Friday, November 09, 2007

Mike Malik & Marian Ilitch target casino development for communities with crime problems

Detroit-based casino syndicators Michael J. Malik, Sr. and Mrs. Marian Ilitch target communities with high crime rates and criminal activity for proposed casino development but in most cases fail to offer any real guarantees that casinos will pay for increased burdens upon local law enforcement which is already stretched thin.

In Barstow (CA), Port Huron (MI), Queens (NY) as well as on Long Island (NY), casino syndicators Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik have been bankrolling and attempting to advance plans for off-reservation Indian casinos. Crime rates in Barstow and Port Huron are climbing and have far outpaced the national average and this past summer there was a sophistacted pre-dawn raid on the Shinnecock Reservation and in neighboring communities meant to aid in the capture of drug dealers and other local criminals.

Not suprisingly, these communities are also struggling economically, another reason why they've been targeted by Detroit-based casino syndicators. However, few specifics and commitments have been offered up to these communities to guarantee that any casino resorts developed there won't be a further burden on the currently under-resourced law enforcement officials.

In Barstow, the Ilitch/Malik entity Barwest LLC negotiated an agreement with City officials in 2004 that called for specific funding of fire protection services but nothing guaranteed for local law enforcement. Only after another tribe stepped forward in 2005 to offer additional support for law enforcement did Barwest attempt to renegotiate the deal to offer something specific to police.

In Port Huron, there is no local agreement in place. The State would collect a small share of revenues from any casino resort developed and then direct a portion of that to local entities for use at their discretion.

And on Long Island in The Hamptons where the Ilitch/Malik entity Gateway Casino resorts and the Shinnecock tribe have proposed to build a casino resort, there is nothing in place to protect the neighboring communities or to fund anticipated burdens on local law enforcement.

It's interesting to note that despite a ratio of police officers per capita which is slightly better than the national average; crime in Detroit, where Ilitch owns MotorCity Casino, far out paces the national average and is growing; while crime nationally has been decreasing since 2001.

Crime sky rocketing in Port Huron; no guarantees casino will fund increased police, fire protection needs

According to, an independent monitoring agency, Port Huron's crime rates have climbed in recent years; and out-paced the national average which has been declining since 2001. Further, Port Huron's ratio of police officers per capita is below (slightly better than half) the national average.


While Port Huron voters in 2001 narrowly approved, by non-binding advisory vote, an off-reservation Indian casino resort (Bay Mills Indian Community) to be developed at the Thomas Edison Inn site next to the Blue Water International Bridge; there is no agreement in place between the tribe or its developer (Blue Water Resorts, LLC) and the City of Port Huron to provide additional resources for what will certainly be increased law enforcement or fire protection needs if and when a casino resort is ever developed there.

Barstow's crime rate out-paces national average; number of officers inadequate

According to, an independent monitoring agency, Barstow's crime rates have climbed, and far out-paced the national average, which has been declining since 2001. Further, Barstow's ratio of police officers per capita is far below (less than half) the national average.

Barstow likely to lose fifth city manager in four years; Mayor blamed

During Lawrence Dale's seven years as Mayor of the City of Barstow, the small Hi-Desert town has seen five City Managers come and go -- according to the Desert Dispatch there have been five City Managers in the last four years!

And now, Mayor Dale has appointed Ron Rector, the city's economic development director these past seven years, to the role of acting City Manager. Locals indicate that Rector is the Mayor's political flunky at City Hall. Rector may be the only senior manager to have served throughout Dale's seven years as Mayor.

Disappointingly, Rector has produced no significant signs of positive and sustanined economic growth in Barstow since he was hired back in 2001 (seven years ago), shortly after Dale became Mayor. Prior to landing the job at the City of Barstow, Rector had been executive director of a failed Hi-Desert economic development consortium that has since been disbanded.

During his 7-year tenure, Mayor Dale cut resources to the Barstow Police Department while crime rates continued to rise (Barstow crime rates are higher than the national averages) and re-directed funds to Rector's various failed economic development initiatives. Prior to Dale's tenure in office, it has been pointed out that local crime was on the decline.

Locals point out that while there have been numerous public relations campaigns during the Dale/Rector years; few have panned out and little true progress has been made in a City that has some of the worst economic circumstances in the state. During the Dale/Rector years, significant taxpayer funds have been directed to the Barstow Chamber of Commerce in exchange for the Chamber's support of the Mayor's failed initiatives.

