Saturday, August 11, 2007

Michael Malik sues Port Huron Casino competitor


DeFeo hit with lawsuit
One casino developer sues another

Times Herald

St. Clair County’s dueling casino proposals clashed Friday when one developer sued the other, claiming trademark infringement and deliberate efforts to deceive investors.

“Our dream is for a successful project in Port Huron,” said Mike Malik, who hopes to replace the Thomas Edison Inn with an Indian-owned casino and a resort hotel built with a curving, ship-like shape. “We can’t let someone like this spoil all our dreams, all of our years of work.”

He was referring to Tony DeFeo, the Clinton Township entrepreneur whose proposed $600 million development in Kimball Township may — or may not — be anchored by what would be Michigan’s largest casino.

Malik’s lawsuit, filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court by attorney Gary Fletcher, seeks injunctive relief that would stop the Kimball project.

“It’s our hope that the court here will shut him down,” Malik said.

DeFeo referred questions to his attorney, Bob Vickrey of Clinton Township, who said he had not been served with the lawsuit as of Friday evening.

“Until I see it, I cannot comment on it,” he said. “I hope you can understand that.”
Malik has Ilitch ties
DeFeo and Malik share a common destination — establishing an Indian-owned casino in St. Clair County — but they have taken very different paths to get there.

Malik, 53, a former Algonac city councilman who grew up in Detroit and Clay Township, is closely associated with the Ilitch family, the founders of the Little Caesars pizza chain and the owners of the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings. He has been trying to develop a casino in Port Huron for more than 15 years.

His latest effort began in 2001, when city voters approved a casino in a nonbinding advisory referendum. Don Reynolds, the co-owner of the Thomas Edison Inn, led the effort to get the issue on the ballot.

A year later, Gov. John Engler and the Bay Mills Chippewa band agreed to a land swap. The tribe surrendered its long-standing claim to 110 acres at Charlotte Beach on the St. Marys River south of Sault Ste. Marie in exchange for a reservation at the 15-acre Edison Inn property. It does not authorize a casino at any other location.

The Engler-Bay Mills agreement requires congressional approval. Several bills have failed in the past five years, but the effort got a significant boost last month when Michigan’s senior senator, Carl Levin, announced his support. Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is one of the most influential figures on Capitol Hill.

"We are professionals at what we do," Malik said from his office on the 10th floor of the Fox Theatre Building in Detroit. "And by the way, we’re not looking for anyone’s money."

DeFeo gets Kimball OK
DeFeo, 55, a native of New York state, has been energetically seeking investors in his projects.

Two years ago, he proposed building a casino, water park and two separate 500-room hotels in downtown Port Huron. At a presentation to the City Council in March 2006, he also spoke of taking over the management of McMorran Place.

When the Port Huron project stalled, he shifted his target to a 420-acre site beside the Horizon Outlet Mall. Last month, the Kimball Township Planning Commission signed off on plans for a $600 million development that would include a 505-room hotel, 7,800-seat arena, 8,000-seat stadium and a 400,000-square-foot convention center — a facility larger than the Novi Expo Center.

Township Supervisor Tom Portis confirmed Friday there has been no formal mention of a casino.

“The township has received nothing in writing about a casino,” he said.

Malik’s lawsuit contains a floor plan that he said was provided to a potential investor in the Kimball casino. It promises a 307,000-square-foot casino — or seven acres — with 5,310 games including 5,220 slot machines.

If built, the Kimball casino would surpass the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant as the state’s largest.

The label on the Kimball floor plan calls it the Blue Water Resort Casino, a name that Malik contended is meant to cause confusion with his company, Blue Water Resorts LLC.

“DeFeo’s use of the name Blue Water Casino is confusingly similar to plaintiff’s name and appears purposefully designed to confuse investors, the public and public officials,” the lawsuit said.

Lawsuit outlines troubles
Dykema Gossett, one of Michigan’s largest law firms, helped prepare the lawsuit, a hefty document that includes a detailed summary of DeFeo’s past legal problems.

Malik said the intent was to show a “pattern of deception, and it’s not a new pattern for DeFeo. We believe he is intentionally deceiving investors.”

The lawsuit indicates DeFeo has been arrested multiple times on federal drug charges, although he was convicted only once. Five years ago, he was sentenced to time served and three years of probation on a charge of conspiracy to sell marijuana. A clerk with the U.S. District Court in Albany, N.Y., confirmed the conviction Friday and said it followed a plea agreement.

DeFeo also filed for personal bankruptcy protection in June 2001. That was two months before several of his partners agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a company that had accused DeFeo of fraud. The partners left on the hook included Barry Switzer, the former coach of the Dallas Cowboys and the University of Oklahoma; former Democratic congressman Dave McCurdy of Oklahoma; and former Oklahoma attorney general Larry Derryberry.

DeFeo also was sued by a landlord, who accused him of owing back rent for a house in Farmington Hills. The court entered a default judgment against DeFeo for $36,375.

Investors sue in Oakland
Three months ago, TransNav Properties LLC and three individuals — Konstantine Kapordelis, Ilja Vreeken and Steven Vreeken — sued DeFeo and two of his companies in Oakland County Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs said DeFeo’s lawyer, Richard Lehr, offered to sell them 1% ownership interests in a Port Huron casino for $100,000. They said they paid $200,000 for two shares.

Their lawsuit accused DeFeo of fraud and violations of the Michigan Uniform Securities Act. The plaintiffs based their claims in part on a “confidential information memorandum” dated October 2005.

“Economically depressed, the City expressed great support for a casino in downtown Port Huron and are prepared to provide up to 38.5 acres for its development,” the memo said. “The land is comprised of several parcels all contiguous to each other.”

According to the memo, the 38.5-acre site included the old county jail, the YMCA and Bank One, which “has indicated a willingness to sell. All other parcels are owned or controlled by the City and will be available to the Company for sale.”

The memo also indicated DeFeo’s company had invested more than $2 million in an escrow account “to place a hold on the aforementioned property.”

Prospective investors also received this assurance: “The City of Port Huron and County of Saint Claire (sic) both fully support the development of a casino in downtown Port Huron, which will complement Mr. Atchison’s (sic) $200 million development south of downtown.”

The Oakland County lawsuit claims there was never any deal with Port Huron. It noted that City Attorney John Livesay sent DeFeo a cease-and-desist letter in December 2006 that warned him to quit making misleading claims.

