Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Could Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) offer land for Shinnecock Casino?

12.31.08


Thoughts to take with you into 2009


For this, our last weekly staff column, we tried to come up with ways to leave each of our readers surrounded by love, flush with cash, working for a boss who isn't a jerk and 10 pounds lighter. We got nowhere.But we can try to leave you happy, or at least smiling, with a few thoughts about the year ahead.

Here goes...

Shoreham Nation

The Shinnecock Indian Nation is expecting federal recognition, and when they get it - Ka-ching! - they will seek land not too far from their Hampton Bays reservation for a casino.

And LIPA has a glowing deal for them - a nice piece of property on Suffok's north shore, with water views from a very large and sturdy tower that's been used so little it's almost as good as new. Just a trickle in rent from all those slots could get the utility out of the hock it's in due to Shoreham.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

For two years, Michael Malik failed to report $26,500 he gave to California Legislators

Two years after the fact, Detroit casino syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr., has finally disclosed he contributed $26,500 to various California political campaign committees during the Fall '06 Elections.

When Malik filed his original campaign disclosures for the period covering 7.01.06 through 12.31.06, he reported making $0.00 contributions to California legislators and political committees during the second half of 2006. However, Malik's representations were blatantly false at the time.

TVT has previously reported that California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has been conducting an ongoing investigation in Malik's failure to comply with California's political reform laws in disclosing political contributions and lobbying payments. And now it seems things are perhaps coming to a crescendo.

Because now, almost two years later, we see that on 12.23.08 Malik filed an amended disclosure report for the period 7.01.06 through 12.31.06 in which he finally lists contributions to 17 political committees in California totaling $26,500.

Among those Malik gave money to during the Fall '06 Election were a handful of supporters who were trying to help him advance a bill through the California Legislature that would have paved the way for Malik to develop and manage two Indian casinos in Barstow: State Senators Roy Ashburn, Wes Chesbro and Patricia Wiggins; and Assembly Members Patty Berg and Bill Maze.

This isn't the first time that Malik's conducted himself in such a cavalier manner. In October 2004, Malik's affiliate BarWest LLC sent $26,600 to the San Joaquin County GOP Victory Committee and failed to report that contribution in a timely manner as required under California law. Rather, BarWest LLC filed a disclosure for the period ended 12.31.04 more than 20 months later on 9.05.06. Shortly after that the FPPC disclosed it had been conducting an investigation into Malik's failure to report the 2004 contribution and found BarWest (Malik) guilty on two counts of violating California election laws; and Malik paid a fine of $6,500.

That action by the FPPC in the Fall of 2006 seemed to have little impact on Malik, because at the very same time he was being reprimanded by the FPPC, we now have proof he was again ignoring disclosure requirements. And then in January 2007 he had the audacity to submit a report indicating he had not made any political contributions in California during the second half of 2006 although we now learn he contributed $26,500.

Given that Malik's finally disclosed the truth about his 2006 political contributions, it's likely that the FPPC will be concluding its investigation into Malik's campaign finance and lobbying practices soon.

Editorial: give taxpayers a dispassionate report on Casino's pros and cons

12.28.08


Newsday Editorial: A Shinnecock casino? All bets are on

What's the story behind Suffolk County's sudden willingness to take a serious look at the idea of a Shinnecock casino on Long Island?

Let's be honest: The driving force is not contrition over the way Albany has treated the Shinnecock Indian Nation. The State Legislature took most of the tribe's land away in 1859 to make way for the Long Island Rail Road. Though key county legislators are well aware of that sad history, the real bottom line is Suffolk's hunger for increased revenue.

The Shinnecocks are OK with that cold calculus, and so are we. This page has always been hesitant about casino gambling, because it too often sucks money out of the pockets of the poor. And when the Shinnecocks proposed to build a casino in Hampton Bays, at the bottleneck of all traffic bottlenecks, it seemed like a horrendous idea.