Mayor Dale fought City Manager Hector Rodriguez earlier this year when Rodriguez recommended the hiring of Barstow Police Chief Diane Burns. By all accounts, Chief Burns is turning around a department that had been spiraling downward throughout Dale's tenure as Mayor.

Dale and Rector have received gifts of travel from Detroit-based casino syndicators Barwest, LLC and took all expense paid trips to Canada and China, all under the auspices of so-called economic development.

It's been six years since Port Huron's voters were asked to weigh in on a Bay Mills casino; perhaps a new vote is warranted

In 1993, voters in Port Huron failed to approve of casino syndicator Michael Malik's plan to to use the downtown Sears store for a Bay Mills/Harrah's casino. Then 7-8 years later, in 2001, in a non-binding advisory vote, the citizens of Port Huron voted in favor of the idea of putting a Bay Mills casino on the site of the existing Thomas Edison Inn.

Perhaps now, 6-7 years after the last public advisory vote, the citizens of Port Huron should be allowed once again to weigh in on the matter; to see if the people of Port Huron are still in favor of the stalled plan; or perhaps in favor of another plan. After all, there is nothing binding about the 2001 vote and there is no binding contract in place between the City of Port Huron and the Bay Mills Indian Community or its casino syndicator partner, Blue Water Resorts, LLC (formed by Malik in 2001).

After a month's delay, MotorCity Casino set to open hotel Nov. 28


MotorCity Casino Hotel to open Nov. 28
By Robert Ankeny

After nearly a month’s delay caused by late deliveries and the need for added training, MotorCity Casino Hotel is now scheduled to open Nov. 28.

The 17-story, 400-room hotel, southwest of the casino at Grand River Avenue and the Lodge Freeway, has 41 suites, a 24-hour laundry, a concierge and in-room dining service.

The hotel’s director of public relations and community affairs, Jacci Woods, said reservations for stays starting Nov. 28 are being taken at (866) 782-9622.

In addition, Greektown Casino plans to open its 2,991-space parking garage at St. Antoine and Monroe streets Nov. 15, with a skywalk attaching it to the casino, now under renovation. Access to the garage is at the Lafayette Avenue exit of I-375.

A 400-room Greektown hotel is being built atop the parking garage and is scheduled to open next fall, along with expanded gambling space, three restaurants, a buffet, a large showroom and other amenities, officials said.

MGM Grand Detroit Hotel and Casino opened its permanent complex at Third and Bagley streets Oct. 2.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Jeff Parker re-elected Bay Mills President; beats former President John Lufkins


Parker elected Bay Mills President
Carrick re-elected as V.P., Perron returns as secretary

BAY MILLS - Jeffrey D. Parker was successful in his re-election bid, defeating challenger L. John Lufkins, 308-231 for the top post in the Bay Mills Indian Community General Election on Wednesday. (Full Story)

Note: Parker is allied with casino syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr. Among other things, they have partnered in a government funded plastics venture. Malik previously had an affair with John Lufkins' daughter Heather. The woman later admitted she helped Malik shield assets in a bitter divorce settlement; later, as revealed in court documents, Malik failed to transfer property to Ms. Lufkins as she said he'd promised during this previous divorce proceedings.

Editor has plans to investigate Mike Malik and Ilitch

From "The Editor's Desk" a blog published by Scott Shackford, editor of Barstow's Desert Dispatch:
...We get calls every couple of months from anonymous folks who want us to “investigate” the Michigan bankrollers of the project, who have a less-than-gleaming reputation back home. I’m guessing for some, that we haven’t done so is a sign that we support them as the developer.

...If the compacts ever did finally get approved, we actually discussed plans to send a reporter all the way to Michigan to explore the relationship between the developers and their home community. But if the casinos never move beyond the legislative stage, we can’t exactly justify all that work and expense.

So that’s the explanation why we don’t have more about Michael Malich (sic: correction "Michael Malik") and the Ilitches. It’s not time to take a look at them until the casino moves forward...

Investigating the backers/developer (the real people behind a Barstow Casinos Resort) once local and state approvals have been secured seems a bit ass-backwards, don't you think? An investigation up front might help local and state officials -- and the general public -- determine whether or not they would support such a project.

Heck, for that matter, it's clear the Desert Dispatch hasn't invested much in investigating the tribes either.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sen. Stabenow's ally Patrick Kennedy announces support for Port Huron casino


Lawmaker throws support behind casino
Land-transfer bill had sat idle in Congress for six months

Times Herald

A bill that would pave the way for a casino in Port Huron picked up a third sponsor last week when a Rhode Island congressman endorsed it.

Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat, has signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 2176, which calls for federal approval of a 2002 land swap between the state of Michigan and the Bay Mills Indian Community of the Upper Peninsula.

The bill was introduced May 3 by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, and co-sponsored by Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township. It was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, where it has languished for six months.

"In approving this settlement, Congress can do right by the Bay Mills tribe and recognize what the people of Michigan already know: That the settlement is both fair and in the best interests of all parties involved," Kennedy said in a statement issued Friday.

Kennedy, 40, who is in his seventh term in Congress, is the youngest of Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy's three children.

Stupak's bill is the latest of several attempts to win congressional and presidential approval of the Aug. 23, 2002, land swap approved by then-Gov. John Engler and Bay Mills, a Chippewa band based at Brimley in the eastern Upper Peninsula.

The tribe gave up its long-standing claim to 110 acres of property at Charlotte Beach, a community on the St. Marys River, in exchange for a reservation on the 15-acre Thomas Edison Inn property in Port Huron.

The agreement has been bitterly opposed by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who contends it could take business from the three casinos in his city. It also is opposed by most of Michigan's other Indian tribes, particularly the Saginaw Chippewas.

The Saginaw Chippewas own the state's largest casino at Mount Pleasant and have historic ties to Port Huron. From 1807 to 1836, one the tribe's subdivisions, known as the "people of the Blackwater River," had a 1,287-acre reservation in what is now Port Huron.

Mike Malik, a Detroit developer, has been working with Bay Mills to replace the Edison Inn with a casino and resort hotel with at least 150 rooms and suites. The development also would include several restaurants, a nightclub, a comedy club and an enclosed mall with specialty shops.

Architectural drawings for the proposed casino-hotel show a sleek, ship-like building that towers above the neighboring Blue Water Bridge and follows the curve of the south span. A dominant feature is a glass-enclosed elevator shaft that would resemble the nearby Fort Gratiot Lighthouse.

Malik, a Clay Township native and former Algonac councilman, has been trying to develop a casino in Port Huron since 1993 when city voters narrowly rejected a proposal to use the downtown Sears store for a Bay Mills/Harrah's casino. The Sears store eventually was demolished to make room for St. Clair County's administrative offices.

In recent years, Malik has worked closely with Detroit billionaire Marian Ilitch on casino projects in several states. Ilitch, whose holdings include the MotorCity Casino in Detroit, has said she supports a Port Huron casino but is playing no role in developing it.

Engler, a staunch opponent of casino gambling, reversed his long-time stance when he approved the land swap.

At the time, Engler said he was swayed by then-Rep. David Bonior, D-Mount Clemens, and other supporters of the casino, who described it as a fair-trade issue. Bonior argued that Port Huron should be allowed to compete on an equal footing with two casinos on the Canadian side of the St. Clair River - the Point Edward Charity Casino and Hiawatha Slots in Sarnia.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Tribal conflicts surround Marian Ilitch, Mike Malik casino plans

Inter-tribal controversies surround casino syndicators Marian Ilitch and Michael J. Malik, Sr. on various fronts.

The pair has proposed partnering for the purposes of building casino resorts with four different Indian tribes in recent years: Big Lagoon Rancheria and Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians, in California; the Bay Mills Indian Community, in Michigan; and the Shinnecock Indian Nation, in New York.

Following the failure to advance plans for off-reservation casinos in California and Michigan, inter-tribal disputes have re-emerged among the leaders of both the Los Coyotes and Bay Mills tribes.

Letters between Malik and others involved with the Los Coyotes tribe have surfaced this Fall indicating a split that pits tribal elder Katherine Siva Saubel and her nephew on one side against younger tribal council members who've recently received payments from Malik and Ilitch for supporting their plan.

And a longstanding split in the Bay Mills Indian Community has been revived pitting sitting tribal leader Jeff Parker against former tribal leader John Lufkins. Malik reportedly had an affair with a younger woman who is Lufkins' daughter earlier in this decade resulting in a divorce. In addition to plans for a Bay Mills Casino in Port Huron, Malik is also reportedly behind a government funded plastics venture the tribe has entered into under Parker's leadership.

