Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ilitch Consigliere fined and under investigation by California's FPPC; investigations warranted elsewhere

Late last year (10.24.06), California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) fined BarWest L.L.C. (a casino syndicate controlled by Michael J. Malik and Mrs. Marian Ilitch) on two counts of failing to comply with California's political reform laws. Malik had failed to report that his Detroit-based BarWest L.L.C. made a contribution of $26,600 in October 2004 to the San Joaquin County GOP Committee. As it was, then-GOP Congressman Richard Pombo, who also happened to be chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee that oversees Indian gaming matters, was from San Joaquin County.

Malik paid a fine of $6,500.

As that 2004-2006 investigation was coming to a conclusion, Michael Malik was again making other contributions to the campaign committees of individual members of the California legislature (primarily between July 1, 2006 and December 31, 2006) and failing to report those contributions as required under California's political reform laws.

In fact, it appears Malik may have contribute $25,000 or more to 15 or more political committees during that time and failed to report those contributions as a major donor under California law.

TVT understands the FPPC has been conducting an investigation for the better part of 2007 into Malik's failure to report these contributions and other matters involving payments by BarWest LLC, Michael Malik and lobbyists Malik employed in California.

One must consider that if Mr. Malik blatantly violated political campaign laws in California, it's possible he has also been violating political reform laws and lobbying disclosures in Michigan, New York, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere.

Certainly if California's FPPC finds Malik and his associates violated laws once again in California, it would be responsible for authorities in other states and Washington, D.C. where Malik is involved with political contributions and lobbying payments to investigate his giving practices.

Malik has partnered with Marian Ilitch and the Ilitch family on various casino syndications and development projects over the last 15 years. However, Malik failed to win approval for a gaming license in Michigan in 1999 and was forced to transfer his shares in Detroit's MotorCity Casino to Marian Ilitch. Since then, throughout their various partnerships, Malik appears to have played the role of political "bag-man" or "bad cop" to Marian Ilitch's "good cop."

Some suggest Malik plays the role of Marian Ilitch's "Consigliere." It has been reported that there is a doorway that connects Malik's office to Marian Ilitch's office providing him with direct access into her private domain.

A business venture that involves Michael Malik and the Bay Mills Indian Community, a federally funded enterprise involved in the research and manufacturing of plastic parts and devices, is rumored to be under investigation by the FBI.

It would seem appropriate for the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to revisit Mr. Malik's close association and affiliation with Marian Ilitch and the Ilitch Family.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Barstow's Mayor allegedly attempted to interfere with RFP process for $15 million contract

An 11.30.07 story in Barstow's Desert Dispatch suggests that Mayor Lawrence Dale was attempting to manipulate the process in order to guarantee that Micromedia Filtration, Inc. would be awarded a $15 million contract to modify the City's waste water treatment facility despite the City Council's direction to release an RFP and conduct a search for all qualified contractors.

A memo dated Oct. 30, written by Rodriguez and addressed to the council, accuses Mayor Lawrence Dale of interfering with the process, wanting to directly award the $15 million contract to Micromedia Filtration, Inc., instead of reviewing bids from other firms. Rodriguez wrote that he’d been given direction to award the contract to Micromedia in a meeting held on Oct. 18 with Dale and council member Steve Curran. Dale and Curran disputed Rodriguez’ allegations.

“The Mayor told me that the Council’s direction to me in this matter had been to write a (Request for Proposals) that would result in a contract award to Micromedia by effectively eliminating other potential bidders,” Rodriguez wrote in the memo.

Certainly if these allegations are true, this isn't the first time in the Mayor's seven year tenure in office that he has attempted to manipulate outcomes in order that his friends might receieve favorable treatment and even millions in financial gain. Clearly he's perfected that behavior in his quest to win a casino for his Detroit friends behind BarWest LLC.

One must wonder what he gets in return for such rewards to his friends because he doesn't report any campaign contributions or gifts from such individuals as required by California's political reform laws. Is his Railroad Foundation or other "charitable" affiliate benefiting?

Mayor Lawrence Dale has a history of closed doors and backroom secret deals. He's calendared an unprecdented number of closed sessions and previously unscheduled meetings.

When a previous independent Council majority voted against him on various matters, Mayor Dale was relentless behind the scenes trying to undue nearly every one of their decisions.

Mayor Dale often attempts to squash public debate and reigns over Barstow with an iron fist. Anyone who crosses the Mayor will eventually be a victim of his covert attacks and relentless need for revenge. Hector Rodriguez is the latest example.

Previously Congressman Buck McKeon had carried a an ear-mark to secure half a million dollars in new money for this project that would ulltimately be awarded to Micromedia Filtration, Inc.

You may want to review these related posts:

Will Ilitch build hockey arena on site of Berry Gordy's failed Motown entertainment complex


Motown entertainment complex plans fall through
Berry Gordy's group couldn't raise money to build $28M facility north of the Fox Theatre.

Robert Snell / The Detroit News

...Hockey arena a possibility?

The three Woodward properties faced foreclosure April 1, 2008, because Motown Center owed about $14,000 in unpaid property taxes dating to 2005, according to the Wayne County Treasurer's office.