So we opposed it, but always with a twinge of sadness, because we saw that the Shinnecocks viewed a casino as the best bet to provide decent jobs for a tribe suffering from far too much unemployment. And we tempered our criticism of the Hampton Bays site with a call for the notoriously slow Bureau of Indian Affairs to act on the tribe's petition for federal recognition.

Actually, the Shinnecocks were on a federal list of recognized tribes for decades, until the middle of the last century. Then some bureaucrat took the tribe off, without an act of Congress or anything resembling due process. That alone entitles them to be on a fast track. But even a 2005 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Platt, saying that the Shinnecocks are a bonafide tribe, has not definitively resolved the issue. Still, there's a growing sense that full federal recognition isn't far off.

That's the background to a conversation between two Suffolk County legislators, Presiding Officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook) and Legis. Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon), chairman of the committee overseeing economic development for the county.

The prospect of a casino bringing in thousands of jobs and millions in revenue appealed to them. They also had a visit from the tribe's lawyer, George Stankevich, and they visited the reservation. In May, Horsley's committee heard from tribal leaders and experts on the positive impact of Indian gaming in Connecticut. The tribe has had a contentious relationship with the Town of Southampton, so its leaders were pleased to have county legislators listening respectfully.

This month, the legislature voted to create a task force to study the feasibility of a casino in Suffolk. The Hampton Bays site is still a bad idea, but if the tribe can either buy or accept a donation of land somewhere else, it can become, in effect, a part of the reservation.

The Shinnecocks want the site to be as close as possible to their home in Southampton, so that members of the tribe can commute easily to jobs at the casino. And the Suffolk legislators obviously want it in Suffolk. But there's also a chance that the best site might turn out to be at Belmont Park racetrack in Elmont.

In any case, the task force should give the Shinnecocks a careful, respectful hearing of their casino plan - and give taxpayers a dispassionate report on its pros and cons. On this issue, it's time for cool analysis to replace heated contention.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Entity bankrolling Long Island casino plan goes by several different names

William D. Serwer, a partner with law firm of Ehrlich, Foley & Serwer, has formed and represents various casino funding and development affiliates of Marian Ilitch and her partner Michael J. Malik, Sr.

Serwer filed Articles of Organization for Empire Ventures, LLC on 9.11.03. An amendment was filed on 10.16.03 to reflect changing the name to Empire Associates, LLC. Yet another amendment was filed on 2.04.04 to reflect the name had been changed once again to Gateway Casino Resorts, LLC.

Michigan-based Gateway Casino Resorts, LLC is reportedly bankrolling and spearheading efforts to get federal recognition for the Shinnecock Indian Nation of New York and plans to develop and manage a casino project for the Shinnecock tribe in The Hamptons resort area on Long Island.

Serwer filed Articles of Incorporation for Empire Manager, Inc. on 10.18.03. Then an amendment to the Articles of Incorporation was filed 2.04.04 to reflect that entity’s name had been changed to Gateway Manager, Inc.

Gateway Manager Inc.'s annual corporate statement filed 4.01.04 reveals that entity “acts as Manager of Gateway Casino Resorts, L.L.C.” That filing discloses that Michael J. Malik, Sr. and Marian Ilitch are co-Presidents of Gateway Manager, Inc. In addition, Malik serves as the corporation’s Secretary and Ilitch serves as its Treasurer.

Articles of Organization were also filed by Serwer on 3.04.04 for Gateway Funding Associates LLC, which is assumed to be affiliated with Gateway Casino Resorts; likely an entity syndicating financial shares in Gateway Casino Resorts.

Serwer filed Articles of Organization for another possible affiliated entity, Gateway Holdings, LLC, on 6.15.04.

These are just several of the scores of affiliates organized and controlled by Marian Ilitch, the Ilitch family and Michael J. Malik, Sr. (See more comprehensive list)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ilitch Holdings, Inc.: the truth about its genesis


Contrary to corporate spin, it appears Ilitch Holdings, Inc. was formed in 1997 not 1999.

