Saturday, August 04, 2007

Sen. Stabenow, Rep. Miller help bring more powerful colleagues on board off-reservation casino bandwagon



Congress.org rates each current Member of Congress on various criteria that demonstrates power and the ability to be effective in Congress in 2007. This results in a Power Score that ranks members for overall power in each chamber of Congress.

Visit Congress.org to see a complete ranking. In the meantime, here's how a few of the congressional players stack up who are said to be involved on one side or the other of the Ilitch/Malik backed plans for an off-reservation casino in Port Huron, Michigan.

Senate
#1 Senator Harry Reid - said to be for
#8 Senator Carl Levin - for
#42 Senator Debbie Stabenow - for

House
#22 Rep. Nick Rahall - said to be for
#91 Rep. Bart Stupack - for
#118 Rep. Jerry Lewis - supportive of Bay Mills
#140 Rep. Don Young - for
#274 Rep. Mike Rogers - against
#401 Rep. Candice Miller - for

Although Stabenow and Miller appear to rank lowest within their respective chambers; they were easier marks for the Ilitch/Malik team (recipients/beneficiaries themselves of more than $200,000 in direct political contributions) and reportedly have been effective advocates introducing bills and bringing higher ranking members on board.

Ilitch Team's political contributions & influence helped Nevada's Sen. Harry Reid become Majority Leader


In 2002, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) hurriedly introduced S. 2986 after Michigan's Governor John Engler did an about-face and signed a controversial agreement that would pave the way for the Bay Mills Indian Community (Brimley, MI) to build an off-reservation casino more than 300 miles away in Port Huron. While S. 2986 had a hearing before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on October 10, 2002, the bill was never moved out of the committee and died. It was reported at the time that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) now the Senate's majority leader, was responsible for blocking the bill in 2002. It was suggested that Nevada gaming interests motivated Sen. Reid to stop the bill from making any progress.

During the next four years, the powerful Detroit billionaires behind the Port Huron casino schemes set to work trying to influence congressional leaders to support their plans.

From 2003-2006 members of Detroit's poweful Ilitch Family and their associate Michael J. Malik, the people behind the Port Huron scheme and various other off-reservation Indian casino proposals from coast to coast, ramped up their federal political contributions possibly as much as 2000% and invested several million in Capitol Hill Lobbyists.

In 2004, they gave a combined total of $22,000 in first-time contributions to two of Sen. Reid's politcal committees. And in 2006 they contributed $26,600 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee which helps elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate.

More significantly, they personally contributed a total of $117,200 -- and encouraged others to do the same -- to efforts to re-elect Democratic Senator Stabenow whose seat was considered extremely vulnerable heading into the 2006 election cycle. Stabenow's re-election helped the Democrats narrowly take control of the U.S. Senate in the 110th Congress; Senator Reid became Majority Leader and the most powerful member of the U.S. Senate.

The Ilitch's and their associate also contributed heavily -- $75,000 -- and provided other political resources to the re-election campaign of Rep. Candice Miller (R- MI 10th); at the time considered to have been one of the best possible candidates to defeat Sen. Stabenow. (Neither the Ilitches nor Malik live or have their primary offices in Michigan's 10th District). Rep. Miller had been asked by President Bush to run against Sen. Stabenow early in the 2006 campaign cycle but she eventually was pursuaded not to run for the Senate seat, and turned down the President's request.

On Valentine's Day shortly after the 110th Congress covened, the Port Huron Times Herald reported the following in an article updating the progress of the Ilitch/Malik backed Port Huron casino proposal:

"The deal still requires congressional approval, but several attempts to obtain it have been blocked. Stabenow introduced a measure five years ago that was stymied by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

"Tom Shields, a spokesman for casino developer Mike Malik, said he has been told Reid, who became Senate majority leader last month, has dropped his opposition. Shields also noted Stabenow, who won a second term in 2006, has gained political clout with the Democratic takeover of Congress."

Friday, August 03, 2007

Treaty rights to go to vote

8.03.07

Special tribal board meeting set for August 7 at Sault casino


STAFF REPORTS

SAULT STE. MARIE - The Sault Tribe Board of Directors voted by a 6-4 margin at a special meeting held on July 31 to hold a referendum to decide whether or not the Sault Tribe should enter into permanent agreement with the state and federal government regarding tribal members' treaty rights to inland fishing, hunting and gathering.

Sault Tribe has called a special board meeting for Tuesday, August 7 at the Kewadin Casino in the Sault, to discuss the issue. The 6 p.m. meeting will be held in the Ontario rooms.

The meeting will focus on resolutions that were previously considered at the July 31 special meeting. The Board of Directors voted by a 6-4 margin in favor of holding a referendum, however, a procedural error pertaining to majority voting requirements as it relates to referendums has prompted another meeting and vote on the issue.

The Sault Tribe is currently engaged in the lawsuit titled United States vs. Michigan, which includes five northern Michigan tribes who have joined together to fight to retain their rights pursuant to the 1836 Treaty of Washington, which has been under constant scrutiny at the state level.

The Bay Mills Indian Community, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, and the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, along with the Sault Tribe are in the process of negotiating a settlement regarding the treaty rights which are being challenged by the state of Michigan in conjunction with Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Bay de Noc Great Lakes Sportsfisherman, Inc., U.P. Whitetails Inc., Coalition to Protect Michigan's Resources, Stuart Cheney, Robert Andrus, and Walloon Lake Trust and Conservancy.

Tribal officials have been working to create a “consent decree” which is essentially an agreement between the tribes, the state of Michigan, and the federal government which defines and details the specific treaty rights of tribal members. An “Agreement in Principal” was signed by all parties last summer, which committed all those involved to work together to formulate an agreement or settlement.

The mailing of referendum ballots is scheduled to occur no later than Aug. 10. The referendum will include any supporting documents, the proposed resolution to approve the consent decree along with the question: “Do you approve of the Board of Directors adopting the resolution titled Ratifying the Inland Consent Decree for U.S.. v. MI?”

The regularly scheduled board meeting planned for Munising on August 7 has been moved to August 14.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Michael Malik at epicenter manufacturing behind the scenes drama in Michigan’s remote Charlotte Beach subdivision.

Michael J. Malik, Sr. has been at the center of various plans to site a Bay Mills Indian Community off-reservation casino in a lucrative urban market for at least 15 years. Sites have included, downtown Port Horon, downtown Detroit’s Foxtown neighborhood; Port Huron Township; Auburn Hills; several other places, and back to Port Huron and the Thomas Edison Inn site. The tribe already has two casinos on its existing reservation lands in Brimley, Michigan.

The following six paragraphs are excerpted from Testimony previously prepared for and presented to the United States Congress, at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs:

"From its inception, the federal [Charlotte Beach land claims] case had the air of a collusive suit. The federal complaint was filed on October 18, 1996.