Marian Ilitch dumped by tribe after spending $19 million to advance Barstow casino

Marian Ilitch and an associate Michael Malik formed Detroit-based casino syndicator BarWest LLC in 2003. In a letter Malik sent last month to the Los Coyotes Band of Indians, he notes that their casino syndication has spent $19 million trying to advance several casino resort projects for Barstow, California, since 2001.

Now the Los Coyotes Band of Indians, a tribe Ilitch and Malik proposed as their original partner in Barstow, has dumped BarWest, LLC as its partner following BarWest's failure to advance approval of a Gaming Compact for the tribe through the California legislature for the second straight year in a row.

Mrs. Marian Ilitch is the wife of Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch. The Ilitches co-founded Little Caesars Pizza and the family also owns the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit's MotorCity Casino and Fox Theater, and a variety of other entertainment, restaurant and sports-related entities.

Marian Ilitch and Malik have backed a proposed off-reservation casino for the Bay Mills Indian Community in Port Huron, Michigan for more than 15 years; and the pair is behind plans by the Shinnecock Indian Nation to build a casino resort in The Hamptons on Long Island or at the Aquedcut Racetrack in Queens, NY.

Billionaire Ilitch gives away just $4.4 million per year


QUESTION: The Ilitches make a lot of money. What do they give to charity?

ANSWER: The total comes to more than $4.4 million a year in support of Michigan-based charities. This includes donated money, sponsorships and in-kind contributions, according to Ilitch Holdings Inc.

Companies owned by the Ilitch family have been giving back since shortly after Mike and Marian Ilitch founded Little Caesars with one pizza store in 1959. Back then, they sponsored a youth hockey team.

That effort grew to become the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League,* which has enabled tens of thousands of young people to play. In addition, players receive $20,000 in college scholarships a year.

Over the years, through nearly a million dollars in grants, Ilitch Charities for Children reports supporting health, education and recreation. One grant helped build an infant day care center at COTS, Detroit's largest homeless shelter. Other grants have provided wigs for sick children, a play area for kids in a hospital waiting room and the reinstatement of a Detroit baseball tournament.

Since 1985, the mobile Little Caesars Love Kitchen has fed nearly 2 million people around the country at shelters and disaster areas, said Karen Cullen, vice president of corporate communications for Ilitch Holdings. In a new program, Little Caesars provides U.S. military veterans with up to $68,000 each if they qualify as Little Caesars franchisees.

The Marian Ilitch-owned MotorCity Casino has sponsored a Habitat for Humanity home, backs neighborhood cleanups and has provided the top corporate fund-raising team for two straight years for Make-a-Wish's Walk for Wishes Detroit, Cullen said. It's one of the top five U.S. casinos in raising money for United Way Community Services.

*The primary benefciary of Ilitch chairitable funds

Note: on Ilitch Holdings, Inc. revenues of $1.6 billion per year, $4.4 million represents a mere 0.27% of revenues.

A 2004 article in Forbes notes both the mean and median giving among American billionaires is at least 4% with one giving away as much as 64% of his wealth. The average among the Forbes list of billionaires then was 14%.

Documents detailing BarWest/Los Coyotes split, related matters

Various articles the last week have indicated that the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians has parted ways with its casino developer Detroit-based BarWest, LLC (Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik) after the tribe's unratified Gaming Compact with the state expired.

The articles also indicated a rift among leaders of the Los Coyotes tribe; and involvement of a second partner Barronhaus LTD, and possibly Lee Iacocca or Las Vegas-based Full House Resorts.

The catalyst for these articles was a packet of documents sent to various reporters which memorialize the circumstances. They included:
  • Letter from Michael Malik (LCB BarWest, LLC) to tribal spokeswoman Katherine Siva Saubel expressing surprise and dismay at being abandoned by the Los Coyotes Band of Indians - October 11, 2007

  • Letter from Los Coyotes tribal spokeswoman Katherine Siva Saubel terminating the tribe's partnership with LCB BarWest, LLC - September 28, 2007

  • Letter from Lance Boldrey, Dykema law firm, to Full House Resorts (Lee Iacocca) memorializing telephone conversation and dispelling possible conflict of interest - April 12 2007

  • Emails between Boldrey and representatives for Lee Iacocca/Full House Resorts - April 12, 2007

  • Letter from Los Coyotes counsel to Barron Maisel and Gretchen Belli (Barronhaus LTD) terminating the tribe's partnership with the Palm Desert-based investor - October 17, 2007

  • Agreement establishing a partnership between Barronhaus LTD and the Los Coyotes Band of Indians - May 2003

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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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