According to official records filed with the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth:

Ilitch Holdings, Inc. was formed in 1997 as M & M Ilitch Holdings, Inc. The name was shortened to Ilitch Holdings, Inc. in 2001.
So it’s unclear why the entity’s Corporate Web site and other materials read, “Ilitch Holdings was established in 1999.”

M & M Ilitch Holdings, Inc. filed Articles of Incorporation on 6.12.97. Marian Bayoff Ilitch was reported as the entity’s Resident Agent.

M & M Ilitch Holdings, Inc. reported Michael Ilitch as President and Marian Ilitch as Secretary/Treasurer in its Annual Report filed 5.15.98. It reported through a Certificate of Change filed 3.30.00 that John M. Kotlar had become Resident Agent.

The name of the entity was changed to Ilitch Holdings, Inc. via an Amendment to the Articles of Incorporation filed 9.18.01.



On 12.13.99, Jennifer A. Bielfield, an attorney with the Miller Canfield law firm filed Articles of Organization for Ilitch Holdings, LLC. Former Ilitch corporate counsel Jay Bielfield was reported as Resident Agent. But less than three months later, on 3.10.00, a Certificate of Dissolution was filed by John M. Kotlar.

Ilitch Holdings, Inc. does not appear to have had any direct affiliation with the short-lived Ilitch Holdings, LLC.


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Under Ilitch ownership, MotorCity Casino's credit ratings continue to drop


Standard & Poor’s corporate credit ratings for MotorCity Casino (CCM Merger, Inc.) have continued a negative slide since Marian Ilitch took control of the Detroit gambling hall from Mandalay Resort Group/MGM Mirage in April 2005. This despite Ilitch’s $300 million remodel and expansion of the property which added square feet to the gaming floor and a 400-room, 17-story hotel with amenities; and the relative success of the MGM Grand Detroit Casino.

While MotorCity Casino was controlled and managed by Mandalay Resort Group its corporate credit rating was “B+.” A year after Marian Ilitch (CCM Merger, Inc.) took over complete ownership and management of MotorCity Casino, analysts at Standard & Poor’s dropped the credit rating to “B” and at times assigned a negative outlook.

Analysts had originally been told to anticipate some consistent upswing in revenues and a corresponding decrease in debt ratios with the larger gaming floor and the hotel addition; but instead, MotorCity Casino has failed to produce a greater revenue stream and its debt ratios are questionable.

In September, Standard & Poor’s assigned a negative outlook to MotorCity Casino (CCM Merger, Inc.). And then earlier this month, Standard & Poor’s again dropped MotorCity Casino’s credit rating to a "B-" and assigned a negative ratings outlook. Among other concerns, Standard & Poor’s has discovered declining cash flow at MotorCity Casino.

Standard & Poor’s defines these ratings as having significant speculative risk but suggests an entity with a “B” rating generally has the capacity to meet its financial commitments. But with a "B-" rating and a negative outlook assigned, Standard & Poor’s suggests any further adverse business, financial or economic conditions will likely impair MotorCity Casino’s capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitment.

According to the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), of those entities Standard & Poor’s assigns a “B” rating, 35.76% experience default; and of those with a rating of “CCC,” the next ratings step down from “B” ratings, 54.38% experience default.

In acquiring MotorCity Casino and completing its expansion and remodel, Marian Ilitch (CCM Merger, Inc.) has reportedly amassed approximately $1 billion of debt.



Wednesday, December 24, 2008

PKC, L.L.C. is yet another of the many affiliates of Mike and Marian Ilitch.

