic Moose Lodge in downtown Detroit, and what are his intentions?

Documents available from the Wayne County Registry of Deeds suggest that Anban, Inc. (Blair McGowan) entered into an agreement with Moose Building, LLC (Ilitch controlled) regarding the historic Moose Lodge property at 2115 Cass Avenue in the Foxtown neighborhood of downtown Detroit on or about February 12, 2007.

Then one week later, on February 19, 2007 it was recorded that Anban, Inc. granted a "Warranty Deed" for the Moose Lodge property to Olympia Development of Michigan, LLC via the Ilitch controlled Moose Building, LLC.

Details of any financial arrangements are so far withheld on public documents.

Documents filed on February 5, 2007 with the Department of Labor and Economic Growth, signed by Atanas Ilitch, to establish Moose Building, LLC indicate the newly formed entity is 100% controlled by Olympia Development of Michigan, LLC.

Construction crew spotted at Moose Lodge
A blog post at dated May 7, 2007 states: "Just drove by and saw a crew of about 12 working on the Moose Lodge. They had a small crane in place, removing the HVAC it appeared. They were also removing what seemed to be roofing of some sort ..."

Much Speculation, Unknown Intentions
Neither the Ilitch organization nor the building's previous owners have announced what is to become of the historic building.

The Ilitch's own or control more than 160 properties in the downtown area. There has been must recent speculation about their intentions to build a new hockey arena for the Detroit Red Wings in the general area of the Moose Lodge property.

You may want to review these posts:
--The Verifiable Truth:

Ducks Top Red Wings to Reach Cup Finals


Associated Press

Jean-Sebastien Giguere insisted he didn't win the Western Conference finals. Dominik Hasek didn't necessarily agree. Giguere shut out Detroit for the first two periods as Anaheim built a 3-0 lead, then withstood a three-goal outburst by the Red Wings in the closing period to take a 4-3 victory Tuesday night.

Samuel Pahlsson's goal with 14:06 remaining proved to be the difference for Anaheim, which meets Ottawa in the Stanley Cup finals.

Rob Niedermayer, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf also scored against Hasek as the Ducks downed the Red Wings to take the Western Conference finals 4-2.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Contractors at work on MotorCity Casino have experience with MGM/Mirage & Mandalay Resorts

from a previous post at Reed/ACP Construction Data:

MotorCity Casino's Expansion
By Aram Kalousdian, Editor

A major renovation and expansion of the existing MotorCity Casino in Detroit is under way. The project includes adding 45,000 square feet to the existing casino; and a new 204,200-square-foot convention center, which will include 67,000 square feet of convention space and a 1,200-seat theater. The project also includes a 395,200-square-foot, 400-room hotel and a 933-space parking deck that will be connected to the hotel. MIG Detroit is the general contractor for the project. The $275-million project began in November 2005 and it is expected to be completed in the fall...

"...All of our contractors have pulled together and pulled this off without a hitch. We've had no problems regarding the operation of the casino or its patrons' safety," MIG Vice President Paul Jenkins Jr. said.

Subcontractors on the project include: Whaley Steel Corporation (structural steel and precast erection); American Glass & Metals (glass and glazing); Applied Handling (loading dock equipment); Bayview Electric, L.L.C. (electrical); Blaze Contracting, Inc. (excavation); Bristol Steel & Conveyor Corp. (structural steel roof fabrication and erection); Camp Services, Ltd. (spa); and Cannon Electric Company.

Additional subcontractors include: Dovetails, Inc. (millwork); ECS Kahn, L.L.C. (low voltage); Hollowcore Inc. (precast slab fabrication); Lanaville Foundations (caissons); Leidal & Hart Mason Contractors (masonry); and Metro Steel Fabricators (structural steel fabrication).

Clawson & Killins Concrete is the ready mix concrete supplier. Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc. (SME) is the geotechnical engineer for the project and Giffels/NORR is the architect. (
Full Post)

MIG Nevada's roster of project work includes the following properties: Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Excalibur, Luxor, MGM/Turnberry Signature Towers, and the Fountainebleau Preview Center for Turnberry West Construction.

Did Ilitch pay $1.73 million for Elizabeth Street Lofts?