"On October 10, 1996 – barely a week before suit was filed – one James F. Hadley purchased land within the Charlotte Beach claim area [specifically 3819 S. 1 Cottage Rd., Barbeau, MI 49710]...

"A few months later, on March 19, 1997, Hadley, representing himself, entered into a settlement agreement with Bay Mills...

"Mr. Hadley just happened to own some land in Auburn Hills, a Detroit suburb that he was willing to give Bay Mills in return for clearing his title to the Charlotte Beach lands, and he was also willing to sell Bay Mills land adjacent to that Auburn Hills parcel. The settlement was conditioned upon the Secretary of the Interior taking the Auburn Hills land into trust. The district court entered a consent judgment incorporating the settlement terms on March 28, 1997…

"When it became apparent that the trust approval was not forthcoming, Bay Mills moved on to pursue a different casino site, and the consent judgment with Hadley was set aside on August 16, 1999…

"The district court dismissed the federal case on December 11, 1998. The 6th Circuit affirmed this decision."

Fast forward five years …

In August 2004, Michael J. Malik, Sr. and his attorney William Serwer organize MJM Charlotte Beach, LLC with Malik as the entity’s manager.

In early November 2004, MJM Charlotte Beach acquires the Hadley/Charlotte Beach lands quietly via quit claim from the Toledo, Ohio estate of James F. Hadley for the sum of $121,301.38. It's unclear what relationship Malik or Serwer had with Mr. Hadley or his family prior to this; but understanding Malik's longterm involvement with various Bay Mills casino proposals and Hadleys role in the proposed Auburn Hills casino site, it's likely they had some prior association.

Sometime the during the year following Malik/MJM Charlotte Beach acquisition of the Hadley/Charlotte Beach properties, the parties discovered an error in the 2004 deed transfer documents regarding future division of the property and in November 2005 the parties re-executed the deed transfer documents with corrections allowing for "six divisions" of the former Hadley/Charlotte Beach property.

Two months later, January 2006, Malik signs documents on behalf of MJM Charlotte Beach, LLC transferring ownership of the former Hadley/Charlotte Beach properties to James M. Reed and Beth E. Reed of Tulsa, Oklahoma for the simple sum of $1.00 (recall that a approximately 14 months earlier, Malik/MJM Charlotte Beach paid Hadley's estate $121,301.38 for the property).

As it turns out, James M. Reed is a partner in the Hall Estill law firm’s Tulsa office and his specialties include Antitrust & Trade Regulation, Real Estate and Class Action lawsuits among others. Previously Reed acted as lead counsel for an interstate gas transmission and supply company in the successful defense of claims brought against it by the City of Detroit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, resulting in a verdict and recovery for his client TXU Energy Retail Co. in the amount of $9.4 million.

The Hall Estill law firm has approximately 113 attorneys, in four offices (Tulsa & Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Washington, D.C.). The firms experitse includes Antitrust, Banking & Finance, Energy and Natural Resources, Indian Law, Oil & Gas, Real Estate and others.

Prior to forming MJM Charlotte Beach, Serwer and Malik also formed another entity, CB Property Investments, LLC in May 2002 which acquired and retains ownership of two additional parcels in the Charlotte Beach Subdivision; both with a site address at 3915 S. 1 Cottage Rd., Barbeau, MI 49710.

It is not clear what strategic advantage, game of leverage or other true purpose these acquisitions are intended to serve today or sometime down the road but you can be sure they aren't your routine specualtive real estate investments nor the place Malik plans to build his retirement home.

Given there's been some suggestion that the Bay Mills claims are no longer admissable in cout and that only the Saginaw Chippewa have retained the right to future court claims actions, perhaps it's as simple as being a troublesome property owner if and when the Saginaw Chippewa ever did attempt to exercise their legal rights to any land claims.

Or perhaps much like Mr. Hadley, Mr. Reed or CB Property Investments LLC will find a way to resolve some other land claims matter with the Bay Mills tribe that is admissable in Court by transferring land they own somewhere else (say, Port Huron perhaps) in exchange for resolving the Charlotte Beach dispute -- land the Tribe could take into trust for the purpose of gaming? Or perhaps there's some certain precious natural resource or long term development prospects associated with the Charlotte Beach property to which only a few today are privy.

Only time will tell. But given the players invovled, you can be sure it's some sort of complex scheme to create leverage, advantage and wealth.


Note: The preceding details about land titles come from documents obtained through various public records acquisitions. (You may request copies by contacting TVT at allverifiable@gmail.com)

  • Lawyers.com: Hall Estill Law Firm
  • List of Charlotte Beach Property Owners


  • Click on the 'labels' below to see a selection of earlier relavent posts.

    Sen. Levin's decision to publicly support a Port Huron Casino is financially motivated

    Indianz.com is reporting today:
    "Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan) has decided to support H.R.2176, a bill that would authorize an off-reservation casino for the Bay Mills Indian Community.

    "Levin had been neutral on the issue for several years. But says he was swayed by the economic development opportunities that would be created by the casino."

    H.R. 2176 (Stupak) is the seventh attempt in as many years to get Congressional approval for a Bay Mills off-reservation casino. There has been little significant difference in the economic benefits anticipated from a casino between the seven bills and economic development arguments have been prominent every time considering unemployment rates in the greater Port Huron community are double digit.

    It's absurd to think that such elementary economic development arguments in favor of a casino took a man of Levin's intellect, capacity and experience more than seven years to grasp.

    So what's really different now from any other time in the last 7-8 years?

    The past seven years, those bankrolling the plan for an off-reservation Bay Mills casino have contributed and raised hundreds of thousands for the political campaigns and pet causes of those with decision making authority and power in Congress but never Sen. Levin -- not until this year (March 2007) when they contributed and helped raise nearly $100,000 for Levin in one day.

    In explaining what's been done additionally to pursuade Levin to move away from his long-held neutral position on the off-reservation casino, today the Port Huron Times Herald offered:

    "Levin also has received financial support from casino backers. In the year's first quarter, which ended March 31, the senator received at least $100,000 in campaign contributions from more than 100 donors, including [Michael J.] Malik, pizza magnate Mike Ilitch and Port Huron philanthropist Jim Acheson."

    After all, Sen. Levin did say "economic development opportunities" pursuaded him to finally throw his support behind the seven year old casino plan. Did he simply forget to mention it was his own economic circumstances that have been improved?

    Meeting arrangements and payment instructions for Willie Brown's Barstow casino related lobbying services

    TVT has obtained various documents shedding further light on Willie Brown's involvement with Detroit-based casino syndicators pushing a Barstow casino including several emails regarding meetings with, and payment to, Willie L. Brown, Jr. for his efforts to lobby in Sacramento on behalf of the interests of the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians and Detroit-based Barwest, LLC. Among them we discover the following:

    FEBRUARY 2, 2004
    An email from Marc A. Palazzo, General Counsel for Barronhaus Ltd., dated February 2, 2004 notified certain participants including officials with the City of Barstow of an initial face-to-face meeting with Willie Brown on February 3 at 11:00 a.m. using the Law Offices of Kay & Merkle – 100 Embarcadero (at Mission)

    Prior to that meeting taking place, Brown’s assistant Meredith MacNeill had indicated the following to Palazzo which he included in this email:

      Meredith MacNeill: "I have spoken with Willie Brown and he would like to have the funds wire transferred. I have all the appropriate information you need to make the transfer happen."