Malik raises doubts
Malik first went public with his doubts in March 2006, when DeFeo met with the Port Huron City Council and unveiled plans for a downtown casino. Malik, who was in the audience, spoke out and said DeFeo did not appear to understand the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act or other laws that govern Indian-owned casinos.

“Until there is money on the table, everyone should be cautious,” he said at the time.

In an interview with the Times Herald, Malik listed several reasons for doubt. He said:
  • DeFeo is working with the Lac Vieux Desert Band, a Chippewa tribe from the western Upper Peninsula that has never asserted a land claim that would entitle it to a reservation in St. Clair County.

  • Financial projections show the Kimball casino producing a staggering $470 million in revenues in its first year. What isn’t mentioned, Malik said, is that DeFeo cannot collect the profits from an Indian casino and the public cannot buy shares in one. A manager or developer such as Malik, DeFeo or the Ilitches can take no more than a 30% cut of the tribe’s proceeds.

  • Investors reportedly are being told a reservation will be established via an executive order from President Bush. Lance Boldrey, an attorney with Dykema Gossett, said a president’s ability to do this was removed by Congress before the Civil War.

"If you could do this with an executive order, we would have done it,” Malik said.

Boldrey, who now represents Malik, was Engler’s chief legal counsel for Indian affairs. He negotiated the land deal with Bay Mills in August 2002.

“Somehow, the train has to come to a halt,” he said. “We want to get the story out there so that Blue Water Resorts is not tainted.”

Friday, August 10, 2007

Motown Museum brings trademark charges against Strather, Hitsville

Plaintiff: Motown Historical Museum, Incorporated
Defendant: Hitsville Venture, LLC and Herbert Strather (Herb Strather)

Case Number: 2:2007cv12548
Filed: June 14, 2007

Court: Michigan Eastern District Court
Office: Detroit Office [ Court Info ]
County: Wayne
Presiding Judge: John Feikens
Referring Judge: Steven D. Pepe

Nature of Suit: Intellectual Property - Trademark
Cause: No cause code entered
Jurisdiction: Federal Question
Jury Demanded By: Plaintiff

You may want to review these additional posts: Shinnecock Nation still wants shot at gaming

as posted 8.10.07 at

Shinnecock Nation still wants shot at gaming
The Shinnecock Nation of New York still wants to enter the casino market but is feeling left out of the game.

The tribe wants to build a gaming facility on its reservation in Long Island. But the state is blocking the move, saying it has jurisdiction over tribal lands.

As part of the case, a federal judge determined that the Shinnecocks are an Indian tribe. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, however, won't recognize the decision.

That leaves the tribe in the same place as it was four years ago. Now that video lottery terminals are coming to three major racetracks, the Shinnecocks are worried that the Mohegan Tribe, the owners of a highly successful casino in Connecticut, could be running the new machines at a facility on Long Island.

Get the Story:

Shinnecocks want piece of track action (Newsday 8/10)
Username:, Password: indianzcom

Sun Joins New York Bidders For Track (The New London Day 8/10)
Username:, Password: indianzcom

Ilitch backed Tribe wants a piece of New York racetrack action; particularly on Long Island


Shinnecocks want piece of track action


Just weeks before Gov. Eliot Spitzer names the group he wants to take over operations of New York's three major racetracks, the Shinnecock Tribal Council has complained that the Mohegan Tribe -- based in Connecticut -- is being considered to run proposed video lottery terminals at Belmont Park and Aqueduct.

That, the Council says, would unfairly allow an out-of-state tribe to run a gambling operation on Long Island while the Shinnecocks continue their legal struggle for approval to run a casino on the East End.

"What happens 10 years from now if we're still in court and gaming facilities are springing up in the New York metropolitan area? What happens to us?" asked Tribal Trustee Chairman Randy King.

Trustee Frederick Bess said the potential market for casino gaming is limited on Long Island. "The window of gaming opportunities is, I believe, closing. It makes sense for New York businesses to be done with New York tribes."

The tribe has not filed a formal proposal with the state to operate gaming at the tracks, declined to discuss whether it has any financial backing to do so and has no experience in gaming operations.

In New York State, casinos can only be on Indian lands. But video lottery terminals -- which can look like slot machines but are run by computer chips -- can be installed anywhere with state approval.

That, a spokesman for Gov. Spitzer said, means that proposals to install VLTs to bring in bigger crowds and additional revenue at Belmont, Aqueduct and Saratoga do not require an Indian tribal sponsor.

It's an important distinction, because the state hopes that installing thousands of the machines -- along with restaurants, nightclubs and, possibly, a hotel or two -- will rejuvenate the three tracks.

That's what David Matos hopes, too. He took over the Talk of the Town Deli across the street from 430-acre Belmont Park in Elmont 24 years ago. "I think gambling will help racing and will help the neighborhood," he said. "I hope for something big, and I hope it comes through."

Capital Play Inc., an Australian firm seeking to take over the tracks' management, has asked the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority to handle the VLT part of the operation because of its experience with the machines all over the country.

Capitol Play has offered the state three options to take over the track, the largest of which would cost the firm $1.8 billion. It calls for $50 million a year for 20 years in lease payments to the state, plus $700 million in track and facility improvements. Two options call for VLTs at all three tracks, while the third would place them only at Aqueduct and Saratoga.

The other bidders seeking to operate the tracks are:

Empire Racing, a Saratoga Springs group that includes the Churchill Downs track in Kentucky and Magna Entertainment.

Excelsior Racing Associates, which includes casino operator Steve Wynn and real estate developers Steven Roth and Richard Bronson.

The New York Racing Association, the current operator of the tracks, which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization proceedings.

Empire revised its proposal Tuesday and said it could team with its competitors to form a board, which would include representatives of state government, local communities, the racing industry and OTB.

Earlier this year, it appeared the NYRA would continue operating the tracks and install VLTs at Aqueduct, but that plan fell apart when MGM Mirage -- which was to have financed the work -- dropped out as a partner.

There also have been proposals to close Aqueduct and sell some or all of the 192-acre property, or to have one firm operate the three tracks and another firm run the VLT operation.

The four companies recently were asked to re-submit proposals, or to propose a joint operating venture. The new submissions are being reviewed by Richard Rifkin, special counsel to the governor. Spitzer plans to announce his decision on which group to negotiate with by Sept. 5. Spitzer's choice will have to be approved by the state legislature.

A spokesman for the governor's office said it expects the transition to new management will take place smoothly, and that the change should not affect the racing season, which begins in November.