The Ilitch organization, under the name West Grand River Lofts has purchased the former Elizabeth Street Lofts property at 2030 West Grand River Avenue (downtown Detroit, MI) for $1.73 million during the first quarter of 2007.

Although documents transferring title of the property to West Grand River Lofts were signed by D. Keffalinos on behalf of Elizabeth Street Lofts on January 5, 2007, they were not recorded for almost two months until February 28.

Various affiliates of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. own more than one hundred parcels of land in Downtown Detroit in the Foxtown neighborhood and surrounding the MotorCity Casino. The Headquarters of Iitch Holdings, Inc. (Little Caesars Pizza, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Olympia Entertainment, Olympia Development, etc) is located in the historic Fox Theater building at 2211 Woodward Ave., across the parking lot from Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.

The Detroit Red Wings currently make their home on ice at Joe Louis Arena. There has been recent speculation that the Ilitch Family is buying up even more property between Woodward Ave. and W. Grand River Ave. in ordr to build a brand new hockey arena for the Wings.

NOTE: comprehensive map can be viewed at plotting more than 160 downtown Detroit properties controlled by the Ilitch Family, plus other relevant properties.

You may want to review these posts:
--The Verifiable Truth:

When Alcalde departed Alcalde & Fay

from the 11.15.00 Minutes of the North Las Vegas City Council meeting:

"City Manager Fritsch stated the City’s lobbyist, Rick Alcalde was no longer affiliated with
Alcalde & Fay and it would be appropriate to take the necessary steps to void the contract.
Staff was directed to begin the process of contracting a new lobbyist."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Veteran GOP operative steps in to helm Rep. Doolittle's staff

posted 5.21.07 at the Sacramento Bee's CapitolAlert:

Doolittle names new chief of staff
By Shane Goldmacher -- Capitol Alert

Rep. John Doolittle, whose home was searched by FBI agents last month in an apparent connection with the ongoing investigation into convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has appointed a new chief of staff. Ron Rogers, a long-time California Republican political operative replaces Richard Robinson, Doolittle's previous chief of staff, who said he is taking a three-month break to spend time with his family before finding other employment....(more)

Anti-gaming activist reports Tribe pulled $20 million ad & advocacy campaign

posted 5.21.07 at the California Progress Report:

Fred Jones a Sacramento attorney -- and the legal counsel and legislative advocate for the California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion -- is reporting that the Morongo Band of Indians has pulled its $20 million dollar advertising and grassroots advocacy campaign this past weekend because it is backfiring in Sacramento.

The effort was meant to build public support for lobbying efforts urging approval of amended gaming compacts for five of California's most successful gaming tribes. It is estimated the agreements would bring $500 million a year in new money to the California budget. (Full Opinion Post)

Anti-casino activist joins the bandwagon calling for greater oversight and renegotiation of pending Indian gaming compacts

posted 5.21.07 at the California Progress Report:

Fred Jones a Sacramento attorney -- and the legal counsel and legislative advocate for the California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion -- is calling for complete renegotiations of tribal gaming compacts currently pending ratification in the state legislature for five of California's most successful gaming tribes. Given recent court action striking down federal oversight of tribal gaming operations, there is a growing call by Jones and others for the state to resist approving the pending agreements; and to step in now to claim a greater role in monitoring and oversight of Indian casino operations. (Full Opinion Post)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tribe's off-reservation casino project appears to be a bust; fails again to make progress at state and federal level


Big Lagoon's Barstow casino project a bust?

Jessie Faulkner The Times-Standard

BIG LAGOON -- The proposal to establish a casino in Barstow instead of adjacent to Big Lagoon may very well be history.

Unless there's a state legislative hearing scheduled between now and Thursday to move Big Lagoon Rancheria's gaming compact for a casino in Barstow forward, the Rancheria's chairman said it's very likely that the tribe will abandon the legal settlement and once again negotiate for a casino at Big Lagoon.

Big Lagoon Rancheria Chairperson Virgil Moorehead said Friday that he had expected to meet with legislators last week to schedule an informational hearing before the Government Organizational Committee, but that meeting had been postponed twice. The hearing is required to bring the compact to a vote in the state Senate and, later, in the Assembly.