Like TVT’s recent revelation recognizing Seven I’s Inc., TVT has realized that Mike Ilitch and Marian Bayoff Ilitch formed PKC, L.L.C. and filed Articles of Organization in 1998, originally establishing the entity for a duration of 30 years. According to Experian and other tracking entities, PKC, L.L.C. has affiliations with Little Caesars Enterprises (Little Caesars Pizza Kit fund-raising programs) and Blue Line Foodservice.

Originally, PKC, L.L.C. (aka PKC, L.L.C of Michigan) was registered as a foreign entity that anticpated doing buisness in more than three dozen states, but those registrations were shortly recalled or reconstructed. PKC, L.L.C. is currently "active" according to the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth (DL&EG).

In March 2000, the Ilitches established John M. Kotlar as Resident Agent of record for PKC, L.L.C. Kotlar is Vice President Tax Affairs at Ilitch Holdings, Inc. and serves as Resident Agent for various Ilitch-affiliated entities.

In 2006, Dykema Gossett PLLC filed amendments to PKC, L.L.C.’s Articles of Organization changing the duration of the life of the limited liability company from 30 years to “perpetual.” Dykema attorney Steven E. Grob, who specializes in tax and estate matters, also recorded that the entity would be “manager-managed.” Michael Ilitch signed the certificate amending the Articles of Organization as “Manager/Chairperson” of KPC, L.L.C.

See Updated List of Ilitch/Malik Affiliates.

UPDATED: The web of companies behind Ilitch & Malik casino syndication partners

In addition to the Ilitch Family's established brands (entities that fall under the umbrella of Ilitch Holdings, Inc.), the majority of entities listed below are controlled by or have/had an affiliation with Marian Ilitch, Mike Ilitch, Michael J. Malik or their various partners in casino syndication opportunities.

Records on file with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Development indicate most of these listed entities are registered at one of two locations:
  • 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201 (The Fox Office Centre headquarters of Ilitch Holdings, Inc.); or
  • 280 W Maple, Birmingham, MI 48009 (the law offices of Ehrlich, Foley & Serwer).
In most cases, the entities listed here have identified one of the following individuals as its “registered agent” on file with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Development:
  • Cheryl Scott-Dube,
  • John M. Kotlar,
  • Michael J. Malik, Sr.,
  • William D. Serwer
  • Joseph H. Ehrlich
The following are the many restaurant, entertainment, tourism, gaming and development entities believed to be (or have been) controlled by or affiliated with Marian Ilitch, Mike Ilitch or Michael J. Malik, Sr. The majority of these entities are related to various casino/development projects:
Atwater Casino Group
Atwater Companies, LLC
Atwater Detroit Corp
Atwater Development Company
Atwater Entertainment Associates LLC
Atwater Entertainment Productions, LLC
The Atwater Fund, LLC

Atwater Limousine Service
Atwater Management Corp. (DELLC)

Ballpark Operations Management, Inc.

Barstow Citizens for Real Economic Development
Barwest Gaming
Barwest Holdings, LLC
BarWest LLC
Barwest Manager, Inc.
Barwest, Inc.
Blue Line Distributing, Inc.
Blue Line Foods, Inc.
Blue Line Foodservice Distribution

Blue Water Equities, L.L.C.
Blue Water Holdings I, LLC
Blue Water Resorts Manager, Inc.
Blue Water Resorts, LLC
Border Crossing South, LLC
Caesar Fund Inc.

Cass Avenue LLC
Casino Funding Enterprises LLC
CB Property Holdings, Inc.
CB Property Investments LLC (Charlotte Beach)
CCM Merger, Inc (merged with Circus Circus Michigan)
CCM Merger Sub, Inc.
Champion Foods
Christopher P. Ilitch Revocable Trust

Chromatics (a DELLC dba)
Citizens For Fair & Responsible Gaming (a DELLC dba)
City Theater
Classic Buffet (a DELLC dba)
Classics Buffet (a DELLC dba)
Club Metro (a DELLC dba)
Club Metro Signature (a DELLC dba)
Cobo Arena (an Olympia Entertainment dba)
Dellc or DELLC (Detroit Entertainment LLC dba)
Detroit Entertainment LLC (dba MotorCity Casino, etc.)
Detroit Tigers, Inc.
Detroit Tigers Latin American Operations, Inc.