    FEBRUARY 20, 2004
    An email from Meredith MacNeill (Willie Brown’s assistant) dated February 20, 2004, and sent via an email address at Carolyn Carpeneti Productions, provided notice and details for a follow-up conference call with Willie Brown that had been organized for Monday, February 23rd at 10:00 a.m. PST. The following anticipated participants were notified:

    • Carolyn Carpeneti (Willie Brown’s fundraiser and the mother of his daughter)
    • Marc A. Palazzo (New York attorney for Barronhaus Ltd. and investment banker who had assisted MacNeill with coordination of the initial February 2 meeting)
    • Michael J. Malik (Detroit casino syndicator; principal, Barwest LLC)
    • Lance Boldrey (attorney Dykema Gossett; represents Barwest LLC)
    • Ron Rector (economic development director, City of Barstow)
    • Lawrence Dale (Mayor, City of Barstow)
    • William Serwer (attorney Ehrlich, Foley & Serwer; represents and structures Michael J. Malik’s various business interests including Barwest LLC)
    • Barron Maisel (unclear; but believed to be a broker/business advisor for the Los Coyotes tribe)


    NOTE: There are no records on file with the California Secretary of State disclosing any lobbying activity Willie Brown may have undertaken on behalf of Barwest, LLC or the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians.

    Casino spokesman provided explanation for proposed Barstow location


    In an April 2004 San Francisco Chronicle column by Matier & Ross, Barwest spokesman Tom Shields, a Lansing, Michigan-based political/public relations consultant, explained why casino development and management enterprise Barwest wants to transplant two Indian casinos from opposite ends of the state in Barstow, one of them as far as 750 miles away from the tribes' existing reservation lands:


    The Chronicle's "Matier & Ross" column 4.07.04 ...

    "Incidentally, if you're wondering why a San Diego-based tribe wants to put a casino in Barstow: 'It's halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas,' Shields said. 'We figured it's the perfect location.' "

    Sen. Levin announces support for Port Huron off-reservation casino in letter to city's Mayor

    8.02.07

    Levin support spurs casino hopes
    Senator's backing could push vote in U.S. legislature

    By MIKE CONNELL
    Times Herald

    U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, who had been neutral on the issue of a casino in Port Huron, has switched course and thrown his support behind a proposed casino at the Thomas Edison Inn.

    Casino advocates, who had sought the senator's backing for five years, hailed his decision.

    "Hopefully, this will get us moving," said Wallace Evans, chairman of the St. Clair County Board of Commissioners. "We either have to get on with it or get off of it, but getting Carl's support is huge. (A casino) is a no-brainer as far as what we need to get things turned around in Port Huron."

    Levin, a Democrat, is one of the most influential figures on Capitol Hill. He has served in the Senate since 1978 and is chairman of the powerful Armed Forces Committee.

    He voiced his support in a letter to Mayor Alan Cutcher, who had written the senator July 10, a day after the Port Huron City Council passed a resolution on the topic.


    "I have been neutral toward this proposal until now, given the number of casinos already in Michigan," Levin wrote. "However, your arguments are persuasive relative to the economic situation in Port Huron, coupled with the presence of the casino in Sarnia. In light of the unique situation, I will support the federal legislation introduced by Rep. Bart Stupak earlier this year allowing the Bay Mills project to proceed if it passes the House of Representatives."
    Land swap dates to 2002
    Stupak's bill, which was co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, calls for Congress to approve a deal made in August 2002 by former Gov.
    John Engler and the Bay Mills Chippewa band of the Upper Peninsula.

    As part of the deal, Bay Mills surrendered its long-standing claim to property at
    Charlotte Beach, a 110-acre subdivision on the St. Mary's River south of Sault Ste. Marie. In exchange, Bay Mills would be allowed to buy the Edison Inn, create a reservation and build a casino and resort hotel.

    The Engler-Bay Mills agreement does not require the approval of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as is normal for Indian-run casinos. However, it does require the approval of Congress and President Bush.

    The council resolution of July 9, which was introduced by Councilwoman Laurie Sample-Wynn, called on Michigan's congressional delegation to support the agreement. It passed 6-0 with Councilman Jim Fisher abstaining.

    Levin's letter was dated July 23. Cutcher, who has been on vacation, was back in town Wednesday, but efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.

    Developers ready to build
    Mike Malik, a former Algonac city councilman and a close associate of Detroit's wealthy Ilitch family, is spearheading the casino development. He has spent millions of dollars on lawyers and lobbyists in an effort to push the issue through Congress.

    "Carl Levin on board with this project will be a great step forward," Malik said. "He's definitely a powerful force who can move this finally to fruition."

    Malik said there has been no movement on the Stupak-Miller bill, which was introduced in early May. It remains in the House Natural Resources Committee, and its prospects are unclear. On Wednesday, a committee spokeswoman said nothing is on the schedule for the casino bill.

    If the legislation ultimately is approved, Malik said casino developers are ready to begin construction.

    "We've been ready for years," he added.

    Past bills go nowhere
    For five years, Levin had neither supported a Port Huron casino nor opposed it. His ambivalence was regarded as a problem by the casino's supporters because it made it easier for other lawmakers to thwart the project.

    In 2002, U.S. Sen.
    Harry Reid, D-Nev., blocked it in the Senate, where he is now the majority leader. He was concerned about the precedent of bypassing the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

    The bill was rewritten to address Reid's concerns, but it was killed in the House by U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, a retired FBI agent. Two years ago, another bid was stymied by former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, then the House majority leader.

    Earlier this year, Miller said the proposal was languishing because it lacked the support of Levin and Gov.
    Jennifer Granholm.

    "If we had a united front, it would be much more helpful," she said.

    Saginaw tribe has claim
    Miller and U.S. Sen.
    Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, have led the push for a Port Huron casino despite the strong opposition of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and other Detroit officials, who see it as a competitor to the three casinos in Michigan's largest city.

    Levin is a Detroit native and a former president of the Detroit City Council.

    The Port Huron casino also is opposed by the Saginaw Chippewa, whose casino at Mount Pleasant is the state's largest gambling facility. The Saginaw tribe argues it - and not Bay Mills - has an ancestral claim to Port Huron. The tribe includes descendants of the Black River and Swan Creek bands, who had reservations in St. Clair County from 1807 to 1836.

    Supporters of a Port Huron casino argue it would be an economic boost for the city, which has a double-digit unemployment rate and one of the nation's highest rates of mortgage foreclosures. They also argue that gambling already exists in the larger community.