Meanwhile, the settlement of the federal case brought against the state earlier, alleging bad faith negotiating, specified that if the Barstow property isn't brought into trust by May 31, the tribe can walk away.

Moorehead said there is the provision allowing the Rancheria to extend the settlement until Sept. 15, but he had little interest in doing so as of Friday.

Without ratification of the gaming compact -- much touted by the governor's office when it was signed in September 2005 -- there's no reason for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to bring the Barstow property into trust.

”There's no reason for us to continue to negotiate if the Legislature and the governor are not going to approve it,” Moorehead said.

So far, the chairman said, five gaming compacts have been approved by the state Senate and passed to the Assembly, while Big Lagoon has been unable to schedule a committee hearing on its compact.

The bottom line is that the process will begin anew with the Rancheria negotiating for construction of a casino at Big Lagoon.

The compact -- the first in the state to allow gaming operations away from tribal homelands -- attempted its first journey through the state legislative process during last year's session. The Government Organizational Committee voted down by the compact, but left the door open for a second attempt, however a second hearing wasn't scheduled.

This year, legislation to ratify the compact, has been stalled in the rules committee since its introduction in January. And while most legislative bills have until May 31 to pass out of committee or die, the gaming compacts are being considered as memorandums of understanding, or MOUs, according to a representative from state Sen. Pat Wiggins office. Wiggins is sponsoring the bill to ratify Big Lagoon's gaming compact. As MOUs, the May 31 deadline for moving out of committee does not apply.

Moorehead, who has grown increasingly impatient with the snail-like pace of the process, vows to pursue establishing a casino at Big Lagoon.

The original intent behind allowing Big Lagoon Rancheria to build a casino in Barstow was to avoid damage to the environmentally sensitive shores of the lagoon.

Other elements of the proposed compact, however, raised caution flags for some of the state's larger tribes who fear the more liberal labor language, as in easier to organize employee unions, and the higher percentage of gaming revenue earmarked for the state -- might come into play when their own compacts come up for renewal.

If the Rancheria returns to federal court after pulling out of the settlement agreement -- there's a court date in mid-June in Oakland -- a motion will likely be filed alleging, once again, that the state is negotiating in bad faith.

Should the federal court rule that the state has negotiated in bad faith, one possibility is that both the Rancheria and the state could submit proposed gaming compacts to an independent arbitrator, Moorehead said. The arbitrator would then chose one of the compacts, essentially eliminating the state's right to negotiate any of the compact provisions including a percentage of the resulting revenue. The compact would then go directly to the U.S. Department of Interior for approval.

”That would be a big precedent for California,” Moorehead said.

Meanwhile, the California Coastal Commission, the Sierra Club and the state Department of Fish and Game have their fingers crossed that the Barstow project will come to fruition.

But the state Coastal Commission has a bit more power than hopeful finger-crossing. In the event, that the Big Lagoon Rancheria receives U.S. Department of Interior approval to proceed with a casino at Big Lagoon, the state Coastal Commission may sue.

According to Coastal Commission legislative liaison Sara Christie, the state commission has authority over such a project under the provisions of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act which preceded the California Coastal Act. The federal government ruled that any state who adopts a federally approved coastal program, has the authority to review federal projects. A casino at Big Lagoon would qualify as a federal project.

So, Christie said, if the Bureau of Indian Affairs did not refer such a project to the California Coastal Commission, the commission would file a lawsuit.

The larger concern is the potential environmental impact to the ecologically sensitive area. Such a project would adversely impact the water quality, viewshed and endangered species, she said.

Meanwhile, Coastal Commission Executive Director Peter Douglas continues to support the gaming compact that would allow Big Lagoon to open a casino in Barstow. The director spent time in Sacramento during April talking to legislators about the issue, according to Christie.

”From every angle you look at it,” she said, “it just makes sense to move it to Barstow.”

To further complicate matters, however, Christie said Las Vegas based gaming interests had stepped forward with objections about the proposal to build a casino along the main highway to the center of Nevada's gaming industry.