Detroit Red Wings
Downriver Properties & Land Development, Inc.

Elizabeth Street Properties LLC
Empire Associates, LLC
Empire Ventures, LLC
The Fox Theater (an Olympia Entertainment dba)
Gaming Entertainment Michigan (GEM) LLC
Gateway Casino Resorts, LLC (Hamptons/Long Island, NY Casino)
Gateway Funding Associates
Gateway Holdings, LLC
Gateway Manager, Inc.

Grand River Deli (a DELLC dba)
GP Development LLC
Hawaii Entertainment Associates, LLC
Hawaiian Manager, LLC
Holomua Hawaii
High Octane Café (a DELLC dba)
Hockeytown Cafe (an Olympia Entertainment dba)
I.E. Enterprises
IH Gaming, Inc. (successor of Circus Circus Michigan, Inc.)
IH Indemnity, LLC
IH Management, Inc.
I.H. Management, L.L.C.

Ilitch Holdings, Inc.
Innkeepers Managment LLC (owns Thomas Edison Inn)
Iridescence Experience (a DELLC dba)
Iridescence Restaurant (a DELLC dba)
Joe Louis Arena (an Olympia Entertainment dba)
JR Property Holdings, LLC (Heather Lufkins Robinson lawsuit)
J.R. Michigan LLC (Johnny Rockets)

Lakeland Tigers Food Service, Inc.
LC/CS Westland Inc. (Little Caesars/Chicken Shack)
LCB Barwest Holdings, LLC
LCB Barwest Manager, Inc.
LCB Barwest, LLC
Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc. (multiple dba's)
Little Caesars International (See:
List of 28 Other Assumed Names)
Little Caesars Pizza
Malik Developments Co

M&M Ventures, Inc.
M & M Ilitch Holdings, Inc. (est. 1997; changed name to Ilitch Holdings, Inc. in 2001)
M & M Realty Holdings, LLC
M & M Realty Holdings II, LLC
Michael Ilitch Trust
Michael J. Malik, Sr. Revocable Living Trust

MJM Bay Mills, Inc
MJM Blue Water, LLC
MJM Blue Water Investors, LLC
MJM Border Holdings, Inc.
MJM Charlotte Beach, LLC
MJM Consulting Associates, LLC
MJM Development Holdings, LLC (?) Delaware 8/21/06
MJM Enterprises
MJM Enterprises Development Co. (
North American Gaming
Company
)
MJM Interactive Venture, LLC
MJM Investments, LLC
MJM Manager, Inc.
MJM Manistee Inc.
MJM Music Productions, LLC
MJM Pleasant Family Holdings, LLC
MJM Retail Ventures, LLC
MJM Royal Properties, LLC
MJM Security Venture, LLC
MLC Financial Corporation

MM Annuity I, LLC
MM Annuity II, LLC
MM Family Mineral Ventures, LLC (Michael Malik)
MM Holdings, LLC
MMI Holdings LLC
MRS Holding Company, LLC
Moose Building, LLC
MotorCity Casino (a Detroit Entertainment LLC dba)
MotorCity e-cash (a DELLC dba)
MotorCity Memories (a DELLC dba)
MotorCity Millionaires (a DELLC dba)
MotorCity Pit Stop (a DELLC dba)
MCC Radio (a DELLC dba)
MCC Records (a DELLC dba)
MCC Recording Studio (a DELLC dba)
MotorCity Casino Radio
(a DELLC dba)
MotorCity Casino Records (a DELLC dba)
MV Land Holdings, LLC
North American Gaming Company
(MJM Enterprises Development Company)
Northern Michigan Food Services Company
Olympia Arenas, Inc.
Olympia Aviation, LLC (Tigers/Red Wing Airplane)
Olympia Building Corp.
Olympia Development, LLC
Olympia Development of Michigan, LLC
Olympia Entertainment, Inc.
Olympia Entertainment Overdrive (a DELLC dba)
Olympia Entertainment Tiger Ballpark, Inc. (dba Comerica Park)
Olympia Land Holdings, LLC
Paradice Entertainment and Gaming, LLC
Paradice Feed Company, LLC
Paradice Hunt Club
Paradice Hunt Club II, LLC
Paradice Marketing and Sales, LLC
PKC, L.L.C.
PKC, L.L.C. of Michigan
Ren Cen 4 Theaters, Inc.