The back taxes were paid Nov. 29, days after The Detroit News first called Heidelberg-Yopp, asking about the delinquency.

The Woodward land could be combined with the other parcels owned by the Economic Development Corp. and the city, and sold to a developer, Papapanos said.

The city and the Detroit Economic Development Corp. own about half of the land within the first four blocks north of I-75, between Woodward and Park.

But the cost of acquiring other parcels and offering the space for one development has been too expensive, said Brian Holdwick, the growth corporation's vice president of business and financial services.

The city has marketed some of its land to prospective developers, perhaps for a mixed-use development, Holdwick said. The nearly four-block area has been called an ideal spot for a new Detroit Red Wings hockey arena according to one development expert. But Ilitch Holdings spokeswoman Karen Cullen declined to discuss specific locations for a new arena.

One development official suspects the land would give Mike and Marian Ilitch, owners of the Red Wings, an option other than building behind the Fox Theatre, where the family empire has acquired a wide swath of land.

"Ilitch always has two or three areas (in mind) to stay ahead of the speculators," said Patrick Dorn, executive director of the Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corp. "You can't get a better, sweeter spot for an arena," than the Motown Center land and surrounding properties.

Cullen acknowledges the company is considering more than one location. She was unaware of the Motown Center property, but wouldn't rule it out.

"In the broadest sense, I don't want to get into various sites," she said. "We haven't made a decision on the arena and are still considering all of our options, both whether to renovate (Joe Louis Arena) or build new."

James Canning, spokesman for Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, has not heard of any city effort to offer the land to Ilitch for a new hockey arena.

"It's a great parcel of land and our development guys will go out and market it," Canning said.

Though the Motown project won't be built, Canning said: "We have an awesome Motown museum (on West Grand Boulevard). The community needs to continue to embrace that location."

You can reach Robert Snell at (313) 222-2028 or

Monday, December 03, 2007

Tigers running lottery at Comerica Park


Tigers lottery? MLB eases up, a bit, on gambling

By Bill Shea
Crain's Detroit

Feeling like a little game of chance at Comerica Park?

Two kiosks at the stadium this past season sold $5 scratch-off Michigan Lottery tickets emblazoned with the Detroit Tigers logo. Prizes varied up to $100,000, and included team merchandise and even season tickets.

Legalized gambling, once unthinkable in relation to Major League Baseball, has gradually gained limited acceptance in the game as a source of revenue. The same Major League Baseball that once banned Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle for being associated with casinos has cautiously embraced advertising and sponsorships from various legalized gambling outlets — provided the casinos or lotteries don't permit betting on games.

Betting at games and betting on games is the crucial difference.

But those who keep tabs on the business side of the game agree that baseball is more tolerant of some forms of legalized gambling, especially when there is money to be made for teams and American culture has come to increasingly accept casinos and lotteries.

"Baseball will continue to change the configuration of its rules as their business practices shift and change. Their views on things that may have been taboo in the past change," said Maury Brown, president of Portland, Ore.-based Business of Sports Network, which includes a Web site devoted to the business side of baseball. "There's definitely a softening of (prohibitions against legalized gambling) in baseball."

New York-based lottery ticket maker Scientific Games Inc. spent more than six years trying to persuade baseball to sign a deal to allow team logos on state lottery scratch-offs, said Steve Saferin, vice president and president of properties. The company has licensing deals with Ford Motor Co., Chrysler L.L.C. and a variety of popular culture icons such as the TV show "American Idol."

"Lotteries now are in all but seven states and are viewed by a lot of people as a legitimate way to raise money for good causes," he said.

Finally, in 2006 the team owners unanimously approved a five-year deal.

The commissioner's office and the team owners' primary concern was the question of permitting any form of gambling in connection with the game, Saferin said. The memory of Pete Rose's lifetime banishment in 1989 for betting on games while managing the Cincinnati Reds is still very much alive.

"A scratch-off lottery ticket is about as far from betting on teams as you could get," Saferin said, noting that the National Basketball Association and National Hockey Association already had deals with Scientific Games.

"The league decided this is a legitimate way for teams to generate incremental revenue. It got easier the past three years because a lot of other people had embraced the lottery category, including sports. It was difficult. They've come to the realization that their position needs to be more finely tuned. The real problem is sports betting. This is not sports betting."

Commissioner Bud Selig wanted a unanimous vote from the owners to OK the lottery tickets deal, Saferin said. The approval from owners was also to change MLB's bylaws that forbid team logos on lottery tickets.

Scientific Games rolled out the MLB tickets last year with a Boston Red Sox instant game. This year, 22 teams participated and Scientific Games printed about 175 million tickets since games began.

The Tigers-themed scratch-off tickets were a success this year, lottery officials said.

Since going on sale April 2, about $10 million worth of the scratch-off Tigers lottery tickets have been sold, the state said, which is about 10 percent higher than average $5 tickets sales. Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons scratch-offs have also been sold in the past.

The lottery reported fiscal year 2007 annual sales of $2.3 billion.