Tommy Lee, who owns the Belmont Diner near the track, said there are a lot of empty stores along Hempstead Turnpike, and that things seem to get a little worse each year. He, too, wants to see VLTs and a revamped racetrack.

"It would be good for the neighborhood. It would attract more people, which means more business," Lee said. "Business is slow. The economy is down. Anything that would bring businesses up would help."

Staff writer Timothy Robertson contributed to this story.,0,2592563.story

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Gun Lake casino foes vow to block compact


By Nate Reens
The Grand Rapids Press

WAYLAND TOWNSHIP -- Opponents of an Allegan County casino knew months ago that the battle to block a gaming agreement centered in the state Senate.

It remains to be seen if leaders of 23 Is Enough and the Michigan Gambling Opposition have enough votes to stop a compact with the Gun Lake Band of Pottawatomi Indians.

John Helmholdt and Todd Boorsma, who head the casino rival groups, think they do.

State Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, isn't so sure.

"If it's going to happen, it's going to happen without my support," Kuipers said Wednesday. "But, when it comes down to it, the votes are likely there to pass it."

The state House on Wednesday approved a compact that could generate $3 million annually for local governments and an estimated $15 million for the state from the proposed casino along U.S. 131.

West Michigan's contingent voted against the deal, but were overwhelmed by a 63-41 tally.

Tribal leaders call it the most generous revenue-sharing agreement in the state's history and say it sets a new level of regulation, upping a gambling age requirement to 21 and dictating how money is prioritized to cover public safety costs.

Without a state agreement, but with federal approval, the tribe could decide against revenue-sharing.

The band plans to build a $200 million facility with 2,500 slot machines and 80 gaming tables. It could add as many as 1,800 jobs with pay averaging $40,000 per year, supporters say.

"At the end of the day, the Legislature will look at this from a common-sense approach," tribal spokesman James Nye said. "This (compact approval) is the only way to mandate the level of control.

"If opponents don't want gaming to go unfettered, they should support the compact."

However, Boorsma feels gambling is being shoved down the throats of county residents. He said all state legislators in the area oppose the casino, and the will of the majority is being ignored.

Boorsma maintains gambling is not an economic development tool and will only spur social losses from addiction and crime.

"People in Allegan County don't want it," he said. This has to stop somewhere, and I hope the dead end lies in the integrity of the Senate."

Nye counters the lack of popularity by saying local governments, including Wayland Township, support the casino. A tribe-sponsored poll also shows support for casino gambling, he said.

Boorsma and Helmholdt said any compact negotiation should wait until after a federal court has rendered a final ruling on whether the land where the casino is to be built can be put in trust.

A federal appeals court could hear oral arguments this fall, but Nye said similar claims raised by opponents against other tribes have lost at every turn.

Helmholdt said House members who pledged to vote against the casino "caved under the pressure of the bright lights and empty promises."

He said 22 of 38 senators plan to fight the compact.

"We believe we have the votes, but we know it's going to stay an uphill battle and a challenge to keep them," Helmholdt said.

-- Press Booth News Service reporter Peter Luke contributed to this story.

Michigan House approves casino compact with Gun Lake tribe


Associated Press Writer

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A deal that would give the state a slice of the revenue from a planned American Indian casino in southwestern Michigan was approved Wednesday by the state House.

The resolution, passed 63-41 in the Democrat-led House, approves a compact negotiated by Gov. Jennifer Granholm and the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, also known as the Gun Lake tribe.

The resolution also must be approved by the Republican-led Senate.

The tribe plans to build a casino in Allegan County's Wayland Township, about 20 miles south of Grand Rapids. It would employ about 1,800 people and have about 2,500 electronic gambling machines and 80 gaming tables.

The casino has been in the works for several years.

"The compact is the only way the state is going to secure important regulatory agreements," negotiated in the pact, said James Nye, a Lansing-based spokesman for the Gun Lake tribe.

The tribe and Granholm signed the compact earlier this year.

Under the compact, the state would receive 8 percent of the casino's take from slot machines for the first $150 million. The state would get 10 percent or more of the revenue from slot revenue above that amount. Tribal officials calculate the state would get about $15 million from the casino in its first full year of operation, while local governments would get another $3 million.

The Gun Lake compact would require gamblers to be 21 or older. Compacts with other tribes that operate Michigan casinos set the age limit at 18.

States often seek compacts with tribes to gain some regulatory authority and generate revenue for the state treasury. Without a compact, states risk missing out on revenue from casinos that the federal government would allow to open anyway.

In return, compacts offer tribes a measure of territorial protection from state-authorized gambling competition and may expedite the process of opening new casinos. In some cases, compacts also foster cooperation between tribes and surrounding local and state governments.

"The question is, do we want to have a say in this casino, or do we want to have no control and no say and no revenue," said Rep. Barbara Farrah, a Democrat from Southgate and sponsor of the resolution that passed the House.

An Allegan County lawmaker spoke in opposition to the casino.

"The majority of the people in my district don't want this," said Rep. Fulton Sheen, a Republican from Plainwell.

There are 18 tribal casinos in Michigan and three Detroit casinos. At least two other tribal casinos are in the planning stages.

Several of the tribal casinos no longer have compacts attached to them. Some were suspended when the state allowed non-tribal casinos to open in Detroit in the late 1990s. Some other tribes stopped making payments to the state in 2003 because of a dispute over the Lottery starting a game called Club Keno. The tribes said that game violated their compacts with the state.


On the Net:

Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake tribe):

Michigan Gambling Opposition:

OPINION: Reservation Shopping Has Far-Reaching Consequences

Given Tom Shields attack this past week on Southern California's tribes and the fact that they were unable to have equal time at Barstow's City Council meeting, we're posting this from the archives of

Casino developers representing the Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon Indian tribes, who are devising plans for off-reservation gaming in Barstow, continue to mislead the public about the basic facts.

A recent editorial in the Desert Dispatch, “Political maneuvers threaten casino delays” (January 24, 2006), states, “...despite the claims of historical ties to Barstow by some California Indian Nations, this conflict is about greed, not heritage.”

Indigenous peoples of America have strong and unique cultural connections to their lands. The ancestral lands of my people, the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, cover a vast area encompassing most of what is San Bernardino County today. Our lands cover an area that includes Barstow in the north to the San Bernardino Valley to the south; and from Los Angeles east to Twentynine Palms. It is the home of our Creator.

