Saturday, June 09, 2007

Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) steals one from Sen. Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) playbook

It wasn't so long ago that Hillary Clinton, attempted to cover up her husband Bill's relationship with "that woman" Monica Lewinsky by blaming it all on a "vast right wing conspiracy."

And now the pendulum has swung and troubled GOP Rep. John T. Doolittle's trying to cover up his wife's relationship with Jack Abramoff by blaming their woes on some Democrat "manufactured culture of corruption." (That was after he tried to blame an FBI raid on his Virinia home on those attempting to manage the reputation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez).

from an Associated Press story published 6/09/07 in the San Diego Union Tribune and elsewhere:
"...Rep. John Doolittle, a nine-term Northern California conservative under investigation in the influence-peddling scandal around jailed GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has his own theory about why federal corruption investigations seem to be concentrated in California.

" 'I think it's part of this manufactured culture of corruption that the Democrats have come up with and they decided to, given what's happened with Duke Cunningham, they decided that California Republicans on the Appropriations Committee would be a great place to start,' said Doolittle, who plans to seek re-election next year..."

Friday, June 08, 2007

Barwest's partners signed Compacts under false pretense; knew they would never make the May 31, 2007 deadline

Barwest, Partners knew they weren’t likely to complete Fee to Trust Process by May 31, 2007 when they signed the agreements with Governor Schwarzenegger in September 2005.

Despite representations to the contrary, Barwest and its partners were aware that it would most likely take much longer than 12-18 months to have Barwest's Barstow property taken into Trust. Generally speaking it takes 12-18 months to complete the EIS project from the time a tribe submits a “Completed” Application to take land into Trust -- and that's just one part of the approval process.

Based on details contained in a May 2006 list of pending Gaming Applications that the BIA presented in Congress, the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon tribes didn’t submit appli-cations until March 27, 2006 – given the most favorable circumstances it would be rea-sonable to expect the Barstow EIS project to be near completion by October 2007, but certainly not May 31, 2007. Barwest is responsible for the delays by waiting until March 2006 to file applications.

Further, the following is excerpted from transcripts of a sworn court deposition taken from Kevin Siva, Director of the Los Coyotes casino and resort development project, more than a year earlier on February 2, 2006:

    Opposing COUNSEL: Is it fair to say that obtaining the Secretary of Interior's approval for a fee into trust is a lengthy process?

    Siva’s COUNSEL: Objection. Ambiguous as to lengthy. What do you mean by lengthy? I want to make sure.

    Opposing COUNSEL: Would you agree that the process would typically take more than three to four years?

    SIVA: Yes.

    Opposing COUNSEL: And you're aware that the process may even take more than five years?

    SIVA: Yes.

    Opposing COUNSEL: Is it your understanding that the Secretary of Interior has the authority to deny any application as to take land into trust for purposes of gaming?

    Siva’s COUNSEL: Objection to the extent it calls for a legal conclusion.

    SIVA: To the best of my knowledge, they can make that decision; yes.

Mashpee look to close today on land originally optioned by Strather


Mashpee Wampanoags set to close on land deal in Middleborough

By Steve LeBlanc,
Associated Press Writer

BOSTON --The Mashpee Wampanoags will close on a deal to buy 125 acres of land in Middleborough on Friday, relying in part on the financial backing of developers of the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut.

The $1.8 million deal fuels the momentum building for casino gambling in Massachusetts. The tribe has an option to buy another 225 acres in the town -- and ultimately would like to purchase up to 1,000.

Developers Sol Kerzner and Len Wolman -- known as Trading Cove Mashpee -- can provide as much as $1 billion in capital for the development of a major, destination casino, according to the tribe. The two are no longer involved in Mohegan Sun, one of the world's largest casinos.

Wolman said he and Kerzner were impressed by the tribe's efforts to gain federal recognition.

"The northeast is a very densely populated area," he said. "We think that the New England gaming market has further potential to grow."

He declined to say how much it would cost to build a new casino saying much would depend on the location and infrastructure costs, but added the team has the resources needed.

It won't be cheap. Beyond construction costs, the tribe would have to pay for nearby improvements. In Middleborough, for example, that likely would include the cost of widening Route 24 to funnel traffic to the site.

Despite the land push in Middleborough, tribal council chairman Glenn Marshall said Thursday the tribe hasn't made a final decision on a casino site and also is looking at New Bedford.

"We really want to go where a community wants us," Marshall said, calling Middleborough a "natural fit" for the tribe.

He suggested revenues from a New Bedford casino could go in part to help pay for a proposed commuter rail line from Boston.

Regardless of location, the goal is the same, he said.

"We want to build a first-class, five-star hotel with all the bells and whistles because that's what it takes to compete with Connecticut," Marshall told members of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce. He also said he wanted the casino to be "as green as possible."

But Peter Forman, president of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce, said many smaller, local restaurants, stores and tourist spots were worried a casino would siphon off customers.

"I'm concerned that it would be a black hole of activity," Foreman said. "Would it just become a vacuum and just suck up other businesses?"

Marshall said he wanted to work with local communities to make sure existing businesses grow along with a casino.

By law, the tribe can already build a so-called "level 2" gaming facility, with machines similar to slot machines. If the state changed the law to allow "level 3" gambling, the tribe would be able to build a casino with slot machines and games such as poker, blackjack and roulette.

State Treasurer Timothy Cahill has said the state should try to beat the tribe to the punch by building one or more resort casinos. But opponents, including House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, D-Boston, remain cool to the idea.

Gov. Deval Patrick has said he would wait for the recommendations of a panel he appointed to study the issue before deciding his position.

At stake is hundreds of millions in possible revenue for the state at a time when lottery sales are sagging and Patrick has proposed billions in new spending.

News archives:
  • Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests
  • Investors have troubled histories
  • Labor no longer able to block gaming pacts


    Gaming impasse beginning to thaw
    Compacts won't have labor-organizing tool

    By James P. Sweeney

    SACRAMENTO – After months of strategic circling, Assembly Democrats are reaching out to some of the state's most powerful Indian tribes, seeking a compromise that could seal multibillion-dollar gambling deals that have been stalled since August.

    Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, D-Los Angeles, has told organized labor it will not get what it wants in the agreements and is discussing revisions on other issues that could be made without renegotiating the compacts, lawmakers and knowledgeable sources said.