Each team receives a cut of the money that Scientific Games paid MLB for the rights to the team logos. Neither MLB nor Scientific Games would say how much the deal is worth, but it's believed to be in the millions of dollars. Teams also got money from local marketing Scientific Games did in each market, Saferin said.

Susan Goodenow, Major League Baseball's vice president of business public relations, declined to comment on the lottery tickets.

Rob Matwick, Tigers vice president of communications, said the team has had an advertising relationship with the lottery for several years, but the scratch-off promotion was through Major League Baseball.

A veteran of more than 20 years in baseball, Matwick said he's seen a shift in attitude about some forms of gambling.

"From an advertising and sponsorship standpoint, it's less restrictive than it used to be," he said. MotorCity Casino and MGM Grand Casino each advertise at Comerica Park. That's allowed because neither offers sports wagering.

"There are still prohibitions that are still in place that have to do with casinos," Matwick said, noting casinos are not permitted to show such things as playing cards or slot machines in stadium advertising.

MotorCity Casino is owned by Marian Ilitch, wife of Tigers owner Mike Ilitch. Baseball forbids its team owners from having a stake in casinos, but the Ilitches say she was never an owner, and baseball agrees — a position with its share of critics, including ex-Commissioner Fay Vincent.

Mike Dietz, president and director of Dietz Trott Sports & Entertainment in Bingham Farms, spent 17 years with Ilitch Holdings Inc., which includes the Tigers and Red Wings. He believes money from legal gambling is a natural source of revenue for sports leagues. Baseball reached a record $6 billion in revenue last year, thanks in part to gambling-related advertising and sponsorships.

"Everything costs more — to field a team, to give fans what they want. There are a lot of bills to pay and a lot of reasons to be open-minded about new sources of revenue," he said. There's only so many (sponsors) and so many are cutting back."

So what does the future hold for baseball and legalized gambling?

Business of Sports Network's Brown thinks it will be driven by profits.

"Are we going to see video poker at the ball park? I don't know. In 20 years, it wouldn't surprise me," he said. "Baseball has gotten wise and smart about how to extract revenue out of things other than baseball. It's a much more sophisticated league."

And perhaps another sign of shifting attitudes: Baseball's 2008 winter meeting will be held in Las Vegas.

Bill Shea: (313) 446-1626,

Tiger lottery facts:

  • New York-based Scientific Games Inc. spent more than six years persuading Major League Baseball to allow team logos on state lottery scratch-off tickets. Other lottery games from Scientific include scratch-offs featuring Chevy, Dodge, Jeep, Lincoln, NASCAR, NBA, NHL, "American Idol," Hershey's and TV Guide.

  • Point-of-sale and broadcast advertising for the Detroit Tigers instant game was done by Troy-based ad agency Simons Michelson Zieve Inc., which has done lottery work since 2005.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Los Coyotes tribal leader calls Barwest's Mike Malik "devil;" says he has "seduced" younger tribal leaders

Los Coyotes tribal spokeswoman and tribal elder Katherine Siva Saubel recently called Michael J. Malik, Sr. the "devil" and said he has "seduced" younger members of the tribe to jump aboard Malik's band-wagon. Among other things, Malik's group paid younger members of the tribe to appear in Barstow as "grassroots" volunteers during the 2006 election primary:

"Saubel said there is a council-only meeting today to discuss the casino efforts--a meeting she was not invited to be but plans to attend anyway. A full tribal council meeting is set for mid-November. Saubel claimed the Malik has 'seduced' the younger member of the tribe and called him 'the devil himself.'
" 'I was 83 when we started this. I'm 87 now,' Saubel said. 'I think he's just waiting for me to keel over.' "
Mike Malik and Mrs. Marian Ilitch are the principals behind the Detroit-based casino syndication BarWest LLC. Malik and Ilitch have proposed building several off-reservation casinos for tribes from opposite ends of California on a site that Barwest owns in Barstow, California.

Ilitch and her husband Mike Ilitch are the co-founders of the Little Caesars Pizza franchise. The family also owns the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, MotorCity Casino, Detroit's Fox Theater and other sports, entertainment and restaurant operations.

Malik and the Ilitches are behind stalled proposals to build unorthodox off-reservation casinos in Port Huron, Michigan; Barstow, Califorina; and in The Hamptons on New York's Long Island. (see also: Detroit Free Press exposes Malik/Ilitch casino enterprises)

Members of the Bay Mills Indian Community have expressed concerns about Malik's involvement in their casino ventures as well as a business venture involving the research and manufacturing of various plastics products. Rumors have circulated among Bay Mills members to suggest the FBI is investigating the plastics venture.

In 1999 the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) failed to grant Michael Malik a gaming license and he was forced to transfer his interests in Detroit's MotorCity Casino to Marian Ilitch before the casino could open its doors to the public.

Last year, following a two-year investigation, California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) fined Malik's Barwest LLC on two counts for failing to report a $26,600 contribution Malik made to the San Joaquin County GOP Committee in 2004 -- Malik paid a $6,500 fine; and TVT has learned the FPPC is investigating numerous unreported political contributions and questionable lobbying payments Barwest's Malik made in 2006.

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certainly must reads!

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

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