We call ourselves Yuhaviatam, which means “People of the Pines.” San Manuel, a clan of the great Serrano Indian people, today resides on some 820 acres of our ancestral lands, a miniscule portion of what was once a vast territory.

Today, developers are exploiting the tribal status of three tribes, the Big Lagoon Rancheria, the Timbisha Shoshone and the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla, and seeking to move onto our ancestral lands in order to build casinos. In attempting to move these three tribes hundreds of miles away from their ancestral lands, these out-of-state casino developers are putting at risk the cultural heritage of those tribes and, in the process, undermining the sanctity of the ancestral lands of other tribes.

Contrary to the position stated in the Desert Dispatch editorial, we oppose the Timbisha Shoshone, Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon proposed land acquisitions because they involve encroachment on our ancestral lands by outside or “foreign” Indian tribes. Big Lagoon would move more than 750 miles from their Humboldt County reservation in faraway northern California near the Oregon border; the Shoshone would propose to move more than 100 miles from their existing reservation; and the Los Coyotes tribe would propose to move more than 150 miles from their existing reservation.

The land being targeted by Los Coyotes and Big Lagoon for their casino project is 15 miles from where a Serrano village once stood. Human remains found in the area were recently repatriated to San Manuel and carefully reburied at San Manuel under direct protection of the Tribe.
by Derron Marquez

Protecting our Ancestral Lands

On November 10, 2005, Virgil Moorehead, chair of the Big Lagoon Rancheria, was quoted in an Indian Country Today column, supporting the principle of protecting the integrity of ancestral lands: “I am fortunate to be part of a culture that has a continuing and rich spiritual history. My people have a continuing and unshakable commitment to our ancestral lands. In our actions, we never think only of ourselves; we live with respect for all things, in balance.”

Given these words, Chairman Moorehead's actions are troubling. How is it that a tribal leader can so eloquently state what is the bedrock principle for all Indian nations to protect ancestral lands and, with the very next breath, dismiss the same by saying, “... it's just a business transaction.”

San Manuel strongly supports the rights of tribes to develop their ancestral lands as a basic and fundamental principle. To that end, we have made clear that we would not oppose a land acquisition by the Chemehuevi Tribeeven for gaming purposes – because the Chemehuevi also have ancestral ties to the Barstow area. However, we also very much support the basic and fundamental principle that an outside casino developer should not exploit a tribe's status and attempt to move that tribe hundreds of miles away to develop a casino on the ancestral land of another tribe. (
Complete Story)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Charlotte Beach real estate transactions involving Michael Malik haven't been impacted by any so-called "cloud" over title

Over and over again, Members of Congress and others who’ve testified before Congressional Committees relative to the Bay Mills Indians’ Charlotte Beach land claims have suggested they've been told that "clouded" title over Charlotte Beach property has resulted in across the board hardships for current property owners including loss of property values, inability to secure mortgage financing and an inability to obtain title insurance.

Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee:

"Currently, some 100 non-Indians reside in this area under a clouded title to the land…"
* * *

Author of H.R. 2176 (a bill to grant by Act of Congress approval for the Bay Mills tribe to locate a casino off-reservation in Port Huron, MI):

"With a cloud on their title, the Charlotte Beach property owners have been sued, have had a difficult time trying to secure real estate loans, cannot get title insurance, have experienced lost real estate values as well as significantly lower property values…"

* * *

Former Deputy Legal Counsel for Michigan Governor John Engler and Attorney at Dykema Gossett PLLC:

"Today, the families who own land in the area known as Charlotte Beach have a cloud on their title and are unable to obtain title insurance or mortgages…"


But Property Values Have Increased; Ask Michael Malik

Over the last decade the sale of Charlotte Beach lands involving Bay Mills Casino promoter Michael J. Malik, Sr. would suggest something different than what these other officials have reported. Perhaps Michael J. Malik should set the record straight with these folks and everyone else.

In October 1996, James F. Hadley of Columbus, OH, acquired what would later be resold as two parcels in the Charlotte Beach subdivision for $200,000 total from Linton V. Schopp of Detour, Michigan and members of the Mosher Family.

Eight years later, Mr. Hadley’s estate sold the property in two separate transactions of equal value on the same day (November 9, 2004) to:

    (1) Michael J. Malik (MJM Charlotte Beach, L.L.C.) and
    (2) Malik’s one-time business partner Tom Celani (Luna Properties Charlotte Beach LLC) for a combined total of $242,602.78.

The Hadley Estate realized a 21.3% increase in value on its eight year Charlotte Beach property investment.

One year later, Tom Celani sold the property he previously acquired from the Hadley Estate for the sum of $121,309.39 to: John D. Castagne & Lannie K. Castagne, and Eugene G. Castagne & Catherine Castagne of Sault Ste. Marie for the sum of $190,000.

Celani realized a 56.6% increase in value on his one year investment.

In January 2006, Michael J. Malik sold the property he previously acquired form the Hadley Estate for the sum of $121,309.39 to: James M. Reed and Beth E. Reed of Tulsa, OK but he requested that the sales price be kept confidential.


Tom Shields failed to acknowledge Los Coyotes' casino dependent on Big Lagoon developing a casino in Barstow

At a meeting of the Barstow City Council (review video; at 43:35 minutes) on August 6, 2007, Barwest Spokesman Tom Shields was asked what would happen to the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indian's plans for a Barstow casino if the Big Lagoon Rancheria withdrew its interest in Barstow and renewed plans for a casino on its existing reservation -- a path Big Lagoon Chairman Virgil Moorehead has threatened to take if his tribe's currently negotiated gaming compact for Barstow isn't ratified by the California Legislature when it adjourns September 17, 2007.

Shields' answer suggested that the two tribes had seperate land in trust applications pending and implied that the Los Coyotes project could move forward on its own; that Los Coyotes future in Barstow wasn't dependent on Big Lagoon's presence in Barstow.


How is it that Shields does not know that the unratified state gaming compact the Los Coyotes tribe negotiated with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ties any Barstow casino for the Los Coyotes tribe directly to a Barstow casino developed by the Big Lagoon Rancheria.

The Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians' Tribal State Gaming Compact, page 80 reads:

Sec. 14.1. Effective Date.
This Compact shall not be effective unless and until all of the following have occurred:

    (a) The Compact is ratified by statute in accordance with state law;

    (b) Notice of approval or constructive approval is published in the Federal Register as provided in 25 U.S.C. § 2710(d)(3)(B);

    (c) The adjoining parcel, located at assessors parcel no. 0428-171-69, is taken into trust for the benefit of the Big Lagoon Rancheria and determined eligible for Class III Gaming pursuant to section 20(b)(1)(A) of IGRA; and

    (d) The State's compact with the Big Lagoon Rancheria has been ratified by statute in accordance with state law and notice of approval or constructive approval is published in the Federal Register.
In 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger denied the Los Coyotes Tribe a compact for a stand alone casino in Barstow. Later Shields' client Barwest convinced the Governor's negotiators that Los Coyotes would share its Barstow site -- previously approved by the Barstow City Council -- with the Big Lagoon Rancheria.

(Los Coyotes doesn't have any land in Barstow; Barwest does. The City Council had previously approved a site not to exceed 20-acres for the Los Coyotes; yet somehow the two tribes are now planning to build two casinos on 48 acres).

The Governor's negotiators have made it clear that the Los Coyotes tribe does not meet the independent public policy requirement outlined in the Governor's May 2005 Proclamation on Gaming; and that the only reason the Los Coyotes tribe holds an as of yet unratified compact (negotiated but unratified since 2005) is because the tribe has represented it would be sharing its Barstow site with the Big Lagoon Rancheria -- a tribe with independent issues the Governor's negotiators were attempting to resolve.

However, given the many twists the Barwest scheme has taken the last six years, one could assume based on Mr. Shields response that the Los Coyotes Tribe plans to move forward and take Barwest's Barstow land into trust regardless of what direction Big Lagoon Rancheria Chairman Virigil Moorehead decides to take. If Los Coyotes was successful in completing the trust process absent the Big Lagoon, the tribe could force the Governor to renegotiate a stand alone compact with the Tribe sometime in the future; thus beating the Governor at his own game.

A desperate Tom Shields was compelled to fly to Barstow in the middle of Summer to attack

Tom Shields, spokesman for Detroit's Ilitch Family
and their casino syndication partner, 8.06.07

Tom Shields, a public relations and political consultant from Lansing, Michigan, is the spokesman for the Ilitch Family and their casino syndication development partner Michael J. Malik for projects and properties throughout Michigan and across the United States.

Shields flew to California this week to defend his clients' stalled casino plans before the Barstow City Council meeting.

Rather than admit his clients' plans and approach have been flawed from the beginning, or address any of the circumstances or concerns raised by TVT, Tom Shields cast his billionaire Detroit casino syndicator clients as the victims.

In scripted remarks he resorted to desperate attacks on Southern California's Native American tribes, a local citizen activist Larry Halstead and

In particular and as one would expect, Tom Shields used unfounded allegations, manufactured circumstances and lies to attack

In closing his remarks he indicated that he wasn't sure if TVT may or may not be effective. It seems Shields can't believe a few volunteer citizen activists could be a match for his venerable Lansing-based public relations/political consulting agency Marketing Resource Group.

TVT submits that if Mr. Shields flew half-way across the country to attack TVT at a City Council meeting in Barstow, CA - a midsummer journey to the middle of the Mojave Desert, home of "Death Valley" -- it is a clear indication that is more than effective.

Thank you once again Mr. Shields for the acknowledgements!

Note: Shields' clients have formed Barwest LLC; adopted tribal partners the Big Lagoon Rancheria and Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians; and are pushing a scheme to locate the tribes' two casinos, one as far as 750 miles away from a tribe's existing reservation, to Barstow, California. The Detroit casino syndicators are desperate to get a foot in the lucrative California gaming market. Their efforts have been without regard for Southern California's legitimate tribes and have completely ignored the tribes' concerns.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

JACK LESSENBERRY: Mike Ilitch wants to tear down Tiger Stadium, he fears competition


Nostalgia among ruins
by Jack Lessenberry

Whenever I drive into Detroit from the south I get a tiny thrill when the city skyline first comes into view. Suddenly, just over where the rainbow should be, buildings appear that spell gleaming modern metropolis. First the Renaissance Center, then the outline of the river, then the towers of the Fisher and what we all once again call the Penobscot Building, and the rest.

But as you get closer, a growing sense of unease begins when you come upon the city's signature eyesore, the hulking wreck of the Michigan Central (train) Station, Detroit's own best attempt to create the look of Berlin in 1945.

The ruin, not incidentally, is owned, not by the city, but by our own gray spook-in-the shadows, Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun. Anyone who wants to let him corner the market by building a second bridge needs to drive over and look long at that broken-glass horror.

Drive a little farther, and you see the immense, fading white hulk of the place where legends came to play for a century: Tiger Stadium. Half a century ago, new ballplayers called up from the bushes or just traded from teams like the New York Giants would arrive at that train station and take a short cab ride to the ballpark, then deeply dark green. Twenty-year-old Al Kaline thought it looked like a battleship when he first saw it. They all played there: Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and Ty Cobb, Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio and one-armed Pete Gray.

Almost certainly, Mike Ilitch does not want a preserved and redeveloped Tiger Stadium.
Yet it wore out; it was time for major renovation or something new, and eight years ago, after two decades in which fans fought fierce, bitter battles to preserve the old stadium, the Tigers fled to Comerica Park a mile away.

The new park is wonderful, and does as much as any stadium could to honor this historic sport's storied past. In other cities, the normal pattern is to tear down the old park pretty much the moment a new one is complete. That's what happened in Chicago and Cleveland and Brooklyn.

Yet Tiger Stadium is still there, the concrete from the upper decks crumbling, the rest rooms ruined, pipes rusted beyond repair. Two weeks ago, Detroit City Council finally voted, 5-4, to tear it down, leaving the field for kids to play ball on, after the tons of concrete and plastic and steel are hauled away.

In baseball, however, it's never over till it's over. Suddenly, and at the last minute, Ernie Harwell, Detroit's most revered sports icon, stepped forward with a plan to save the stadium, or at least a large part of it, from destruction.

Here's what the world's greatest announcer and his friend and lawyer, S. Gary Spicer, have in mind: They would destroy most of the structure, including all the concrete in the cavernous outfield, leaving a few thousand seats near home plate. The stadium would be knocked back to the way it was when it opened in April 1912, the week the Titanic went down.

What would they do with it? That's a little murky. They would like to see high school and college teams train there, and maybe gospel music concerts on Sundays. That sounds lovely, but it isn't clear to me how that would pay for the upkeep, though one can imagine Wayne State and maybe the University of Detroit Mercy, even, paying to use the ballpark as their home field.