    The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission operates its Port Edward Charity Casino directly across the St. Clair River from the Edison Inn. The commission also operates and manages more than 450 slot machines at the privately owned Hiawatha Horse Park in Sarnia.

    City desperate for jobs
    Richard Cummings, president of the Michigan Machinists Council, said Port Huron desperately needs the 2,500 to 3,000 jobs a casino is expected to produce. The city, faced with a deteriorating tax base and dwindling revenues, also expects to receive a share of the casino's net revenues.

    Cummings formerly led the county AFL-CIO, which endorsed the casino ahead of a 2001 advisory vote where Port Huron voters endorsed the project. In return for its support, the AFL-CIO won a pledge that a casino would pay union wages.

    "Sen. Levin has high seniority and is on some very important committees," Cummings said. "Sen. Stabenow has been working on this issue all along. With both senators working together, it's a very positive step in the right direction for Port Huron."

    Cummings and Evans are among the community leaders who have traveled to Washington to lobby for the casino with Levin and other members of Michigan's congressional delegation.

    Levin also has received financial support from casino backers. In the year's first quarter, which ended March 31, the senator received at least $100,000 in campaign contributions from more than 100 donors, including Malik, pizza magnate Mike Ilitch and Port Huron philanthropist Jim Acheson.

    Wednesday, August 01, 2007

    Developer of proposed Harsens Island Crossing toll-bridge purchasing land?

    HarsensIslandBridge.info has published a portion of an email that it received from a Harsens Island property owner with a suggestion that the Detroit International Bridge Company, developer of the proposed Harsens Island Crossing (private toll-bridge), isn't detered by recent application denials from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
    e-mail ...
    "I was called by a realtor today asking if I want to sell my property on North Channel. I am wondering if the bridge company is trying to buy more property on the North Channel to be able to build the bridge without building on other people's property. I understand that that was one of the reasons that the DEQ wouldn't give them a permit. From what I heard at the hearing the two pieces of property that they own on the two sides of the river are not in line with each other and that is a big problem. I'm not going to sell to them, no matter what they offer me. I couln't live with myself if I had anything to do with helping the bridge company ruin the peace and quite on Harsens Island."

    HarsensIslandBridge.info believes "that this is the beginning of the Detroit International Bridge Company's effort to alleviate the riparian rights violations from their denied application to the MDEQ. If they can purchase properties directly across the North Channel from each other they can overcome their riparian rights problems. To get MDEQ approval they would still have to find solutions for other issues such as the lake sturgeon nursery area and possible wetlands disruption which were stated by the MDEQ as reasons for their denial."


    other details at the blog Harsens Island News: Harsens Island Bridge
    (http://harsensisland.blogspot.com/) or click on the "labels" below.

    It appears the Big Lagoon Rancheria failed to file lobbying disclosures for 2nd Quarter 2007

    At the time of this post, details available from the California Secretary of State via its Cal-access system indicate the Big Lagoon Rancheria (chairman, Virgil Moorehead) failed to file California lobbying disclosure reports for the 2nd Quarter 2007 by the deadline required of lobbyist employers.

    However, two Sacramento-based lobbying firms have filed disclosure reports indicating they represented and were retained by the Big Lagoon Rancheria during the 2nd Quarter 2007:

    The two firms indicate they were paid $55,465.27 collectively to represent the Big Lagoon Rancheria during the 2nd Quarter 2007.

    By annotation buried in the lobbying firm's disclosure documents, payments to Governmental Advocates, Inc. for representation of Big Lagoon Rancheria interests were made by Detroit-based Barwest LLC (which the report mis-identifies as "Bar West,Inc."). No such notation is included in the Capitol Ventures disclosure; however, Capitol Ventures indicates it's client is "Big Lagoon Rancheria/Barwest." Former California Assemblyman R. Keith Olberg is Capitol Ventures, Roseville's only registerd lobbyist.

    A third Sacrmento firm, C.W. ‘Nick’ Medeiros, Incorporated reported it represented the Big Lagoon Rancheria but did not receive any payments from the tribe during the 2nd Quarter 2007.

    Barwest LLC has contracts to develop and manage any future casino resorts in Barstow, CA for the Big Lagoon Rancheria and Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians. Michael J. Malik, Sr. and Mrs. Marian Ilitch are principals behind Detroit-based Barwest LLC. Ilitch owns 100% of Detroit's MotorCity Casino which she purchased from Mandalay Resort Group/MGM Mirage. Her acquisition of MotorCity Casino helped facilitate the 2005 merger of Mandaly Resort Group and MGM Mirage. Ilitch and her husband Mike Ilitch co-founded Little Caesar Pizza and the family's empire includes the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings among other sports, entertainment and dining enterprises. Mike Ilitch is listed among Forbes 400 Richest Americans.

    You may want to review these additional posts:

    Moody's continues to assign a negative credit rating outlook for Ilitch casino company


    For more than one year now, Moody's Investor Services has continued to assign a negative credit rating outlook for Marian Ilitch's CCM Merger Inc. which owns and operates MotorCity Casino in Detroit, Michigan. At the same time, Moody's has assigned a stable ratings outlook for Detroit's Greektown Casino.

    Marian Ilitch became the sole owner of MotorCity Casino following the acquisition of majority interests from Mandalay Resort Group/MGM Mirage in April 2005 and a year later Moody's downgraded CCM Merger's credit outlook from stable to negative.

    At this time, Moody's Investors Service has confirmed CCM Merger Inc.'s ("CCM Merger") B1 corporate family rating, B1 senior secured bank loan rating and B3 senior unsecured note rating. These ratings suggest any investment in CCM Merger, Inc. is considered speculative and carries high risk.

    Further, Moody's continues to assign a B1 "Probability of Default" rating for MotorCity Casino's parent company CCM Merger Inc..

    Moody's Probability of Default rating suggests that any investment in CCM Merger Inc. should be considered speculative and is subject to high default risk. In some cases, such as the $300 million in junk bonds CCM Merger sold in July 2005 to finance Marian Ilitch's acquisition of 100% interest in MotorCity Casino, Moody's suggests investors should be prepared to lose up to 88% of their initial investments should CCM Merger default.

    CCM Merger, Inc. is controlled by IH Gaming, Inc. the surviving entity of the Ilitch merger/acquisition of Circus Circus Michigan and it is presumed that IH Gaming, Inc. is an affiliate of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. the parent of all companies owned by Mike Ilitch and his wife Marian.

    A Ranking of Michigan's Five Largest Casinos


    ranking as reported and published 7.31.07 in the Detroit Free Press:


    Michgan's Five Largest Casinos by the numbers


    1. Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort: 4,400 slots, 95 tables

    2. Four Winds Casino Resort: 3,000 slots, 110 tables

    3. MGM Grand: 2,840 slots, 73 tables

    4. MotorCity Casino: 2,530 slots, 84 tables

    5. Greektown Casino: 2,444 slots, 89 tables

    Source: Michigan Gaming Control Board filings, Four Winds Casino Resort

    Another casino set to wow Michigan gamblers

    7.31.07


    New Buffalo facility swings open to public Thursday

    By HEATHER NEWMAN
    FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

    A gigantic new casino is poised to appear on the southwest corner of the state, attracting day-trippers and resorters from Detroit, Indiana and Chicago.

