Saturday, January 05, 2008

Interior Secretary Kempthorne denies casinos; proposed sites too far from reservations


Interior Secretary Rejects Catskill Casino Plans


The federal government rejected plans for two casinos in the Catskill Mountains on Friday, saying that the reservations of the two tribes that submitted the plans were too far from where the casinos would be built.

The decision was a major setback in the 30-year effort to bring gambling to Sullivan County, which proponents hoped would breathe new life into the area’s depressed economy.

One of the proposed casinos, at Monticello Raceway, received the support of Gov. Eliot Spitzer and was expected to attract six million visitors a year, generate 3,000 jobs and provide New York State with an estimated $100 million a year. But the plans faced intense opposition from the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups, and required the final approval of Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.

On Friday, Mr. Kempthorne sent a letter to the St. Regis Mohawk tribe saying that the proposed casino in Monticello was too far from its Akwesasne Reservation, which is about 300 miles away, near Massena, on the Canadian border. He also sent a nearly identical letter to the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe, which is based in Wisconsin and had planned to build a large casino in the town of Thompson, not far from Monticello.

Mr. Kempthorne, who has long opposed Indian casinos on nonreservation land, said in his letters that the casinos would be too far away to offer jobs to tribal residents and that forcing residents to relocate would hurt the reservations.

“The departure of a significant number of reservation residents and their families could have serious and far-reaching implications for the remaining tribal community and its continuity as a community,” he said in the letters.

In a statement released Friday night, the Natural Resources Defense Council called the decision a major victory and said the casinos would have burdened the Catskills with pollution, traffic congestion and sprawl.

Representative Maurice Hinchey, a Democrat from New York who has strongly supported the proposed casinos, said proponents of the plans would not give up. “It is clear that the next opportunity for these proposed casinos to move forward and be objectively evaluated will be under a new administration by a different secretary of the interior, who under current law has the final determination in this matter at this time,” he said in a statement.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Who's Marian Ilitch trying to fool?

Consider this ... Marian Ilitch has a PR machine that brags that her MotorCity Casino is the largest soley-owned casino in the U.S.; MotorCity Casino is one of only three commercial gambling halls in Michigan and it's located in Detroit, the sixth largest gambling mecca in the U.S.; in 2006, Standard & Poor's included it among the top 35 casino enterprises in the U.S.

Marian Ilitch is Vice Chairwoman of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. the parent company of Little Caesars Pizza, Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings and several other sports, entertainment, real estate and restaurant enterprises.

So ... why is it that disclosure documents indicate when Marian Ilitch contributes to certain federal campaign committees she lists herself as "Homemaker?"

Yes, her contributions to the committees of Sen. Carl Levin, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Sen. Harry Reid, Rep. Candice Miller, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rep. Don Young, National Leadership PAC, former Rep. Richard Pombo's RICH PAC, and others list Mrs. Ilitch as a "Homemaker" with no affiliations to Ilitch Holdings or MotorCity Casino.

By reporting herself as a "Homemaker" the campaign committees don't have to categorize her contributions among those received from the gambling industry. Further, by failing to report her affiliation with Ilitch Holdings, Inc., the family's holding company is often able to stay under the radar as a major contributor when campaign contributions are analyzed and reported.

BarWest drops California Lobbyist Keith Olberg

The partnership lead by Detroit casino syndicators BarWest LLC has terminated its lobbying agreements with former California GOP Assemblyman (1994-2000) Keith Olberg (Capitol Ventures, Roseville). Records filed with the California Secretary of State indicate the Big Lagoon Rancheria and Los Coyotes Band of Indians terminated their arrangement with Olberg on 10.29.07. Disclosures filed by Olberg indicate the parties had paid Olberg $168,964 during 2007. The actual total of payments to Olberg made by the partnership in 2006 are in question and are reportedly under investigation by state officials; but Olberg has reported receiving $187,036 in 2006.

Olberg had never registered as a Sacramento lobbyist until he was retained by BarWest and partners in 2006. According to official disclosure documents, BarWest's partners were Olberg's only clients. Olberg had represented himself as leading the BarWest lobbying team in Sacramento. The team also includes Governmental Advocates, Inc. and C.W. 'Nick' Medeiros, Inc.

In October 2007, Olberg filed amended lobbying disclosure documents for the period from April-June 2006. Presumably that was as a result of the state's investigation into reporting irregularities during 2006. A drawing conducted by California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) on 2.27.07 selected Olberg's lobbying "firm," Capitol Ventures, Roseville among those lobbying firms subject to random audit for the 2005-2006 legislative cycle.

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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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