Ernie would also like to see music and sports museums as part of the complex, and maybe a community center. It might well make sense for the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame to find a new permanent home there.

That all sounds very lovely. Whatever that part of Detroit needs — and it needs a lot, economically and otherwise — it doesn't need another vacant lot.

Yet the odds seem long against any of it happening. Contrary to some published reports, Harwell told me Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick seemed receptive to the idea, and did nothing to discourage Spicer and Harwell from traveling to Wall Street to seek the $20 million or so in financing they'd need.

"He said we had a couple months," Ernie said. That cost the mayor nothing; as it is, demolition isn't slated to start till October.

The mayor is too smart to be rude to an icon. But my guess is that KK doesn't think they have much chance of getting the funding they need, and my guess is, sadly, that he is also right. Money is short and tight these days, and Detroit hasn't exactly been a magnet for investors.

There's another reason, too, which nobody talks about very much. Almost certainly, Mike Ilitch, the city's own Little Caesar, does not want a preserved and redeveloped Tiger Stadium, no matter what form that takes.

For what if some enterprising hot shot were to buy or create an independent minor league franchise and have the team play in Tiger Stadium, selling tickets for a small fraction of what they would sell for in Comerica Park?

This year, as last, the major league club is a pennant contender. But the Tigers won't always be good. In fact, for most of the time they've been in Comerica, the team has been so lousy they should have paid us to see them.

Imagine what a scrappy and affordable minor league team might have done to major league attendance in those years. Nor do I see the Ilitches as being thrilled at the thought of a potentially competitive venue for concerts and events. And the Ilitches, with their holdings and their teams and their money, most assuredly have influence in and with the city.

Would they use it to block saving the stadium? Odds are they won't have to, because Spicer and Harwell won't be able to raise that much capital.

If they do, we'll see.

But that's far from the only problem. What, I cynically wonder, is — even if they did build it, how many would come? How many of the suburbanites who want so badly to preserve the memory of Detroit as it was would really make use of this facility? Oh, a lot of them might come — once.

Now if there were some sort of shuttle from Comerica to a renovated Tiger Stadium museum-entertainment complex, that could mean a critical mass. People might come in for a game, take the nostalgia trip, and have dinner at Slows Bar B-Q, or Baile Corcaigh, two fine restaurants within walking distance.

That could work, probably would work. But is anyone really willing to make a commitment here? Part of what this is about is this: On one side, we have a gritty poor city of color, fighting hard for economic survival. On the other, legions of nostalgic whites, mostly long since fled to the suburbs, who want to preserve in amber the images of the Detroit they remember from their childhoods.

They don't really want to remember that the days of bustling prosperity were also a time when Ty Cobb beat a black man senseless in broad daylight for no reason, and got away with it, because he was white, famous and he could.

If all of us got together and agreed the past was important, but that the future is even more so — well then, Detroit might have a future, one in which the best of the past was celebrated and enjoyed, and the worst understood.

We could do that, but we probably won't. But you know what they say in baseball: You never can tell.

The First Beautiful People: The Shinnecock

Lon S. Cohen

The curator of The Shinnecock Nation Museum & Cultural Center asked me to have a seat while Matauqus finished. Matauqus is the Assistant Curator and Site Manager for the Museum is one of the current Shinnecock residents who have gained knowledge that is almost ten thousand years old. A few Shinnecock are reviving the old ways of their culture. The Museum is becoming the definitive resource on the cultural heritage and history of the Nation as told by the Shinnecock people themselves.

With the establishment of the museum on their reservation they have taken another step to preserve their Algonquin heritage and culture. In honor of their Ancestors, whom the Shinnecock are taught to respect, a carved wood door in the figure of a deer marks the dedication and the entrance to the white pine log building.

"The Native Americans sprang up almost simultaneously all over the Northeast, according to the archeological record," Mr. Martine told me as we waited. "The most ancient records show that the Paleo Projectal Points show that they emerged about ten thousand years ago." For that reason, the Shinnecock must rely on the broken geological records and the customs of their brothers from other tribes in the Northeast to fill in the gaps. (Complete Story)

2002 AP Article highlights details of the Bay Mills Casino proposal for Port Huron

from the associated press archives 9.24.02

Gov. John Engler, who repeatedly had said he wouldn't approve any more casinos for the state, approved a deal that will allow an Indian tribe to open a casino on nontribal land here.

The Brimley-based Bay Mills Indian Community had claimed to own land in the eastern Upper Peninsula, property that had been given to it by the federal government, but that the state sold.
As part of the deal with the state, the tribe will drop its claims for the Upper Peninsula land in exchange for the Port Huron property.

If the deal is approved by Congress, the three-story casino proposed last year -- and embraced by 54 percent of city voters in an advisory election -- could become a reality.

Supporters said a casino should generate about $100 million a year in revenues, provide about 1,000 jobs and increase traffic for local businesses.

In addition, 2 percent of the slot-machine revenue would be split by local taxing entities, including county, city and schools.

The tribe has two casinos in the Upper Peninsula. If a casino is built in Port Huron, it would be a 120,000-square-foot addition to the Thomas Edison Inn beneath the Blue Water Bridge and would compete with the Point Edward Charity Casino across the St. Clair River in Ontario, the Times Herald reported.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., on Friday introduced a bill that would allow Congress to"extinguish"the tribe's claim to Charlotte Beach lands in Chippewa County and provide for alternative land to be put in a trust for the tribe.

A nine-page settlement, signed by Engler and Bay Mills Executive Council President John Lufkins, includes information on the parcel of Port Huron land and the percentage of revenues that the tribe must pay state and local governments.

Michigan already is home to about 20 Indian casinos operated by a dozen tribes, but this would be the closest to Detroit's three commercial casinos, The Detroit News reported. Port Huron is about 55 miles north of the city.

Engler spokesman Matt Resch said the agreement prevents the tribe from further casino expansion by limiting it to one additional casino in Port Huron.

"This is a win-win for everybody,"Bay Mills spokesman Tom Shields said.

But Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said the city opposes a Port Huron casino because it could take away business from the three Detroit casinos. He plans to take its concerns to Stabenow.

"We're going to fight it. We don't need another casino that close,"Kilpatrick said Monday.

Marci Fogal, president of the Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said she's been waiting for months to hear an update on the proposal.

"This is very, very exciting,"she said Monday.