    It has more gaming space than Detroit’s current casinos, a woodsy, luxury lodge-like ambience, and will have a permanent hotel up and running before any of Detroit’s gambling houses.

    It’s the Four Winds Casino Resort, opening Wednesday for media tours and at noon Thursday to the public just off Exit 1 of I-94 near New Buffalo, and it’s one of three new casino locations expected to open in Michigan cities in the next year or two.

    "Absolutely beautiful. First class," said 50-year-old construction worker Bernie Marshall of Mill Creek, Ind., as he scraped and cleaned windows on the outside of the hotel recently. "I’ve been in a lot of casinos, and this one is the top I’ve seen."

    The impact on Detroit’s casinos will be hard to measure. All three claim some outstate, Indiana and Illinois traffic as part of their audience; due to competitive reasons, they’re unwilling to say exactly how much. But those day-trippers may find that passing up Four Winds’ gorgeous stone and heavy-wood buildings — tucked into a mostly natural, 675-acre wooded estate, a scant mile or two from the big lake — may be enough to get them exiting the expressway early.

    "It’s going to be spectacular," project director Matt Harkness said. Four Winds, which is owned by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and run by Lakes Entertainment Inc., will include 130,000 square feet of gaming space, 3,000 slot machines, 110 table games including poker, six restaurants and a 165-room suite hotel.

    That makes it bigger (for gambling, anyway) than anything in the state other than the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant — and it’s a lot more convenient for some folks to get to.

    Three other, smaller projects are expected to pass the last legislative and legal hurdles to open in the next year or two: one by the Gun Lake Band of Pottawatomi in Wayland Township south of Grand Rapids; the Firekeepers Casino near Battle Creek, run by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi; and a satellite operation of the Soaring Eagle Casino in Standish.

    Area business owners and convention officials are cautiously optimistic about the tourists the Four Winds project may bring from Chicago, Indiana and elsewhere in Michigan. (
    Complete Story)

    Tuesday, July 31, 2007

    Detroit-based Barwest LLC has paid more than $613,439 for casino lobbying support in Sacramento the last 18 months


    Based on newly filed disclosure documents available via California’s Secretary of State at Cal-Access, during the 2nd Quarter of 2007 Detroit-based Barwest LLC paid former California state legislator R. Keith Olberg (Capitol Ventures, Roseville) and Governmental Advocates, Inc. a total of $110,930.54 to continue to act as lobbyists for the two adopted tribal partners (Big Lagoon Rancheria and Los Coyotes Band of Indians) who are fronting plans that would allow Barwest LLC (Detroiters Michael Malik and Marian Ilitch) to develop and manage two off-reservation Las Vegas-style twin casino resort projects proposed in Barstow, CA.

    For the first six months of 2007, Barwest LLC has paid the two lobbying firms at least $222,591.58 to represent its interests.

    Prior to 2007, Barwest LLC had paid a total of $390,848.12 to the two California lobbying entities; that brings the grand total paid by Barwest LLC for California lobbying support over approximately the last year and a half to at least $613,439.70.

    In all, Keith Olberg reports to have been paid $300,992.00 since January 2006; Although there remains a $70,000 discrepancy between what Olberg reports he's received cumulatively and what the two tribes report he's been paid cumulatively ($370,467).

    The Governmental Advocates, Inc. lobbying firm has been paid $385,527.70 since October 2005.

    Barwest LLC has failed to register as a lobbyist employer in California and has used the two tribes to front that burden -- sometimes akwardly -- although Barwest pays the expenses and manages the circumstances.

    Another Sacramento lobbyist, C.W. "Nick" Medeiros is registered as a lobbyist for both the City of Barstow and the Big Lagoon Rancheria but has been paid $208,768 exclusively by the Barstow taxpayers since Barwest and the City first opened negotiations in 2001.

    Approximately $965,000 has been paid in all to Sacramento lobbyists to promote the Barwest casino schemes.


    You may want to review these additional posts:

    SMZ is ad agency of record for Ilitch's major sports brands

    7.30.07


    Ad agency SMZ adds Wings as client

    By Bill Shea

    Troy-based advertising agency Simons Michelson Zieve has added the Detroit Red Wings to a client roster that already includes the Detroit Tigers.

    The agency will launch a campaign in September aimed at boosting regular-season ticket sales, said SMZ President Jamie Michelson. The work will include signs, print media and advertising inserts and some broadcast advertising.

    SMZ will supplement work already being done internally by the Wings, who open training camp Sept. 14.

    Michelson said he can’t yet put a dollar figure on the value of the deal with the Wings because advertising budgets are still being worked out.

    The Wings and Tigers are both owned by Detroit-based Ilitch Holdings Inc. The Wings and SMZ mutually approached each other about the ad firm becoming the team’s agency of record, Michelson said. SMZ has worked with the Tigers for the past four seasons.

    The agency doesn’t plan to focus specifically on sports marketing, Michelson said.

    “I think we like, and we better serve our clients, having a diverse client base,” he said.

    PRINTED FROM:
    http://www.crainsdetroit.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070730/REG/70730007&template=printart

    Doolittle faces primary fight


    7.31.07


    As Eric Egland declares he is in the GOP race, incumbent's aide says competitors welcome

    By David Whitney - Bee Washington Bureau

    The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee discussed the challenges clouding Rep. John Doolittle's political future Monday as yet another one materialized -- the announcement by Roseville Republican Eric Egland that he will run in the 2008 primary for the beleaguered congressman's seat.

    Egland is the first to flatly declare for the Republican primary. Auburn City Councilman Mike Holmes also is exploring a primary run for Doolittle's seat, and he said Monday he is moving closer to entering the race.

    Doolittle's campaign consultant, Richard Temple, said the congressman is not worried, and welcomed the competition.

    "In this case, the more candidates the better," said Temple. He said that because the congressman has a strong base of support, multiple opponents will only divide the disenchanted.
    "Neither of them can beat him," Temple said.

    Doolittle, under federal investigation as part of the ongoing political corruption scandal involving imprisoned Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has said he is running for a 10th term next year.

    But in a telephone news conference Monday, NRCC Chairman Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., indicated that the political ground has a way of shifting.

    "There's a factor outside of normal politics that needs to be resolved," Cole said. "We're keeping a close eye on the situation. We hope it resolves itself. We hope it turns out OK for John."

    Cole said he thinks Doolittle will decide later this year what he is going to do.

    "But it sure would be helpful to him and to us if a 3-year-old investigation was brought to a conclusion one way or the other," he said. "I am concerned as much with John's situation as a friend and colleague as I am with that seat as a political prognosticator."

