Malik's plans for a Bay Mills Indian tribe off-reservation casino in Port Huron, Michigan have once again been derailed. The Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee failed to consider the proposal as was originally planned at a hearing held yesterday (11.15.07) in Washington, D.C. Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) said that any possible consideration of the scheme promoted by Malik's Blue Water Resorts wouldn't be heard until next year at the earliest. Malik and the Ilitch Family have been behind the Port Huron scheme for more than 15 years. A Malik associate has made claims that the casino syndicator has spent $10 million pushing his plan. Rumors are swirling that those involved with a federally subsidized plastics venture the tribe has fronted (including tribal President Jeff Parker and Malik) may be the target of an FBI investigation.
In September, the spokeswoman of the Los Coyotes Band of Indians informed BarWest LLC that it was terminating their partnership agreement. BarWest is a Malik/Ilitch casino syndicate formed in 2003 that has been pushing a scheme for two Indian casinos in Barstow, California. Similar to the scheme for Port Huron, the California legislature has refused to consider the unorthodox proposal the last two years and a gaming Compact that BarWest had negotiated for the tribe in 2005 expired this past September. Malik and the Ilitch Family have been pushing their Barstow casino scheme since 2001. Malik claims he's spent $19 million pushing their Barstow schemes. A squabble among the leadership of the Los Coyotes tribe has left people questioning who really makes decisions and speaks for the tribe today.
A judge last month ruled that the Shinnecock Indian Nation can not build a casino on property it has obtained in Hampton Bays on Long Island. Gateway Casino Resorts, a Malik/Ilitch casino syndication, has been bankrolling the tribe's plans. In a 129-page ruling, Judge Joseph F. Bianco said a disputed parcel outside the reservation is not sovereign territory. Though the tribe owns the “Westwoods” land in fee, it lost aboriginal title hundreds of years ago. Bianco asserted that even if aboriginal title still existed, the tribe can’t use the site for gaming due to the “highly disruptive consequences” of the proposed 61,000-square-foot casino. Nearly 20 pages of the opinion were dedicated to the impacts of gaming on the environment, traffic, health and safety. The tribe has yet to receive federal recognition needed to develop any casino. A pre-dawn raid was conducted on the reservation and in the surrounding community this past year to round up members of a suspected drug ring.
In 2005, Marian Ilitch purchased all outstanding shares of Detroit Entertainment LLC and took 100% control of Detroit's MotorCity Casino. Since then she has undertaken what is now reported as a $300 million expansion of the gambling hall including a 25% increase in gaming space and the addition of a 400 room hotel. The expanded gaming floor opened in June and after a two month bump in revenue, the casino's revenues have now fallen for three consecutive months. And, the opening of the hotel property has been delayed by a month. While the staff blamed the delayed opening on late delivery of furniture; the truth is, the hotel property has lost some key personnel in recent months, construction isn't complete, and Ilitch faced the threat of a strike in October. This past year, Standard & Poors and Moodys downgraded the credit ratings of MotorCity Casino parent company CCM Merger, Inc. Malik was forced to share his original shares in MotorCity Casino back in 1999 when the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) refused to grant him a casino license.
Malik and Ilitch have seen little progress with new gambling ventures since they parted company with former partner Tom Celani several years ago. Celani, on the other hand, has gone on to further establish himself as a serious player in the gambling industry across the U.S.; and, this past year among other things Celani won the management contract for the Cal-Neva Resort in Lake Tahoe once owned by Frank Sinatra.