Fogal was one of many who campaigned for the casino as a way to boost tourism. She said a casino would have helped entertain the 300 people who were in Port Huron on Monday when the cruise ship Columbus stopped in the city for the day.

"It's not just the casino that would bring money. The people who go to the casino might stay in our hotels, get gas at our stations, buy food in our restaurants,"Fogal said.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Daniel Aronoff and Mike Malik have similar relationships with Rep. Don Young


by David D. Kirkpatrick

WASHINGTON -- Campaign contributions sometimes lead to lucrative official favors, but seldom are the tradeoffs as obvious as in the case of Coconut Road.

The road, a stretch of pavement near Fort Myers, Fla., that touches five golf clubs on its way to the Gulf of Mexico, is the target of a $10 million earmark that appeared mysteriously in a 2006 transportation bill written by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.

The Coconut Road money is a boon, however, to Daniel J. Aronoff, a Bloomfield Hills real estate developer who helped raise $40,000 for Young at the nearby Hyatt Coconut Point hotel days before he introduced the measure.

Aronoff owns as much as 4,000 acres along Coconut Road. The $10 million in federal money would pay for the first steps to connect the road to Interstate 75, exponentially increasing the value of Aronoff's land.

A Republican commissioner of Lee County, Ray Judah, is campaigning against the interchange, calling it an example of congressional corruption that is "a cancer on the federal government."
Aronoff and Michael J. Malik share the same D.C. political operative: Richard Alcalde, founder of the lobbying firm Potomac Partners D.C.

Young may have first learned of Coconut Road on Feb. 17, 2005. That is when he flew to the region on a plane owned by a Waterford, Mich., charter company that is associated with the Aronoff family, which is based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. The Aronoffs are among the company's biggest clients, its general manager, Tom Hector, said.

Young's re-election campaign reimbursed the company $3,422 for the flight, according to his campaign filings.

At the invitation of Mack, Young visited Florida Gulf Coast University for a meeting on the Interstate and other transportation questions. Afterward, Young went directly to the fundraiser at the Hyatt Coconut Point.

His campaign records show that he received more than $40,000 in contributions on one day around that time, mostly from southwestern Florida developers and builders.

Aronoff, whose family is a major contributor to Republicans, gave $500 to Young's campaign and later gave $2,500 to Young's Midnight Sun political action committee.

The Aronoffs gave more than $200,000 to Republican candidates and political committees in 2006. Their business, the Landon Cos., is best known for building mobile-home parks. But it also operates a real estate development business in Florida.

Daniel Aronoff has taken over management of the company from his father, Arnold Y. Aronoff, who had a checkered career in Florida real estate. In 1979, Arnold Aronoff was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud in a scheme to sell Florida swampland at an inflated price.

NOTE: The Aronoff owned Landon Companies and Michael J. Malik's MJM Enterprises & Development share the same D.C. political operative, Richard Alcalde. Alcalde owns the Potomac Partners D.C. lobbying firm. MJM Enterprises is one of the entities Malik uses in syndicating various Indian Casino proposals backed by members of the Ilitch Family (his partners). But the similarities don't stop there:

Michigan Developer directed political funds to Rep Don Young and got $10 million earmarked for Florida road project

Complete article can be retrieved from the NY Times Archive or is available for review here.

Alaskan Gets Campaign Cash; Florida Road Gets U.S. Funds

Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 1, Column 1, 1209 words

Rep. Don Young, Alaska Republican whose constituents are far from Florida, nevertheless earmarked $10 million in federal transportation funds to link Coconut Road near Fort Myers to Interstate 75; Young is also congressman who steered more than $200 million to so-called bridge to nowhere in Alaska; Rep Connie Mack, who represents district, says he did not request money and Lee County officials twice refused to use it, but project would benefit Daniel Aronoff, developer who helped raise $40,000 for Young and owns up to 4,000 acres along Coconut Road; consultant Joe Mazurkiewicz credits 'very good impression' they made with getting Young's help on interchange funds and $81 million for work on interstate; Young's role escalates objections to project as environmental threat to wetlands and example of corruption and improper earmarking; Young was transportation committee chairman until Democrats won majority; Aronoffs gave more than $200,000 to Republicans in 2006.

* * *

Since 2003, Daniel J. Aronoff's Detroit-based Landon Companies have been represented in Washington D.C. by lobbyist Richard Alcalde. In 2004, Alcalde formed his own lobbying firm, Potomac Partners D.C. In addition to his ties to Rep. Don Young, Alcalde came under fire last summer when the Washington Post reported a $50,000 "consulting" realtionship Alcalde had with the daughter of Rep. Jerry Lewis. At the time Alcalde had clients with interests before the House Appropriations Committee which was chaired then by Rep. Lewis.

Since 2005, Alcalde has also represented Michael J. Malik's Detroit-based MJM Enterprises & Development. Malik is a syndicator of Indian casinos and his primary business partners are members of Detroit's billionaire Ilitch Family (owners of Little Caesars Pizza, Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit's MotorCity Casino, etc.).

According to for the Center for Responsive Politics, the family of Mike Ilitch and Marian Ilitch through Ilitch Holdings, Inc. (Detroit, MI) ranked #6 on Young's list of overall contributors for the 2006 election cycle. MJM Enterprises paid Alcalde's firm $300,000 for representation during that same period. Further, Malik/Ilitch controlled entities fronted more than $13,000 in private aircraft travel for Rep. Don Young in 2005.

As the New York Times notes above, Rep. Young held leadership positions on the House Transportation Committee (chariman); and he was a senior members and former chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. Both committees have been critical to he success of Malik/Ilitch casino ventures -- namely plans by Malik/Ilitch to relocate an off-reservation Indian casino in Port Huron, Michigan more than 300 miles away from the Bay Mills Indian Community's reservation.

Rep. Young backs the Malik/Ilitch plan for Michigan and has helped advance the plans in Congress several times. Proponents of the Malik/Ilitch backed casino convinced Rep. Young to bury approval of their plans in a Transportation spending bill during the 109th Congress but that attempt was thwarted.

Map shows downtown Detroit's vacant and abandond buildings

Even as new projects help transform areas of Downtown Detroit like Grand Circus Park, vacant buildings remain, undermining redevelopment efforts.

Big vacant buildings impede Detroit redevelopment


Stumbling blocks: Vacant buildings impede Detroit redevelopment

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

Big empty buildings continue to stymie downtown Detroit's comeback, particularly in the area under consideration for the new homes of Quicken Loans Inc. and the Detroit Red Wings, developers and city officials say.