    That has spurred intense negotiations over the past week aimed at breaking the long impasse. The Pechanga tribe near Temecula was on the brink of a deal, although an aide to the speaker said nothing had been finalized.

    “It's like any legislative discussion,” said Steve Maviglio, a spokesman for Núñez. “They're close. Sometimes you move forward, sometimes you move back. But they're making progress.”

    Núñez and Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, a Fremont Democrat who is the speaker's point man on the compacts, have been in talks with the tribes for months. But the negotiations took off after Núñez invited leaders of four of the tribes to lunch in his office Monday.

    “We're talking to see what we can work out,” Danny Tucker, chairman of the Sycuan band near El Cajon, said afterward.

    A few days earlier, sources said Núñez told state and national labor leaders in a conference call that he would not be able to get their key objective included in the gambling compacts – a collective-bargaining tool known as card-check neutrality.

    Labor leaders say card-check neutrality – the ability to organize workers simply by signing up a majority on cards expressing support for a union – is necessary to protect easily intimidated casino employees, who work under surveillance cameras that permit almost constant scrutiny by management.

    But the five tribes with pending compacts – Sycuan, Pechanga, Agua Caliente of Palm Springs, Morongo of Riverside County and San Manuel of San Bernardino County – adamantly oppose tougher labor provisions in their compacts, which already permit unions approved through secret-ballot elections.

    “Sycuan employees have had the right to organize . . . since our compact took effect in May of 2000,” Tucker told a Senate committee in April. “For the past seven years, no union has made any effort to organize our employees.”

    Since California voters legalized Indian casinos in 2000, the state has become the nation's biggest tribal gaming market, with nearly 60 casinos that generated $7.7 billion in revenues last year.

    The pending compacts would allow the five tribes to collectively add up to 22,500 slot machines – doubling and in some cases tripling their existing operations – in one of the largest gambling expansions in state history.

    In return, the tribes agreed to give the state a larger cut, projected at more than $22 billion over the life of the compacts that would expire at the end of 2030.

    The Department of Finance estimates the state is losing nearly $1.3 million every day the compacts are not ratified. But that is a fraction of what the tribes – already among the nation's wealthiest – are losing.

    Powerful unions pressed Núñez and his Democratic majority to block the compacts in the fall. After lawmakers reconvened this year, the Senate ratified all five agreements in April, returning them to the Assembly where little seemed to have changed.

    Núñez and Torrico, a former union attorney, both came out of the labor movement. But Torrico said that since last year, intervening events narrowed their options.

    In February, a three-judge panel of a federal appeals court ruled that tribes must comply with federal labor laws. The opinion against the San Manuel tribe held that Indian casinos should be treated as commercial, rather than government, operations under the National Labor Relations Act.

    “The San Manuel decision, in my opinion, basically pre-empts state and local governments from entering into labor relations” with tribes, Torrico said earlier this week. “So even if we were to try to impose some language in the compact, I don't think it would be legally enforceable.”

    Moreover, he said, the decision means that tribal employees “have the same rights and protections that any other employee in the country has when it comes to organizing.”

    Jack Gribbon, state political director for UNITE HERE, the primary union attempting to organize Indian casinos, has warned that the San Manuel ruling is not final and, at the moment, applies only to San Manuel, which has a contract with the Communication Workers of America.

    “We're continuing to work on this,” Gribbon said. “It's enormous sums of money for a handful of tribes. It's tens of thousands of workers with no enforceable right to organize for 23 years. There's a lot of marbles on the table.”

    Torrico said he and Núñez still are trying to persuade the tribes to agree not to oppose organizing efforts.

    “We're asking them to do it voluntarily, to be neutral when it comes to organizing,” he said.

    Torrico said both sides also are exploring whether they can deal with other outstanding issues – such as casino operating rules, enforcement of child and spousal support orders and problem gambling – through a memorandum of understanding outside the compacts.

    Others say federal law requires any such state regulation of Indian gaming to be negotiated and outlined in a compact. The tribes are adamantly opposed to reopening the compacts.

    “These MOU's or MOA's, whatever they're going to call them, are nothing more than unenforceable promises,” said Cheryl Schmit of Stand Up for California, a grass-roots gambling watchdog.

    Sen. Dean Florez, a Shafter Democrat who chairs a committee that held lengthy hearings on the compacts, said he didn't know whether any side deals would be enforceable.

    “The key question,” Florez said, “is are these addendums to the compacts or substantial changes to the compacts? We want to know how that works.”

    It's also not clear whether all five tribes may be included if there is a breakthrough.

    Only the chairmen of Agua Caliente, Pechanga, San Manuel and Sycuan were invited to lunch with Núñez and Torrico. Morongo, which angered Núñez and other Democrats with a multimillion-dollar media campaign urging approval of the compacts, was deliberately excluded.

    “I'm not going to talk about that,” Morongo spokesman Patrick Dorinson said of the slight. “There have been discussions, and we think things are moving in a positive direction.”

    Núñez also reportedly was incensed that former Democratic Speaker Willie Brown, working as a lobbyist for Morongo, was attempting to peel off Democrats to vote for the compacts.

    Núñez alluded to that when he was introduced by Brown at a recent roast of Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata, D-Oakland.

    “Thank you, Speaker Brown,” Núñez said. “Nice to see the casinos could spare you for the evening, or are you still on the clock?”

    Find this article at:

    Thursday, June 07, 2007

    BIA's last official public accounting of Pending Gaming Applications

    In May 2006, the Bureau of Indian Affairs prepared a list of tribes with pending gaming applications for presentation in Congress. There were 52 applications at that time:
        • 34 off-reservation;

        • 1 initial reservation/restored tribe;

        • 7 restored tribe/off-reservation;

        • 9 restored tribe;

        • 1 land claim settlement.
    Included on the list:
    • #2 - Big Lagoon Rancheria (Barstow, CA site) - application submitted March 27, 2006
    • #18 - Los Coyotes Band of Cahuill and Cupeno Indians (Barstow, CA site) - application submitted March 27, 2006
    Not included on the list:
    • Bay Mills Indian Community (Port Huron casino site);
    • Shinnecock Indian Nation (Hampton Bays, NY casino site)

    GM exec married to Ilitch Holdings' VP of Corporate Communications

    Matt Cullen, 49
    General manager, economic development and enterprise services
    General Motors Corp., Detroit

    Revenue: $193 billion
    Civic and corporate involvement: Chairman, Michigan Economic Development Corp., Detroit Investment Fund and Metropolitan Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau; board member, Detroit Downtown Development Authority, Downtown Detroit Partnership, University of Detroit-Mercy, The Parade Co., Mosaic Youth Theatre, Detroit Metropolitan YMCA, Knight Foundation and Hudson-Webber Foundation.