Renegade Charters, LLC
Renegade Charters Manistee, LLC
Second-City, Detroit (an Olympia Entertainment dba)
Seven I's Inc.
Seven I's Realty Holdings, LLC
Signature Club (a DELLC dba)
Taillights (a DELLC dba)
The Atwater Fund, LLC

Tres Vite, Inc.
TS Ventures (Twist & Shout Gourmet Pretzels)
Uptown Entertainment
Vapors (a DELLC dba)
West Grand River Lofts, LLC
X.R.N. L.L.C.
Z.L.M. Corporation

Z.L.M. L.L.C.
Z.R.X. L.L.C
.
Please contact us via comment or email if you have questions or wish to suggest additions or corrections to these lists. Thanks to all those who have provide insight and information that's helped build this list.

S&P's fundamental outlook on the gaming industry is negative

12.04.08

Chancy Times for Casino Companies
S&P's fundamental outlook on the gaming industry is negative, as big players like MGM Mirage and Las Vegas Sands grapple with economic weakness and heavy debt

By Esther Kwon
From Standard & Poor's Equity Research

Based on research done during a recent visit to Las Vegas, Standard & Poor's Equity Research's fundamental outlook for the casinos and gaming industry continues to be negative.

Though the private equity boom in the sector led to significantly higher valuations, we see high debt loads compounding difficulties from economic weakness. Debt-to-EBITDA ratios for casino/gaming companies that file public financial information with the Securities & Exchange Commission rose to 7.5 in the 12 months ended June 30, 2008 from 4.5 in 2002, according to Standard & Poor's Credit Market Services, which operates independently of Standard & Poor's Equity Research Services.

With cash flows declining, debt-burdened properties need to keep occupancies high and at the same time cut costs to remain in compliance with debt covenants. However, deteriorating service levels could make that difficult, and we expect price discounting to intensify. We expect lodging revenue per available room, or RevPAR, declines of 5% to 8% in 2009, but we see those of casino hotel rooms falling more. (See Complete Story)


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Quid pro quo? Congressman takes contributions from Casino Syndicator, Lobbyist after carrying their bill

Quid pro quo? Was that the intent or understanding of contributions delivered to Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), a senior member of the Rules Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives?

TVT has previously reported that Detroit-based casino syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr., made a first-time $2,000 political contribution to Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings on 10.10.08. And we explored the circumstances that might have motivated that Malik contribution.

Now, TVT has discovered that apparently ten days before Malik showed his generosity to Hastings, Malik’s lobbyist, former Rep. Alan Wheat (D-MO) also contributed $2,000 to Rep. Hastings. And there are other circumstances that suggest the contributions from Malik and Wheat were tied together.

It does not appear that either Malik or Wheat had ever contributed to Rep. Hastings’ political committees prior to 9.30.08.

As it turns out, Rep. Hastings, a senior member of the House Rules Committee, had carried a Resolution into the House last summer (H.R. 1298) which was the vehicle by which H.R. 2176 came to the floor and was put to a full vote. Had the later bill been approved, it would have paved the way for Malik to build and manage an Indian casino in Port Huron, MI.