    The NRCC is the political arm of the Republican caucus that lines up candidates for House races, gives them advice on how to run campaigns and raises money to help them win office.

    Last November, Doolittle won by a slim three-percentage-point margin over Democrat Charlie Brown in a heavily Republican district Doolittle previously had dominated. Brown is expected to run again for the Democratic nomination and in the last three months raised nearly $200,000 for the race, almost twice as much as the Doolittle campaign.

    Doolittle's fundraising has fallen since Friday, April 13 when the FBI, armed with a warrant, searched his Oakton, Va., home. His wife, Julie, uses the residence as the office for her bookkeeping and fundraising business, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions.

    Doolittle said after the raid that federal prosecutors think that Abramoff paid Julie Doolittle's company for work it never performed as a way to funnel money to the congressman for help he gave the lobbyist's clients. Doolittle has insisted that neither he nor his wife has done anything wrong.

    Egland, 37, a security consultant and intelligence officer with the Air Force Reserve, last year campaigned with Doolittle against Brown because of the Roseville Democrat's position on the Iraq war, which Egland supports unwaveringly.

    Egland said Monday he believes Doolittle cannot win if there is another matchup between the congressman and Brown.

    "If John Doolittle is the nominee, we will surrender our conservative voice in Washington, D.C., for a generation," Egland said in an interview.

    In a prepared statement, he said that "change is needed in Washington and the district."
    "I have seen firsthand how failures in congressional ethics and leadership have corrupted our government and made our troops, our economy and our nation more vulnerable," he said.

    Egland has no political experience. He plans to file papers with the Federal Election Commission this week that will entitle him to begin fundraising.

    The Doolittle campaign issued a statement from Republican officials from three counties and state Sen. Sam Aanestad pledging their support for the congressman.

    Holmes, who lost to Doolittle in the 2006 Republican primary, 67 percent to 33 percent, said Egland is a political novice whose only issue is support of the Iraq war.

    "I've met Eric Egland on several occasions," Holmes said. "I have listened to his current campaign to assist our fighting forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think Eric is more of a one-issue candidate and needs to develop a broader background in the issues of real concern to the voters of the 4th Congressional District."

    The NRCC does not make endorsements in Republican primaries, and so Cole would not comment on Egland or Holmes.

    But Cole said he was confident the seat would be in Republican hands after next year's elections.

    "It's probably the most Republican seat in California, so we will wait and see how the situation with John resolves itself," he said. "I think he will make his decision accordingly, and so will the people there."

    Yet again Michael Malik shows contempt for CA's Political Reform Laws with reporting inconsistencies

    Yet more inconsitencies with Michael Malik's California political campaign contributions. It seems this silly "game," which began when Malik's affiliate Barwest LLC failed to report an October 2004 contribution of $26,600 to the San Joaguin GOP Victory Committee, has no end.

    Michael J. Malik, Sr. reportedly has made just three contributions to California legislators between April 9 and May 31, 2007 according to disclosures reported by the committees which received the funds. Malik has filed no report of his own to disclose the total of his 2007 contributions to date.

    Contributor Recipient Contest Name Amount Contributed Contribution Date Contribution Type
    MALIK MICHAEL, MJM ENTERPRISES, DEVELOPER, DETROIT, MI 48201 TORRICO FOR ASSEMBLY 2008, ALBERTO, ID#1292667 State Assembly 20 $2,000.00 5/4/2007 MONETARY
    Total Monetary $2,000.00
    Total Loan $0.00
    Total Non-monetary $0.00
    Grand Total $2,000.00
    MALIK MICHAEL, MJM ENTERTAINMENT, OWNER, DETROIT, MI 48201 ACKERMAN, TAXPAYERS FOR, ID#1282840 - $2,000.00 5/31/2007 MONETARY
    Total Monetary $2,000.00
    Total Loan $0.00
    Total Non-monetary $0.00
    Grand Total $2,000.00
    MALIK MICHAEL, N/A, RETIRED, DETROIT, MI 48201 MCLEOD SENATE 2010, GLORIA NEGRETE, ID#1293125 State Senate 32 $1,000.00 4/9/2007 MONETARY
    Total Monetary $1,000.00
    Total Loan $0.00
    Total Non-monetary $0.00
    Grand Total $1,000.00

    From August 17, 2006 until May 4, 2007, (a period of less than nine months) Assemblyman Albert Torrico reports Malik has given his campaign committees a total of $5,000.00 colletively; which is substantially more than Malik has given to most any other California candidates other than perhaps Tom McClintock for Lt. Governor and Taxpayers for Perata. Torrico, a Democrat from Newark, CA is chairman of the Assembly Governmental Organization (GO) Committee which has oversight of Indian gaming matters. In 2006, the Assembly GO Committee by vote of its membership rejected the Gaming Compacts negotiated in 2005 for Big Lagoon Rancheria and Los Coyotes Band of Indians, Malik's adopted Barstow casino partners.

    In contributing $2,000 to Taxpayers for Ackerman, Malik reported he was the "owner" of "MJM Entertainment" in Detroit, Michigan. The Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth's Corporation Division has no records of an entity known as MJM Entertainment. Senator Richard Ackerman is the Republican leader in the California Senate and a resident of Orange County, CA.

    Gloria Negrete-McLeod Senate 2010 reports Michael Malik contributed $1,000 on May 9, 2007. Previously Malik had reported he gave another Negrete-McLeod committee $2,000 on June 1, 2006; however, Negrete-McLeod's campaign committee did not report receiving that contribution nor returning any such contribution; nor did Malik, a that time a "Major Donor," report the funds to Negrete-McLeod's 2006 Committee had been lost or returned to him after reporting he'd conveyed the $2,000 to the Negrete-McLeod 2006 Committee. And further, it appears Barwest principal Michael Malik reported to the Negrete-McLeod committee that he was retired and not affiliated with any business. Senator Negrete-McLeod sits on the Senate Governmental Organization (GO) Committee which has oversight for Indian gaming matters.

    Middleboro casino win hopeful sign for others

    7.31.07


    By Scott Van Voorhis
    Boston Herald Business Reporter

    The Mashpee Wampanoags and their investment backers are not the only ones cheering this weekend’s landmark casino vote in Middleboro.

    The town’s overwhelming endorsement of a $1 billion casino resort is being hailed as good news by other gambling developers - from local racetrack owners angling to bring in long banks of slot machines to veteran casino developers with granderplans.

    The tribe’s casino drive has put expanded gambling back on the state’s political agenda, gambling boosters say.

    "As far as I am concerned, I think the (proposed) Native American casino has put the issue front and center and has had a positive effect in causing the state to have to make a decision on where they are going to go with gaming," said Louis Ciarlone, head of Local 123, which represents workers at Suffolk Downs.

    That would be a major shift from just over a year ago, when a proposal that was pushed by racetrack owners in the state to roll out Las Vegas-style slot machines went down to a humiliating and lopsided defeat on Beacon Hill.