    Cullen has served on or chaired most of the organizations that work to improve Detroit’s greater downtown area. He was a key player in putting together the deal in which General Motors bought the Renaissance Center for $75 million. The company has since spent close to $500 million on renovations and improvements to the complex that anchors revitalization of the city’s riverfront, being undertaken by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, which Cullen co-chairs.

    Matt is married to Karen Cullen, Ilitch Holdings, Inc., vice president corporate communications.

    Doolittle, Young, Pombo and others tied to yet another Detroit casino syndicator

    from a story first published 2.21.06 in the Cape Cod Times

    Tribal Lobbying Produced Results

    ...Documents obtained by the Times from the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the Freedom of Information Act contain several letters, most written in October 2003, from those congressmen and senators, including Massachusetts Democratic Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry; U.S. Reps. Tom Cole, R-Okla; George Nethercutt Jr., R-Wash.; John Doolittle, R-Calif; U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska; and U.S. Rep. William Delahunt, D-Mass.

    • On Oct. 7, 2003, Doolittle, deputy whip and House Appropriations Committee member, wrote to Gale Norton in support of the Wampanoag after he was briefed by tribal members.

    • "It appears that they have been forced to wait too long to receive an answer to their petition for recognition. I ask that you do everything in your power to work with the tribe to resolve this matter."

      He also noted the "substantial contributions to the history and freedom of the United States," referring specifically to Wampanoag Chief Vernon Lopez's military service that landed him on Omaha Beach on D-Day and Glenn Marshall's service in Vietnam with the U.S. Marine Special Forces. Marshall was a "hero of the Battle of Khe Sanh," Doolittle wrote.

      Two months later,
      Herb Strather, a Detroit real estate developer with ties to Michigan casinos and a Wampanoag benefactor, sent Doolittle a $2,000 contribution.
    Strather bankrolled $40,000 to the tribe when it hired a lobbyist from Greenberg Traurig, the same firm that once employed Jack Abramoff who has since pleaded guilty to fraud, public corruption and tax evasion in connection with defrauding Indian clients.
    • Over a span of several years, beginning in 1999, Doolittle received $45,000 in contributions from Abramoff.
    • In November 2003, Strather also gave $1,250 to U.S. Rep. Nethercutt, who wrote Norton on Oct. 15, 2003.
    • On Oct. 16, 2003, U.S. Rep. Cole, former committee member of the House Resources Committee, which has budgetary oversight of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, wrote a letter to Norton saying he was recently briefed by the tribe.

    • "I want to ask you to personally review the situation and ensure that prompt action occurs on the petition."

      Since 1999, Cole has received $5,000 from three Indian tribes that had been clients of Abramoff.
    • On Nov. 25, 2003, Troy A. Eid, a shareholder with the lobbying firm of Greenberg Traurig LLP wrote Norton.

    • "Thanks for taking the time to visit last week. I really enjoyed seeing you," the letter begins. "The Mashpee would like to meet with Interior to discuss the concept of developing a timetable for resolving the tribal recognition issue one way or another."

      Instead of agreeing to a meeting, Norton sent back a letter detailing the status of the tribe's petition.
    Tribal council spokesman Scott Ferson said that the congressmen and senators who wrote letters to Norton and other BIA officials were briefed in Washington by tribal leaders over the course of a year in 2003.

    "The letters clearly prove the sincerity of their sentiments," he said.

    Tribe takes a new tack

    Political campaign contributions from tribe members were far and few between before Marshall was elected in 2000. But after the tribe lost a 2001 U.S. Appellate Court case that would have ordered the BIA to rule on the Mashpee petition by the end of 2002; tribal council leaders, with the financial help of Strather hired lobbyists and began giving thousands of dollars to members of Congress.

    Beyond what Cole and Doolittle received, a Cape Cod Times review of campaign finance records reveals the congressman and senators who wrote letters on behalf of the Mashpee tribe, each received contributions to their campaigns or political action committees from tribal officers or lobbyists beginning in 2003. The contributions ranged from $250 to $11,500.

    The congressman who received the most money from tribe members - a total of $18,000 from Marshall, tribal council Vice President Shawn Hendricks and council secretary Desire Moreno - was U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., chairman of the House Resources Committee.

    Tribal lobbyist Kevin Ring also donated $1,000 to Pombo, according to Federal Election Commission data posted at

    There were no letters of support for the Wampanoag from Pombo among the bureau documents released to the Times. But Pombo did sponsor legislation in 2004 that would have compelled the bureau to review and issue a decision on a dozen petitions submitted before 1988, including the Wampanoag's.

    In December, the Associated Press reported that Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., received $11,500 from Abramoff associate Michael Smith, the Mashpee tribe's lead lobbyist.

    Dorgan is the top Democrat on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. The AP reported that Dorgan met several times with Abramoff's lobbying team and arranged congressional help for the Mashpee tribe.

    Strather, who could not be reached for comment, told the Times in an interview last summer that he gives ''a substantial amount of money'' to the tribe to help shoulder the cost of seeking federal recognition because he was dismayed to learn they had not yet been federally recognized and was grateful for the tribe's history of helping fugitive slaves... (
    Full Story)

    Strather reportedly invested $15 million in Mashpee Wampanoag casino

    from a post at Cape Cod Today

    Tribe spends $8 million to win recognition
    One casino developer gave Wampanoags $15 million

    The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe's long fight to push their petition for federal recognition through the Bureau of Indian Affairs cost $8 million, according to its tribal council chairman... The tribe began its fight for legal recognition 32 years ago, but relied on its own funds for more than 20 years...

    Tribal council chairman Glenn Marshall said he hired genealogists and anthropologists to detail the tribe's history and a lawyer to fight the BIA when it waited a decade before picking up the tribe's application. He also hired a public relations consultant...

    Among the tribe's investors was Herb Strather, a Detroit real estate and casino developer who has given the Mashpee Wampanoag $15 million since 1999. It's not known exactly how the money has been used, and that's one reason four Wampanoag have sued to make the tribe's financial records public...

    Read the rest of this Telegram story here.