The long-deserted buildings litter the downtown landscape, ghostly contrasts to pockets of redevelopment along Woodward, Park Avenue and Grand Circus Park, one of the areas being eyed for the world headquarters of fast-growing Quicken Loans. The potential site for Quicken, for example, is flanked by empty buildings. Some fear a fire-damaged structure next to the site could pose a hurdle for any development there...

Olympia on a buying spree

Next door to the Grand Circus Park site is a building whose roof caught on fire when a city-hired construction crew razed the Statler Hotel a few years ago. City officials say something will have to be done with that building for Quicken to build there.

Building owner Anthony Pieroni said he has no immediate plans for the structure and contends no one from the city or Quicken has contacted him. "I don't intend to stop a deal but I don't know how I can be part of this process if no one is contacting me," he said.

He's also aware that all of the talk about Quicken and a new hockey arena makes his fire-damaged empty building more desirable.

"I know what the Ilitches are paying for properties around the area. I would sell that building for a bargain rate," he said, though he declined to give a price range.

Olympia Development, the real estate arm of Ilitch Holdings Inc., had no comment, spokeswoman Karen Cullen said.

Olympia Development, whose control includes the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings and the Fox Theatre, also owns property next to the Statler site. The city is offering that property -- which includes the former United Artists building -- along with the Statler to Quicken.

Olympia has been on a buying spree of mainly empty buildings and lots near Grand Circus Park. This comes at a time when its lease with the city-owned Joe Louis Arena, home of the Wings, soon expires. The company is looking to possibly build an arena in the area behind the Fox... (Complete Story)

Map shows downtown Detroit's vacant and abandond buildings Michigan State Rep. Brian Calley urges support for Gun Lake Compact

as posted 8.6.07 at
Opinion: Support compact for Gun Lake Tribe

"Federal law dictates that Indian tribes have the right to operate gaming as a means of economic development in states where such gaming is allowed for any purpose, by any person, organization or entity. The Gun Lake Band is undisputedly a federally recognized tribe and the state of Michigan has undisputedly authorized Class III gaming by both tribal and non-tribal entities.

Class III gaming basically allows for a full-blown casino. The State of Michigan has entered into Class III gaming compacts with 11 of 12 federally recognized tribes (the Gun Lake Band being the 12th). The state has also authorized non-tribal Class III gaming operations (Detroit casinos) under the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act.

So that part is pretty clear. If a state allows anyone to have gaming operations, then it must allow federally recognized tribes to do the same. Now what about the recent Michigan Constitutional Amendment that requires both local and statewide voter approval for new Class III gaming operations? Our Michigan Constitution has no bearing on federally recognized tribes as they are technically sovereign nations. So our constitution would require a vote for a new non-tribal operation, but that is where it ends.

Here are my options as I see them. I could reject a compact and challenge the right of the US Department of Interior to force one. If the State loses that challenge (and I have every reason to believe we would), we end up with an unregulated, untaxed full service casino. If the state somehow wins, we end up with a "bingo slot" casino that is totally unregulated and untaxed. In other words, no compact equals a no win situation for Michigan.

Or - I could support a strict compact that regulates the gaming, guarantees that those under 18 could not purchase tobacco products and prohibits those under 21 from gambling.

Further, the compact requires that taxes (technically called revenue sharing) be paid to both the local and state government."

Get the Story:
Michigan State Rep. Brian Calley: The truth about legislative authority (The Lansing State Journal 8/5)

Secretary Kempthorne opposed to off-reservation gaming; told Sen. Schumer that approving one would lead to approvals for all

According to reports by the Mid-Hudson News Network in New York, U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has indicated to New York Senator Chuck Schumer that he opposes off-reservation casino proposals; and Secretary Kempthorne, in his role as Trustee for all Indian lands, shared his belief with Senator Schumer that if he approves one of the 32 pending off-reservation casino proposals that are before the Bureau of Indiab Affairs/Interior Department, he would have little choice but to approve them all.

Sen. Schumer has attempted to assist the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe with approvals the tribe needs to open a casino in the Catskills, more than 500 miles from the Tribe's reservation. The project has the support of the local community and Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D).

While Kempthorne was Governor of Idaho, he rejected off-reservation casino proposals.

Sen. Schumer’s office trying to show Interior Secretary Kempthorne why St. Regis Mohawk casino should fly


Mid-Hudson News Network

Washington – There is a full court press on Interior Secretary Kempthorne in an effort to pursuade him to approve an off-reservation Native American casino at Monticello.

Most recently, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, which wants to build the facility, asked the secretary for a sit-down to discuss it with him.

US Senator Charles Schumer is also in the lobbying effort. He met with Kempthorne recently and told him he wants to justify why the secretary should sign off on it.

"He has a western view of things where the reservations are thousands of miles," he said. Kempthorne told Schumer he had 32 off-reservation casino applications and if he does the Monticello proposal, he would have to do them all. Schumer asked him to “let us show you why this one is different.” The catch is Schumer has his staff researching all 32 applications.

If Kempthorne is leaning toward disapproval of the application, Schumer would just as soon have him wait.

"If it’s going to be a bad decision, and I don’t know that it is at this point, it might be better to wait rather than to get a ‘no’ and have to start everything all over, but we’re not ready for that yet."

If approved, the casino would be built in partnership with Empire Resorts, owners of Monticello Raceway, which already has a video slot machine operation at the track.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Detroit betting heavily on casinos


...Over the past eight years, Detroit has brought three casinos into the heart of the city, revitalizing portions of its downtown and becoming the most populous American city with a casino inside its borders.

The casinos, catering to high rollers and working folks, have added nearly 7,000 jobs, which average $54,532 in annual wages, tips, and benefits, according to figures compiled by the American Gaming Association, a Washington-based gaming advocacy organization.

Last year they brought in $1.3 billion in revenue, of which 12.1 percent, or $158 million, went to the state of Michigan and 11.9 percent, or $155 million, to the city of Detroit.

The city has built more hotels in the past five years than in the previous 25 years, according to city officials, diversifying the tax base and turning the Motor City into the fifth highest-grossing casino market, falling just behind Connecticut.

"People thought Sodom and Gomorrah," said Matt Allen, spokesman for Detroit's mayor, Kwame M. Kilpatrick. "But none of that has happened. There's a synergy here. You can feel it, and you can see it. We don't really see any downside."... (Full Story)

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

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