    But this spring the Mashpee Wampanoags were finally recognized by the federal government as a tribe.

    That opened the door for the tribe to acquire land and, with it, the potential to eventually open some form of gambling complex.

    Now others, especially racetrack owners, are hoping to capitalize on the political momentum the tribe’s casino quest has generated.

    "I think there is no question that it moves the issue forward," said Clyde Barrow, a professor and gambling industry expert at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

    Monday, July 30, 2007

    There can be no question why Michael Malik found Rep. Don Young to be such an attractive political figure

    There should be no question why Michigan's Michael Malik was attracted to Alaska Rep. Don Young given Malik’s interests in expanding Indian gaming, real estate development, marine activity and national security ventures; particularly those ventures surrounding the Great Lakes region.

    Given Rep. Don Young’s leadership clout and in particular his committee assignments the last ten years is it any wonder Detroit casino syndicator and deal broker Michael J. Malik, Sr. befriended Young?

    During 106th Congress (1999-2000) Young was chairman of the House Resources Committee (oversight of Indian gaming and Native American affairs matters). Malik had been pushing for an off-reservation Indian casino for the Bay Mills Indian Community since the early 1990s and had made several attempts at marina development.

    During the 107th Congress (2001-02), Young became chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; he stepped aside as chair (Rep. Richard Pombo became chairman) to become vice chairman of the House Resources Committee.

    During the 108th Congress (2003-04) Young continued as chair of the House Transportation Committee; and vice-chairman of the House Resources Committee and was a member of the Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans subcommittee. He was appointed to the Select Committee on Homeland Security and its Infrastructure and Border Security subcommittee. It was during the 108th Congress that Malik and the Ilitch Family dramatically stepped up their political contributions and paid lobbying efforts.


    Freshman Candice Miller introduced HR 831 in 2003 with Young as co-sponsor; and in 2004 Young had language inserted into the Transportation Spending Bill in an attampt to expedite aprovals of a Bay Mills Port Huron casino.

    During the 109th Congress (2005-06) Young continued to chair the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; and Young stepped down as vice-chair of the House Resources Committee but continued as a general member. Rep. Young also continued to serve on the Homeland Security Committee and its Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection and Cybersecurity Subcommittee.

    Again an attempt was made in 2006 to insert language to approve the Port Huron casino into a Transportation Bill; attempts were also made to slip through a bill to require the Interior Secretary to immediately take up consideration of the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s Federal recognition matter; Malik’s biography notes he’s involved in a homeland security project and that he put together and moderated an educational panel on Homeland Security at a Conference in Ireland for Members of Congress and officers from foreign embassies.

    With the shift of congressional control moving to the Democrats, currently in the 110th Congress (2007-08) Young is no longer chair but continues as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; and with Pombo’s departure from Congress, Young is now the ranking member on the House Natural Resources Committee. Young lost his seat on the House Homeland Security Committee.

    Port Huron left out of Michigan casino expansions

    7.29.07

    EDITORIAL: Casinos, casinos - everywhere except Port Huron

    A week ago or so, a business trip took Al Monette to Standish, a town on Saginaw Bay north of Bay City.

    "The talk of the town was a new casino coming to Standish," said Monette, who lives in Marysville and works in St. Clair. "It was all people up there were talking about. ... It made me wonder if the Port Huron area is the only place in Michigan that isn't allowed to have a casino."

    Ain't it the truth, Al?

    Michigan has 17 casinos, including three in Detroit, several in the Upper Peninsula and a string of them up and down the west side of the state. There are casinos just about everywhere in Michigan except the Thumb.

    More casinos are on their way. A look:
    • This week, a $160 million casino is scheduled to open at New Buffalo in the extreme southwest corner of the state. The state's 18th casino, owned by the Pokagon band of the Potawatomi tribe, is creating 3,500 jobs. The 124,000-square-foot gaming hall reportedly includes 3,000 slot machines, 85 table games and a poker room with 19 tables. The development off Exit 1 of Interstate 94 also features a 160-room hotel and six restaurants.

    • Last week, the Legislature gave preliminary approval to Gov. Jennifer Granholm's deal with the Gun Lake band, another branch of the Potawatomi nation. Plans call for a 198,000-square-foot casino with 2,500 slots and 80 table games in Wayland Township, about 20 miles south of Grand Rapids. It is expected to create 1,800 jobs.

    • Earlier this month, a federal appeals court issued a ruling that clears the way for the Huron band of Potawatomi to build a $270 million, 226,000-square-foot casino off Interstate 94 near Battle Creek. It will include 2,500 gaming devices - about as many as one of the Detroit casinos - and it will generate 2,500 jobs.

    • Finally, the Saginaw Chippewa - the tribe that was awarded a reservation beside the Black River in Port Huron 200 years ago this autumn - broke ground earlier this month for a casino on the Saganing reservation a few miles outside of Standish. Plans call for a 32,000-square-foot casino with 700 slots, 40 table games and 300 jobs.

    • Meanwhile, efforts to bring a casino to Port Huron plod on.
    Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, and Rep. Candice Miller, R-Port Huron, introduced a bill in early May seeking congressional approval of a deal struck five years ago between former Gov. John Engler and the Bay Mills Chippewa.

    The agreement of August 2002 called for Bay Mills to surrender a long-standing claim to property in
    Charlotte Beach, a 110-acre subdivision on the St. Marys River south of Sault Ste. Marie. In exchange, Bay Mills would get a "reservation" on the Thomas Edison Inn property in Port Huron.

    The Stupak-Miller bill was sent to the House Natural Resources Committee, where it has the support of the panel's Democratic chairman, Nick Rahall of West Virginia, and the senior Republican,
    Don Young of Alaska.

    Usually, if a committee's leaders support a bill, its prospects are excellent. Not so in this case, where it appears someone has bottled up the Port Huron measure.

    I have been told that's the work of Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Flint, who in the past has received generous support from the Saginaw Chippewa, owners of the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant.

    Why would a West Virginian and an Alaskan care about Port Huron?

    Rahall and Young apparently were convinced to support the casino by fair-trade arguments.

    Casinos in Detroit and the Sault, for example, compete with gaming halls just across the border in Ontario. Why shouldn't Port Huron be given the same opportunity?

    There are, after all, casinos just across the St. Clair River in Point Edward and Sarnia. The larger community already has gambling. Is there some reason why Americans cannot be allowed to share the jobs and the profits?

    If it seems a compelling argument, it hasn't swayed the opposition.

    Past efforts to win congressional approval have been squashed by a Democrat (Sen.
    Harry Reid of Nevada) and a Republican (Rep. Mike Rogers of Brighton).

    Two years ago, the dirty work was done by Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, the powerful and some would say scurrilous House majority leader.

    Why would a Texan care about Port Huron?

    Hmm. Just a guess here, but DeLay did benefit handsomely from his friendship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who's now in a federal prison. Abramoff, in turn, collected about $14 million in fees from the Saginaw Chippewa.