    Cape Cod Today Editor's Note: According to Gambling News, Herb Strather sold his interest in a group seeking to build a Detroit casino becauser he could not meet Ohio's licensing standards. The article reports he had "checkered financial pasts in real estate dealings" and well as a connection to a local murder. Strather is quoted in a 2001 story in Detroit's Metro Times when he got a chuckle from the crowd when he said that he was glad the Michigan Gaming Control Board kicked me outof the casino business. It was the best thing that ever happened to me,he said.

    Below are some other links to stories about him.
    History as a Wampanoag backer.
    Opinion piece in Desert Dispatch.

    Mashpee Wampanoag, Strather involved with Abramoff and associates

    From a previous post at the Cape Cod Times online

    A lobbyist for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council is implicated in the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice investigation of Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon, two high-powered lobbyists accused of bilking $45 million from Indian tribes. Kevin Ring, a former Abramoff associate and current lobbyist for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council, comes under Justice Department scrutiny, as do three other former lobbyists with Abramoff's firm, Greenberg Traurig.

    July 2005
    The Bureau of Indian Affairs promises to rule by early 2007 on the Mashpee Wampanoag bid for federal recognition.

    Nov. 2005
    Kevin Ring is implicated in the ongoing U.S. Dept. of Justice investigation of Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon. E-mails recently made public indicate Jack Abramoff personally lobbied Interior Department officials on the Mashpee tribe's behalf. This comes after Wampanoag tribal leaders said they only had a marginal relationship with embattled Republican lobbyist Abramoff.

    December 2006
    A lawsuit is filed by four members of the tribe in Barnstable Superior Court that claims financial malfeasance by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe's board of directors. The lawsuit seeks to freeze the tribe's finances until Wampanoag leaders provide details on their business practices, including their relationship with real estate and casino developer Herb Strather.

    Dec. 18, 2006
    The tribal council, the tribe's administrative arm, votes to shun the four plaintiffs - Stephanie Tobey-Roderick, Michelle Fernandes, Amelia Bingham and her son, Stephen Bingham, and a fifth member, Michelle Russell - but does not notify them until almost a month later.

    Dec. 21, 2006
    Barnstable Superior Court Judge Richard Connon hears the case. He issues a ruling on Dec. 29 denying the petition to freeze the assets. However, Connon does order council officials to allow plaintiffs to see the financial books. By this time, the members are already shunned.

    The four plaintiffs, including tribal elder Amelia Bingham, and a fifth tribe member receive letters about the temporary ban in mid-January. The ''shunning'' prevents them from participating in any tribal activities, holding tribal offices or receiving tribal membership benefits for seven years.

    February 2007
    The office of state Attorney General Martha Coakley reviews the complaints of four tribe members who sued the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council alleging fiscal improprieties between council officers and Detroit casino developer Herb Strather.

    Sources: Cape Cod Times Archives, ''Son of Mashpee'' by Earl Mills Sr. and Alicja Mann.

    With arrival of Wolman & Kerzner, Strather's now minority investor in Mashpee Wampanoag casino


    Mashpee Wampanoag casino gains new backers

    By Aaron Gouveia

    The same world-renowned investors who helped make the Mohegan Sun casino a reality have agreed to bankroll the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in its effort to build a resort casino in the southeastern part of the state.

    Len Wolman of the Waterford Group and Sol Kerzner of Kerzner International have teamed with Starwood Capital — a multibillion-dollar real estate investment firm in Connecticut — in a partnership called Trading Cove Associates, said tribe spokesman Scott Ferson. They join Detroit developer Herb Strather, who began financing the tribe's efforts for federal recognition almost 10 years ago.

    "We felt a relationship with the tribe right away and we're here to support them in their quest to develop an outstanding facility," Wolman said in a phone interview yesterday.

    In addition to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., and Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., Wolman and Kerzner have helped build resort casinos such as the Atlantis Resort in Dubai, the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas and Resorts International in Atlantic City.

    Talks with Trading Cove have been ongoing for several months, Ferson said, but became final last month after the tribe was officially recognized.

    Terms of the agreement have not yet been released by tribe officials, but Strather is now a minority investor with the arrival of Wolman and Kerzner, Ferson said.

    And with the backing of one of the world's best-known hotel and casino investors, Ferson said, there is little doubt about the ability of the Mashpee Wampanoag to bring this project to fruition.

    "The question always lingering was, 'Will they have the capacity?'" Ferson said. "Now we have Trading Cove and partners who are the best in the industry to realize the vision (tribal chairman) Glenn Marshall has put forward."

    Wolman and Kerzner get a cut of the revenue generated by Mohegan Sun until 2014, and Ferson said a similar arrangement will likely be worked out between the tribe and investors when the time comes.

    Wolman said the Mashpee Wampanoag are adamant about operating a gaming facility themselves instead of turning it over to Trading Cove Associates to manage, as was true in the first few years at Mohegan Sun.

    The announcement comes just days before Monday's deadline to exercise an option on 125 acres of land Strather has committed to buy for $1.76 million in the town of Middleboro.

    The tribe also purchased the option to buy 200 additional acres adjacent to Strather's parcel.

    However, Ferson said, no decision has been made about whether that land or potential sites in New Bedford will be used to develop a casino.

    Meanwhile, the tribe has caused a stir among state legislators by circulating a 13-page legal brief that states the governor can negotiate a gambling agreement with the tribe even if the Legislature fails to approve it.

    Sen. Robert O'Leary, D-Barnstable, a casino opponent, said yesterday he had not seen the legal brief. However, he doubted the Legislature, particularly House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, also a gambling opponent, would leave a decision on casinos solely up to the governor.

    "I think in the end, if there is going to be casino-style gambling in Massachusetts, the Legislature is going to have to vote on it," O'Leary predicted. "I can't see the governor trying to do it on his own."

    Cyndi Roy, a spokeswoman for Gov. Deval Patrick, said Patrick is waiting until later this summer to make a decision, after reviewing a casino gambling report from Daniel O'Connell, secretary of housing and economic development.

    To Wolman, who is involved in various hotel and casino projects, including one in the Catskills with the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans, this area is "underserved as far as gaming is concerned."

    When Mohegan Sun opened in 1996, Wolman said the Connecticut market yielded $1 billion in gaming revenue.

    Last year, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods combined for $2.4 billion.

    "Each time there's been significant capital investment, we've seen revenue go up," Wolman said.

    Aaron Gouveia can be reached at David Kibbe of the Times Boston bureau contributed to this report.