Jessie Faulkner can be reached at 441-0517 or

You may also want to review these additional posts:

Off Wing Opinion: Hard Times In Hockeytown

posted by Eric McErlain at Off Wing Opinion:

Hard Times In Hockeytown
The concern over the empty seats at Joe Louis continues. Here's my friend, Paul Kukla:

"Well, this morning I took a quick look at the Wings ticket situation for game 1. I could have purchased a block of 16 tickets in the upper bowl, row 24 at $99 a piece or a block of 20 standing room only tickets for $108 a pop."
Can you imagine if the opposing team was a little closer than Anaheim? The Joe would have a well represented presence from the visiting team.

In 1998, fans here in Washington saw entire sections of the MCI Center draped in red and white during Games Three and Four of the Stanley Cup Finals. It is a sight I will not ever forget. In fact, thanks to that experience, I took a vow to never watch a game ever at Joe Louis, as I already had experienced what it was like first hand..."

And Red Wings marketers call Detroit Hockeytown?

posted 05.16.07 by Jim Armstrong, sports columnist for The Denver Post, at

"If Detroit is Hockeytown, then Anchorage is the Bikini Capital of the World. At least that's what the attendance figures at Joe Louis Arena suggest. The Red Wings have played eight home playoff games and have yet to sell out. ..."

TVT has welcomed more than 178,000 unique vistors

TVT, founded in December 2006, has averaged more than 20,000 visitors annually. It is produced with the support of scores of individuals from coast-to-coast, each a volunteer citizen activist/jounalist, who review tips and compile the verifiable details and documents that are the hallmark of our content.

Since our first post, more than 178,000 visitors have accessed the details compiled uniquely at TVT.

The citizen activists behind TVT wish to extened a big "THANK YOU" to all those who have provided "tips" -- contributed pictures, documents, link suggestions, leads, reports, insight and comments. Your trust and confidence in TVT has allowed us to create a comprehensive resource that thousands of others -- including bloggers, journalists, Members of Congress and other local citizen activists around the country -- have come to rely upon.

We invite feedback and constructive comment and want you to know you are welcome to do that here in "comments" or by contacting us directly and confidentially via

Google News: Indian Gaming

NEWS: Bay Mills Indian Community & Casino Proposals

NEWS: Shinnecock Indian Nation (Gateway Casino Resorts) Casino Proposals

NY Times: Shinnecock Indian Nation

NEWS: Los Coyotes Indian Tribe

NEWS: Los Coyotes / Barwest Barstow Casino Proposals

NEWS: Michael J. Malik, Sr.

NEWS: Marian Ilitch Mapping Social Networks

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certainly must reads!

Ilitch has backed loosing sports teams and pizza, but casinos in Detroit? 10.09.06 ● Marian Ilitch #1 on "25 Most Powerful People" to Watch 2006” global gaming business o1.oo.o5 ● My Kingdom for a Casino Forbes 05.08.06 ● Big Lagoon’s casino dream awakens north coast journal 07.28.05 ● Shinnecocks launch legal claim to Hamptons land 06.16.05 ● Ilitch Plans to Expand Casino Empire 07.05.05 ● Ilitch outbids partners 04.14.05 ● Ilitch enmeshed in NY casino dispute 03.20.05 ● Marian Ilitch, high roller 03.20.05 ● MGM Mirage to Decide on Offer for Casino in Detroit 04.16.05 ● Secret deal for MotorCity alleged 02.15.05 ● Los Coyotes get new developer 02.08.05 Detroit casino figure to finance Barstow project 07.07.03 ● Indian Band trying to put casino in Barstow 06.04.03 Pizza matriarch takes on casino roles 10.23.02 ● Vanderbilt gets short straw in negotiations for a casino Lansing Journal 10.06.02 ● Indians aim to drive family from tribe in vicious dispute san diego union tribune 04.09.00 ●Malik owns 2000 Michigan Quarter Horse of the Year 01.01.00 ● Detroit Team to run Michigan’s newest Indian casino 05.23.99 Tiger ties tangle Marian Ilitch 04.29.99 ● Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests 04.25.99 ● Partners’ cash revived election; They say money was crucial to Prop-E 04.25.99 Investors have troubled histories las vegas review journal 04.27.99 ● Investor served probation for domestic assault on 12 year old boy 04.25.99 Can a pair win a jackpot?: local men hope to... 03.17.97

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