Wheat Government Relations, a D.C. lobbying firm headed by former Rep. Alan Wheat (D-MO) has represented both the Bay Mills Indian Community (1998-2008) and Blue Water Resorts (2004-2008), the syndicated enterprise bankrolling the Port Huron casino scheme. Blue Water Resorts is tied directly to Michael Malik. Additionally, a lobbying disclosure report indicates Blue Water Resorts is “affiliated” with the Bay Mills Indian Community; that is, paying the tribe’s lobbying bills and directing the tribe’s lobbying activity. Blue Water Resorts is also affiliated with MJM Enterprises & Development, another lobbyist employer supporting the Port Huron casino scheme. Malik clearly is directing the entire effort from the wings, hiding behind these various affiliates.

Wheat, Malik and the Bay Mills tribe have been trying to get several bills shaped as land claims settlements approved by Congress since 2002; but their other attempts to get congressional action that could result in the ability to build a casino in Port Huron date back to 1998. The action by Rep. Hastings represents the first time one of their schemes has made its way onto the House floor for a vote.

Disclosure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) indicate as follows:
    Hastings for Congress reported receiving a $2,000 contribution on 9.30.08 from Alan Wheat, CEO at Wheat Government Realtions,1201 South Ends Street, Arlington, VA 22202.

    Hastings for Congress reported receiving a $2,000 contribution on 10.10.08 from Michael J. Malik, Sr., a Developer at Wheat Government Relations, 1201 South Ends Street, Suite Two, Arlington, VA 22202. This record is makes false representations.
Despite what’s represented by Hastings for Congress in its disclosure records, Michael Malik is not employed by Wheat Government Relations nor is his primary address in Arlington, VA.

Did Hastings' treasurer get those details off the check the committee received? How did the treasurer make such an error when reporting contributions that were made at different times? And by different people? Odd.

But then again, maybe not.

Consider that Malik’s affiliates Blue Water Resorts and Gateway Casino Resorts employ the Wheat firm as lobbyists; as do the Bay Mills Indian Community and Shinnecock Indian Nation, two of Malik’s business partners. Malik is paying for and directing the lobbying activity of all four entities.

Malik is a business/real estate developer, casino syndicator and self-identified entrepreneur who is engaged in various partnerships with members of Detroit’s Ilitch family and whose various business enterprises are mainly located at the headquarters of Ilitch Holdings, Inc., 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201 -- not in Arlington, VA.

And curiously, both Hastings for Congress transaction records reported the addresses at 1202 South Ends Street. However, Wheat Government Relations is actually located at 1202 South Eads Street.

There's little doubt that these contributions weren't actually bundled even though they're reported to be received ten days apart. If the checks had been delivered directly and separately by their makers, the details wouldn't have been confused. Malik would not have been recorded as an employee of Wheat Government Relations nor his address listed in Arlington, VA.

There can be little question about the motivations of Malik and Wheat.

But there should be a lot more questions put to Malik, Wheat and Hastings.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Paradice Hunt Club owner stripped of licenses, sentenced with five year ban on hunting, fishing and trapping

The owner of the Paradice Hunt Club in Northern Michigan, has been fined nearly $15,000 by the Arizona Game & Fish Commission and stripped of his right to hunt, fish or trap in 32 states for the next five years -- that includes his home state of Michigan.

Michael J. Malik owns the 1,000 acre Paradice Hunt Club retreat, a commercial game reserve and hunting grounds, north of Gladwin, Michigan. The high roller, who develops real estate projects and syndicates casino investment opportunitites, is also known to bid on unique hunting tags at wildlife charity auctions paying upwards of $75,000 to $100,000.