    MotorCity Casino opens; Marian Ilitch sits down with reporter


    Her casino growing, she tells of life with Mike


    For 48 years, as the Ilitch family business empire grew from L
    ittle Caesars pizza joints to include hockey and baseball teams, the Fox Theatre and more, it has been headed by Mike and Marian Ilitch.

    Mike's name almost always came first, whether as front man in deals to buy the Detroit Red Wings and the Fox, or as sole owner of the Detroit Tigers -- even if it was wife Marian's sharp eye for finance that helped keep the Ilitch enterprises profitable.

    Today, Marian grabs the spotlight as MotorCity Casino, which she owns, unveils expanded gaming areas to the public in its new Detroit hotel-casino project.

    In a rare interview this week with the Free Press, Marian Ilitch, 74, predicted that MotorCity and two other hotel-casinos under construction will transform Detroit's hospitality industry, luring tourists from faraway cities and drawing suburban families downtown for weddings, bar mitzvahs and other events.

    She also talked about how she and Mike hash out key business decisions, how they once put their seven kids to work peddling Red Wings tickets, why they bought the Fox and what moved her to become Detroit's queen of casino gaming.

    "It's important to me that one of the casinos is Detroit-owned by someone that really wants to invest in the area," said Ilitch, who purchased a controlling interest in MotorCity in 2005 from Mandalay Resort, which had merged with MGM Mirage. She had been a minority shareholder since the casino's inception in 1999.

    MGM owns the Detroit casino with its name on it, and the third, Greektown Casino & Resort, is owned by the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

    And make no mistake: Marian Ilitch is a very hands-on owner. Her prints are all over the $275-million hotel-casino project, from the swooping curved roof design on the hotel to the swank Signature Club for the casino's 1,500-or-so biggest spenders, who get their own restaurant and VIP marking entrance.

    "I want it to be a destination spot," she said. "I want people talking about us, saying, 'Whoa, you've got to see MotorCity.' "

    Gregg Solomon, MotorCity's CEO, said extra expenditures for things like the roof and a half-acre purchase to make room for the new Signature Club would not likely have been made by a publicly owned firm like Mandalay.

    "Public corporations are risk-averse, not willing to do some of those gut-feel type of things" that Ilitch has approved for MotorCity, Solomon said.

    Ilitch fully expects that spending on extra touches to create a four-diamond hotel with a luxury spa will pay off handsomely.

    How the two differ
    Indeed, Ilitch said she learned early in her business life with her husband that she was the more bottom-line-oriented of the two. She told a little story to make the point.

    In 1959, at their very first restaurant, Little Caesars Pizza Treat in Garden City -- she wanted to call it Little Caesars, he preferred Pizza Treat, so they compromised -- the Ilitches also sold chicken and fish dinners.

    Their first customer ordered a chicken dinner. As Marian brought the dinner out, Mike jumped up and said, "This is on the house, you're our first customer." When the second order was for a fish dinner, Mike did the same thing. Marian showed her disapproval and Mike responded, "Well, it's our first fish dinner."

    Soon afterward, Marian recalled, Mike came out of the kitchen carrying a pizza. "I snatched it out of his hand, gave him a little hip thing, took it to the customer and said, 'That'll be $2.39, please.' "

    And so it has always been with the Ilitches, Marian watching the numbers and Mike, now 77, spouting ideas for new products, new businesses, new marketing gimmicks.

    The theme crops up even in discussion of the family's estate planning. There's no easy way to estimate the value of the Ilitch holdings. Forbes magazine guessed Mike's net worth at $1.5 billion last year, and Marian reportedly paid more than $500 million for MotorCity.

    The Ilitches intend to keep their various enterprises family-owned, rather than selling off pieces for cash or selling stock to the public.

    "We've talked about it at length, and as we speak today, we have no intent at this time of making any changes as far as all the holdings that we have," Marian Ilitch said. "I'm just trying to curb Michael so we don't add any more."

    Marian and Mike, both children of Macedonian immigrants, started the pizza chain in Detroit's suburbs after marrying in 1955 and spending a couple of years on the minor-league baseball circuit until an injury cut short Mike's playing career.

    They reconnected with the city of Detroit, where Mike was raised and Marian had worked for Delta Airlines as a young woman, in 1982 with the purchase of the Red Wings, then the doormat of the National Hockey League.

    "They were awful back then," she said. "All seven of my kids, we put 'em in the box office, on the phones, calling people and begging them to buy tickets. I said I wanted to show them how glamorous the sports business was."

    Although the Wings were dreadful in the mid-1980s, the concert business at Joe Louis Arena was lucrative. But then the Ilitches heard about Bill Davidson's plan to build the Palace of Auburn Hills as a new home for the Detroit Pistons.

    "We knew that once the Palace was built, we would most likely lose a lot of our concert business," Ilitch recalled. So when someone pitched them on buying and renovating the ornate, but dilapidated, Fox Theatre, they saw it as an opportunity to hold onto some concert business. To reduce the risk of investing in the Fox, Marian suggested that the family abandon plans to build a new Little Caesars headquarters in Farmington Hills and instead relocate to the Fox in downtown Detroit.

    And the rest, as they say, is history. Mike Ilitch bought the Tigers in 1992 and moved the team to Comerica Park, a new ballpark across the street from the Fox, in 2000.

    When he bought the Tigers, "we didn't know casinos would happen in our lifetime," Marian Ilitch said, noting that Major League Baseball frowns on direct ownership connections between its teams and gambling interests.

    "When this opportunity came" to invest in MotorCity, she said, "I thought, why not me? Why shouldn't I invest? He had his own business and so, now, it just made a lot of sense to me."

    So that's how Marian Ilitch became Detroit's queen of gaming. And why Mike and Marian, married for 52 years, parents of seven children and partners in many a business venture, must be careful about mixing business with baseball. Or is it poker with profits? Or pleasure with playoffs?

    As their Macedonian parents might have said, "Ah, what a country."

    Contact TOM WALSH at 313-223-4430 or

    Wednesday, June 06, 2007

    EDITORIAL: Regardless of extensions, casino plan for Barstow is bad policy and poor precedent



    A plan to let two California tribes build off-reservation casinos in Barstow will not improve with a few months' reprieve. The Legislature should still reject the pacts as bad policy and poor precedent.

    Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2005 signed compacts with the Big Lagoon Rancheria and the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla & Cupeno Indians that would let them open casinos along Interstate 15 in Barstow. But the Big Lagoon tribe is from Humboldt County, 700 miles from Barstow, while the Los Coyotes tribe hails from San Diego County, more than 100 miles from the high desert city.

    Californians approved gambling on tribal lands with Prop. 1A in 2000, but that measure never proposed casinos popping up anywhere tribes can find high-traffic sites.

    The Legislature has not approved the compacts, which would have expired last week had the governor and the tribes not extended the deadline to September. The U.S. Interior Department, which frowns on off-reservation casinos, would also have to ratify the deals. [Feb 13th DOI letters to tribes: Big Lagoon, Los Coyotes]

    The extension does not remove the reasons to reject these compacts, however.

    Neither tribe has any rationale for being in Barstow, except to grab a potentially lucrative location along the heavily traveled route to Las Vegas. The governor should be discouraging such reservation shopping, not abetting a bad precedent. How many other tribes will want off-reservation sites if these deals go into effect?

    Some California tribes do have remote land unsuitable for casinos. The state will need to address that unfairness, perhaps by arrangements that let tribes share land on existing reservations.

    But Indian casinos belong on traditional tribal land. California should not spark a gambling land rush to more lucrative locales.

    Newspaper's regional poll on Indian Gaming indicates some skepticism on new pacts

    PressEnterprise Poll

    The poll by SurveyUSA questioned 603 adults at households in Riverside and San Bernardino counties with phone numbers selected at random last week. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percent. (Click on questions' # below to view graphical representation of results.)

    1. State gambling agreements with California Indian tribes currently limit the number of slot machines that Indian tribes may operate. Should the number of slot machines Indian tribes are allowed to operate ... go down? Stay the same? Or go up?
    28% Go Down
    38% Stay The Same
    33% Go Up
    2% Not Sure

    2. A proposal before the California legislature would let the Agua Caliente band of Cahuilla Indians in Palm Springs increase the number of slot machines it operates from 2,000 to 5,000. The proposal would also allow 3 other tribes - the Morongo band of Mission Indians near Cabazon, the Pechanga Band of Luise?o Indians near Temecula, and the San Manuel band near San Bernardino - increase the number of slot machines they operate from 2,000 each to 7,500 each. Do you support? Or do you oppose ... allowing area tribes to operate more slot machines?
    41% Support
    54% Oppose
    5% Not Sure

    3. If ratified, the new state-tribal agreements would require Indian tribes to share a portion of their slot machine revenue with the state. The state might collect an additional 200 million dollars to 300 million dollars a year. Do you now support? Or oppose? Changing the state-tribal agreements to allow more slot machines?
    46% Support
    47% Oppose
    7% Not Sure

    4. Now I am going to read some statements about casino gambling. For each, tell me whether you strongly agree ? somewhat agree ? somewhat disagree ? or strongly disagree. First: Casinos on tribal land will produce large amounts of revenue for the state.
    32% Strongly Agree
    35% Somewhat Agree
    15% Somewhat Disagree
    13% Strongly Disagree
    5% Not Sure
    [collapsed 67% agree/28% disagree]

    5. Next: Tribal casinos cause criminal activity in the surrounding communities.
    22% Strongly Agree
    26% Somewhat Agree
    31% Somewhat Disagree
    17% Strongly Disagree
    4% Not Sure
    [Collapsed: 48% agree/48% disagree]

    6. Next: Tribal casinos help the local economy.
    37% Strongly Agree
    34% Somewhat Agree
    15% Somewhat Disagree
    12% Strongly Disagree
    2% Not Sure
    [collapsed 71% agree/27% disagree]

    7. Tribal casinos treat their workers well.
    26% Strongly Agree
    35% Somewhat Agree
    13% Somewhat Disagree
    9% Strongly Disagree
    17% Not Sure
    [collapesd 61% agree/22% disagree]

    8. Tribal casinos treat their customers well.
    31% Strongly Agree
    37% Somewhat Agree
    11% Somewhat Disagree
    9% Strongly Disagree
    12% Not Sure
    [collapsed 68% agree/20% disagree]

    9. Has gambling on tribal land in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties been ... Good for BOTH the casinos and the residents? BAD for BOTH the casinos and the residents? GOOD for the casinos, but BAD for the residents? Or ... BAD for the casinos but GOOD for the residents?
    45% Good For Both
    6% Bad For Both
    40% Good For The Casinos
    1% Good For The Residents
    8% Not Sure
    [collapsed 85% good for casinos/46% good for residents]

    10. In the past year, have you yourself gambled on tribal land within the state of California?
    46% Yes
    54% No
    1% Not Sure

    ©2007 SurveyUSA / Contractual Obligations

    State's role in approving casino being challenged once again


    The final say on casino is a matter of debate

    By Sean P. Murphy
    Globe Staff

    With interest intensifying in the possibility of casino gambling in Massachusetts, Indians, legislators, and various state officials are in disagreement over who will have the final say on the high-stakes proposal.

    Some lawmakers say that only a vote by the Legislature can approve a casino. But representatives of the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe say the governor can negotiate a binding deal with the tribe, even without an affirmative vote by the Legislature.

    "The issue of Indian gaming is uncharted territory in Massachusetts," Attorney General Martha Coakley said yesterday. "With regard to the approval process for a tribal gaming compact, the attorney general's office is currently reviewing the matter and has not yet reached an opinion."

    The Mashpee Wampanoags are circulating among state officials a 13-page legal brief the tribe commissioned from a University of Michigan law professor that concludes Governor Deval Patrick has broad authority to negotiate a binding agreement with the tribe, known as a compact. In that scenario, a Patrick-negotiated agreement would become effective even without a vote by the Legislature.

    The brief says the Legislature, in the face of a negotiated deal with the tribe, can vote to reject it within a specified period.

    Not so, said state Representative Daniel E. Bosley, chairman of the House Committee on Economic Development and a longtime opponent of casino gambling in Massachusetts. He said his legal research shows that a casino cannot open without the unequivocal blessing of the Legislature.

    "They are saying we can reject it, but I am saying we have to approve it," he said. "There's a big difference."

    Both sides are trying to get the advantage, Bosley said. "It's all pieces [on] a chess board," he said.

    House Speaker Salvatore F . DiMasi, a longtime casino gambling skeptic, has questioned the tribe's legal clearance.