    The Saginaw and Grand Traverse bands, which operate profitable casinos, strongly oppose a Port Huron rival.

    Other influential opponents include Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who wishes to smother anything that resembles competition from Port Huron.

    Kilpatrick is following a long-standing tradition with his wariness of anything that might benefit Port Huron and the Thumb at Detroit's expense.

    Perhaps the most extreme - and ludicrous - example of this tradition occurred in the aftermath of the Great Thumb Fire of 1881. U.S. Sen. Omar Conger and other Port Huron residents undertook an ambitious relief effort to help the victims. Detroiters quickly set up a rival relief effort.

    Why compete over charity?

    Politicians in both towns feared an invasion of homeless, penniless refugees, and merchants wanted to ensure that survivors rebuilt with supplies bought at their shops. The story of this remarkable if rather grim competition was told two years ago in a wonderful essay written for the Michigan Historical Reviewby Philip G. Terrie, a professor of American culture studies at Bowling Green State University.

    There are reasons to wonder if Port Huron has been the target of almost conspiratorial efforts to keep it a backwater.

    Michigan has 15 traditional public universities, for example, but none are located in the Thumb. Indeed, Miller's district is one of the few in the nation without a four-year public college.

    The late John Wismer - a Port Huron native whose brother, Harry, founded the New York Jets football franchise - often lamented his failure to establish a commercial TV station in his hometown in the 1950s. The networks weren't interested, he said, because they saw Port Huron as the scum floating on Detroit's pond.

    Perhaps the best example of Port Huron as a backwater: In the 187 years since St. Clair County was founded, a sitting president never has set foot here.

    This is true even though presidents routinely fly in and out of the Selfridge Air National Guard base, a 10-minute drive from the county line. And we are talking of a community of more than 170,000 people. Rest assured there is not a more populous county anywhere in the nation that has been similarly snubbed.

    It may smack of sour grapes or an inferiority complex, but one gets weary of hearing the refrain: Port Huron? Pffft.

    CNIGA Factoids

    as provided by Copley News Service 7.30.07

    PROFILE: CALIFORNIA NATIONS INDIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION (CNIGA)

    CNIGA was formed to bring tribes together to focus on and advocate for Indian gaming.

    Established: 1988

    Membership: 65 tribes, 35 with casinos, 30 without.

    Annual budget: $1.2 million

    Annual fees: Up to $80,000 for tribes with large casinos, $650 for nongaming tribes.

    Profile: A political force that has influence in Sacramento and Washington.

    Dispute: Poorer, nongaming tribes seeking more power within the organization. Some wealthy gaming tribes may bolt.

    Official Web site: CNIGA - California Nations Indian Gaming Association

    On TheVerifiableTruth.com: CNIGA

    Classic Dennis Whittlesey: "obtuse and evasive" and in reality representing special interests





    On to the BOS [Board of Selectmen] meeting. I don't know how to describe it. It was a presentation designed to sell the agreement and discredit the opposition.

    I was very disappointed in Dennis Whittlesey. He was obtuse and evasive to specific and simple questions. [Apparently retained to represent the Town of Middleborough and its citizenry on the matter of a Mashpee Wampanoag casino in their community but clearly an advocate for a Middleborough Casino].

    In an unbelievable exchange, Rich Young asked Whittlesey (and Selectman Adam Bond) if they knew what the average casino hotel comp rate was. The comp rate is the amount of rooms that are given out for free for promotions and other reasons. This of course will affect the 4% we get from room taxes since free rooms are not included. When Whittlesey didn't know the answer. Rich told them the amount of rooms that will be subject to the 4% tax could be as little as 10-32%, Whittlesey accused Rich of getting the information off of the CERA website.

    CERA is a group that opposes Indian sovereignty and has nothing to do with gambling or details of gambling industry hotel data. The opposition has been trying to connect us with CERA and thereby paint us being involved with a group that is regarded as racist by Indian tribes.

    It was an unbelievably transparent attack on Rich and the group.

    I had 3 questions I wanted answered - I got the answer to one of them. The other two were not answered and I was finally silenced by Ms. Brunelle.

    The three questions were:

    1. The tribe pays 2 million for new police and EMS including salary and training. I wanted to verify that this 2 million dollar "benefit" becomes a 2 million dollar "cost" when the facility comes online. At this point, Adam attacked my credibility - telling everyone that I would be against the casino no matter how much money was offered. I think I actually saw Ruth G. wince at this point. I hearby publicly admit that there is no amount of money that would make me comfortable with exposing my fellow townspeople to the ravages of gambling addiction and accompanying social damage that goes along with a gambling casino.

    2. I wanted a list of communities who were forced to have casinos even after they challenged the trust process. It was bordering on impossible to decipher to the rambling answer Whittlesey provided - but I believe that he couldn't answer the question. Despite a second attempt at asking it.

    3. I asked how much money we would have gotten in last agreement - the Whittlesey agreement that was rejected on July 3, 2007. Again the question was not answered and I was silenced by Ms. Brunelle.

    It's nice to see that the BOS is consistent in it's treatment of the unwashed masses who dare ask salient questions. Same old, same old.

    We went up against the pro-casino's best and brightest [including attorney Dennis J. Whittlesey of the Dickinson Wright law firm] and had them stymied and flummoxed with simple straightforward questions. And we weren't even trying - just trying to get information so we can do an honest evaluation of the agreement.

    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 allverifiable@gmail.com

    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

    Muckety.com: Mapping Social Networks

    Play with the interactive tool here or visit Muckety.com

    TIP: Search for multiple entries in the Muckety.com 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? Forbes.com 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 newsday.com 06.16.05 ● Ilitch Plans to Expand Casino Empire RGTonline.com 07.05.05 ● Ilitch outbids partners MichiganDaily.com 04.14.05 ● Ilitch enmeshed in NY casino dispute detnews.com 03.20.05 ● Marian Ilitch, high roller freep.com 03.20.05 ● MGM Mirage to Decide on Offer for Casino in Detroit rgtonline.com 04.16.05 ● Secret deal for MotorCity alleged freep.com 02.15.05 ● Los Coyotes get new developer desertdispatch.com 02.08.05 Detroit casino figure to finance Barstow project LasVegasSun.com 07.07.03 ● Indian Band trying to put casino in Barstow signonSanDiego.com 06.04.03 Pizza matriarch takes on casino roles detnews.com 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 Michigan.gov 01.01.00 ● Detroit Team to run Michigan’s newest Indian casino detnews.com 05.23.99 Tiger ties tangle Marian Ilitch detnews.com 04.29.99 ● Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests gamblingmagazine.com 04.25.99 ● Partners’ cash revived election; They say money was crucial to Prop-E detnews.com 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 detnews.com 04.25.99 Can a pair win a jackpot?: local men hope to... crainsdetroit.com 03.17.97

    The Verifiable Truth