    "Everybody talks about the Wampanoags having an absolute right to open some kind of casino here," he told State House News Service last week. "I'm not sure about that. That has to be researched, as well."

    Scott Ferson, a spokesman for the Mashpee Wampanoags, said: "Obviously, there's a lot of legal research being done. But it would be premature to speculate over the exact roles of the governor and Legislature in negotiations over a compact, until the Legislature and the governor have spoken on this matter."

    In a statement yesterday, a spokesman for Patrick said the administration was awaiting a report on casino gambling from Daniel O'Connell, secretary of housing and economic development. "The governor expects to make a final decision later in the summer," the statement said.

    Bosley said that the last time the Legislature grappled with the issue was in 1997, when the Aquinnah Wampanoag Indian tribe proposed a casino in Southeastern Massachusetts. He said Governor William Weld asserted he had the authority to negotiate an agreement with the tribe on his own, while Bosley and others insisted that the Legislature's approval was required.

    The issue was not resolved. The Aquinnah Wampanoags needed a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to take state land for a casino, and the Legislature rejected the land deal, Bosley said.

    A casino became a possibility this year when the Mashpee Wampanoags won federal recognition as a tribe after a 30-year effort. Their bid to open a casino on the scale of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, both in Connecticut, intensified in recent weeks when the tribe took control of 350 acres in Middleborough.

    The process for a tribe to open a casino is governed by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, passed by Congress in 1988. While it empowers the Department of the Interior to make most decisions on Indian casinos, the law requires tribes to get the approval of the states in which the tribal casino is to be located.

    In Connecticut, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes negotiated deals that guaranteed that the state receive 25 percent of total slot machine revenue in lieu of taxes, which last year amounted to $435 million.

    Casino proponents argue that Massachusetts residents spend as much as $880 million a year at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, worth about $133 million a year in taxes to Connecticut. It is assumed that a compact with the Mashpee Wampanoags would include a sizable share of revenues for the state, in effect recapturing some of the money now going to Connecticut.

    The Mashpee Wampanoags' opinion, by professor Richard Primus, is based on the urgency of the state government in concluding a compact. If no compact is reached within 180 days of the tribe formally asking for one, the Department of the Interior may step in and impose terms of a compact, Primus wrote.

    "The Department of Interior may be able to issue gaming procedures on terms less favorable to the state than those the state could have secured by negotiations," the brief says.

    Sean P. Murphy can be reached at

    Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    Doolittle committee disclosure falsely reported young rookie lobbyist (son of a Doolittle political operative) as “retired”

    TVT has uncovered records filed with the FEC that indicate Daniel Feliz, a rookie D.C. lobbyist and son of conservative California GOP political consultant John Feliz, contributed $500 to John T. Doolittle for Congress on September 30, 2006. John Feliz is a long-time aide and political operative for Rep. Doolittle and was one of the individuals fined for illegal campaign activities in one of Doolittle’s earliest campaigns for public office.

    Why is that of interest?

    The contribution record falsely indicates that Daniel Feliz, a resident of Millersville, MD, has no business affiliation and is “retired;” but in fact, the younger Feliz has been registered since 5/01/06 as a new D.C. lobbyist representing a client, Blue Water Resorts, and also became affiliated with Richard Alcalde’s lobbying firm Potomac Partners D.C. in mid-2006 representing clients MJM Enterprises and Shinnecock Indian Nation.

    Tangled Political Web: D.C. – Detroit - Sacramento
    Surely Rep. Doolittle and campaign treasurer David Bauer are aware the young Dan Feliz, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Harvard University is not “retired” but instead started a D.C. lobbying career in 2006. Both Doolittle and Bauer have been friends of the Feliz family for years.

    According to the American Association of Political Consultants 2006 Membership Directory, Bauer is chief financial officer of JohnsonClark Associates, 2150 River Plaza Dr., Ste. 150, Sacramento, CA 95833. Bauer has been treasurer for the campaign committees of Doolittle and former Rep. Richard Pombo; as well as their various affiliate committees, PACs and allies. John Feliz has a long held affiliation working in partnership with JohnsonClark Associates.

    Blue Water and MJM Enterprises are controlled by Detroit-based casino syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr.; he and a partner Mrs. Marian Ilitch (Little Caesars Pizza, Detroit Red Wings, MotorCity Casino, etc.) are bankrolling casino plans for the Shinnecock Indian Nation on Long Island, NY. The pair also formed Detroit-based Barwest LLC in February of 2003, a casino development and management company that is bankrolling plans for dual off-reservation Indian Casinos proposed for Barstow, CA. Malik & Ilitch Family members contributed heavily to Pombo, and while not directly contributing to Doolittle have pursued various earmarks and grants that may have passed through the House Appropriations Committee. John Feliz has been affiliated with Malik/Ilitch's Barstow project.

    John Feliz and family members have frequently been employed by Doolittle, former Rep. Richard Pombo and a handful of other northern California based conservatives and their committees. John Feliz has been instrumental in raising money for Doolittle, Pombo and others but avoids reporting any contributions or lobbying activity associated with his name.

    John Feliz founded a political consulting firm, Communications Consulting Group, twenty five years ago. CCG has offices at 1840 Westminster Ct., Carmichael, CA 95608.

    You may also want to review these posts:

    Doolittle and Feliz were fined on two counts of violating CA election law in first run for public office

    From the California Fair Political Practices Commision (FPPC) online enforcement database:


    84206 (currently 84203) - Two (2) counts
    84211 - Two (2) counts

    $3,000 fine - John Doolittle and Friends of John Doolittle

    $2,000 fine - Jack Hornsby, Friends of Jack Hornsby & John Feliz

    $1,000 fine - Jack Hornsby and Friends of Jack Hornsby

    An administrative law judge found that state Senator John Doolittle, Doolittle’s aide John Feliz, and 1984 state Senate candidate Jack Hornsby violated campaign reporting laws in connection with the November 1984 general election.

    Shortly before the election, Doolittle campaign consultant John Feliz coordinated the production of a mass mailer sent on behalf of Doolittle’s Democratic opponent, Jack Hornsby. The consulting services of Feliz and a Doolittle fundraiser, Jim Grubbs, along with 60,000 mailing labels, were contributed by the Friends of John Doolittle Committee to the Friends of Jack Hornsby Committee. The mailer was sent to Democratic households as a tactic to bring Democratic candidate Hornsby into the three-way race with Doolittle and former state Senator Ray Johnson, thus pulling votes away from Johnson to Hornsby for the benefit of Doolittle.

    Doolittle was negligent prior to the election for not making further inquiry into the matter once Feliz informed him of the mailer’s existence.

    Note: this was Doolittle's first campaign for public office.

    CA Political Influence: Labor Unions vs. Native American Interest


    Political Contributions


    Labor vs. Native American


    # of


    Total $

    Labor Interests



    Public Sector Unions



    General Trade Unions



    Transportation Unions



    Native American Interests



    Indian Gaming



    Tribal Governments



    Data obtained from the National Institute on Money in State politics

    CA Indian Gaming #1 in US

    as posted 6.05.07 by KQED's JohnMyers at Capitol Notes:

    Newly released data from federal regulators finds that tribal casinos in California, combined, are the most profitable Indian gaming operations in the nation.

    The big picture analysis from the National Indian Gaming Commission was released yesterday-- showing that nationwide, Indian gaming was a $25 billion industry in 2006.

    Today, a little more detail from the NIGC about tribal casinos in California (and one tribal casino outside of Reno, NV which is included in the commission's regional data). The NIGC says Indian gaming here racked up profits of almost $7.7 billion last year. That's about 31% of the entire nation's tribal gambling revenues.

    Or put another way... 31 cents of every dollar spent at Indian casinos in the U.S. in 2006 was spent in this region.

    And another sense of the size of the Indian casino industry in the Golden State: in 2001, total revenues were about $1.7 billion. That means 2006 revenues are an increase of more than 450% in just the last five years.

    Only tribal casinos in the northeastern and southeastern U.S. came close to California, with a combined revenue of $6.2 billion.

    The report also gives some sense of the size of various Indian gaming operations in the nation. It shows that of the 387 tribal casinos operating in 2006, more than 84% of the revenues came from only 108 of those casinos.

    And at the very top: 23 tribal casinos, which each had revenues of above $250 million. In fact, those 23 casinos accounted for a whopping $11.2 billion of all tribal gaming revenues in the nation (the NIGC won't disclose where California tribal casinos fell in this range, saying the information is proprietary).

    You can find the overview on the NIGC's website.

    Rep. John Doolittle's longtime political operative maneuvering behind the scenes of Barstow casino project

    Documents forwarded to (TVT) and written by Lansing-based attorneys for Barwest LLC during 2005, indicate John M. Feliz (John Feliz) -- a conservative California GOP political operative with ties to Rep. John Doolittle, former Rep. Richard Pombo, and their respective committees and allies -- has been affiliated with Barwest LLC and its partner the Big Lagoon Rancheria Indians.

    Since 2002, Barwest LLC has developed and bankrolled plans to relocate an off-reservation tribal casino in Barstow, CA. In 2004 they agreed to partner with the Big Lagoon Rancheria Indians; the tribe's reservation is located on the northern coastline in Humboldt County more than 700 miles away from Barstow, CA.

    Detroit based Barwest LLC's principals are Mrs. Marian Ilitch (along with her husband Mike Ilitch founded Little Caesars Pizza and also own the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, MotorCity Casino and a host of other sports, entertainment and dining ventures) and a developer turned casino syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr. The pair are also bankrolling off-reservation casino plans in Port Huron, MI and Hampton Bays, NY. Previously they backed and won approvals for Indian Casinos at the Bay Mills Indian Community and in Manistee, MI.

    Feliz has not registered as a lobbyist in Sacramento or Washington D.C.; nor is there any public record to indicate his involvement with the Big Lagoon/Barwest effort. To date, he's attempted to fly under the radar; although, the documents TVT now has reveal Feliz is considered alongside the principals, partners and lawyers for Barwest LLC and its Native American partners.

    In 2006, affiliates controlled by Michael Malik hired Feliz's son Daniel X. Feliz, to lobby in D.C. for their interests. Daniel "Dan" Feliz, an inexperienced rookie Capitol Hill lobbyist, represents clients including Blue Water Resorts, MJM Enterprises and the Shinnecock Indian Nation attempting to influence the outcome of Native American and Indian casino matters.

    You may also want to review these posts:

    YouTube: Barstow Citizen Activist Gets It! Barwest has made no progress going to war with regional tribes

    Barstow Citizen Activist Larry Halstead 6.04.07

    A citizen activist frequently spotted at Barstow City Council meetings, who often sites as a reference tool and alternative source of information, speaks out on the realities of future dual Indian casinos in Barstow being bankrolled by Detroit-based Barwest LLC.

    Barwest LLC began secret talks with the City of Barstow beginning in 2001/02 to develop plans and set out on the approval process to land an off-reservation Indian casino in that community; five years later, Barwest LLC and City of Barstow officials have yet to meet with leaders of regional Indian Tribes and Native American organizations to develop concensus on a direction for any possible Barstow casino resort.

    Instead, Barwest's out of state casino syndicators (friends and business partners of some of Las Vegas' biggest gaming companies), have elected all out war with Southern California's established Native American casino interests and those tribes that are indigenous to the greater Barstow area. In doing so, Barwest has made very little progress toward bringing a casino project to Barstow the last 3-4 years.

    Design of "Harsens Island Crossing" presented

    as posted by American Avalon at its corporate website

    Harsens Island Crossing,
    Algonac, MI.

    American provided the preliminary design of a bridge across the north channel of the St. Clair River from just west of Algonac to Harsens Island. The bridge will provide two traffic lanes with a raised sidewalk and bike lanes and crosses the channel at a slight skew to allow adequate connections to the existing roadway network.

    The preliminary design of the bridge includes 12 fixed spans having span lengths of 146' and a 130' single leaf bascule span. ... The fixed span superstructure is supported on concrete hammerhead piers supported on four 84" diameter drilled shafts over 150' in length due to very poor soil conditions. ... The design of the substructure for all elements required structural capacity in challenging soil conditions to withstand the large ice forces in the river. Project also includes the design of a toll facility, approach roadway, preparation of an environmental assessment, permitting and coordination with the United States Coast Guard, Michigan Department of Transportation and other regulatory authorities. ... (
    Full Details)

    American Consulting Professionals of Michigan, PLLC provides services to both the public and private sector. Our current list of clients includes:

    Featured Projects :

    You may also want to review these posts:

    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

    Play with the interactive tool here or visit

    TIP: Search for multiple entries in the database simultaneously by separating their names with the word and

    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

    The Verifiable Truth