Malik was found guilty in the Pinetop Justice Court on 8.29.08, of discharging a firearm within the quarter-mile limit of occupied residences while taking elk. In that case he had to pay a minimal fine and put in eight hours of community service. But it was that criminal conviction which authorized the Commission to take the latest civil action against Malik.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Politico paid to gather signatures on petitions may have also invested in AtMashpee LLC

Lee Albright was an investor in Atwater Entertainment Associates LLC (Atwater) according to a web site seeking to alert former Atwater partners to possible class-action claims involving the entity's former manager. Detroiter Herb Strather originally syndicated interest in Atwater as a way to raise capital needed to promote gambling in Detroit and then establish MotorCity Casino.

AtMashpee LLC, another Strather-created Detroit-based casino syndication in which a large majority of Atwater's members are reported to have also been investors, is suddenly at the center of a Jack Abramoff-related scandal making headlines this week.

Glenn Marshall, former chairman of Massachusetts's Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and a Strather (AtMashpee) partner, admits he is guilty of all criminal activity outlined in a Department of Justice (DOJ) complaint filed this week. Marshall has also agreed to cooperate in ongoing DOJ investigations which could include AtMashpee and its investors.

It is not clear yet if Albright is one of the Atwater investors who also put money into AtMashpee LLC.

Albright is the president of National Petition Management (NPM), perhaps the leading U.S. firm paid to collect signatures on political petitions intended to qualify measures (initiatives, referenda, propositions, proposals, etc.) for the ballot. NPM has offices in Michigan and Northern California. At one time NPM's was incorporated in Michigan.

The Daily Kos reports that from 1992-2006, NPM successfully qualifed 75 measures to be on ballots in 15 states. That list included qualifying two Michigan gambling measures: (1) allowed three commercial casinos to be opened in Detroit; and then (2) virtually protects those Detroit casinos from the threat of any future gaming competition in the state. Specifically:
    1996 - Michigan First! Proposal E - gambling in Detroit (organized by Atwater investors Herb Strather and Mary Ann Dalgleish, and Dimitrios Papas, founder of Monroe Partners LLC - Greektown Casino; Strather and Papas were later disqualified from receiving Michigan gambling licenses and forced to cash-in their respective casino interests before the gambling halls opened; voters statewide narrowly approved Proposal E which provided for three commercial gaming establishments in Detroit).

    2004 - Let Voters Decide Yes on Proposal 1 (bankrolled by Detroit's three established commercial casino interests and Michigan Indian tribes with gaming interests which included MGM Grand Detroit, Marian Ilitch owner of MotorCity Casino, Kewadin Greektown Casino, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians; voters approved Proposal 1which now requires a statewide vote to approve any other new/expanded gaming ventures).
Strather began working with the Mashpee tribe in 2000 and reportedly dumped some $15 million into efforts to get the Mashpee tribe federally recognized and then build a tribal casino on Cape Cod. In exchange for bankrolling the Recognition effort and casino plans, Strather's group was promised 6-6.5% of the casino's annual gaming revenues over 20 years -- a deal some have valued at more than $1.2 billion.

Strather (AtMashpee) funnelled $4 million from investors into a hidden account enabling Marshall's criminal activity.

Following criminal conviction, Malik fined nearly $15k, loses right to hunt in 32 states including Michigan

12.18.08

Michigan man assessed $14,995 for killing trophy elk near homes

PINETOP, AZ -- Michael J. Malik, a Michigan resident, appeared before the Arizona Game and Fish Commission at its December meeting in Casa Grande for shooting a trophy-quality, 7x7 bull elk too close to residential property without landowner permission.

After hearing his statement, the commission voted to civilly assess Malik $14,995 for the state’s loss of the 408-point, velvet-antlered elk. The commission also revoked his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges in Arizona for five years, and he must successfully complete a hunter education course prior to having his license privileges restored.

The commission’s action to revoke Malik’s license for five years has far-reaching implications. Arizona is a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact with 32 other states, including all western states and Malik’s home state of Michigan. Until his license privileges are restored in Arizona, he will not be able to legally hunt in any of those 32 states.

Malik paid $135,000 at an auction for Arizona’s 2006-07 “special” elk tag at a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation annual convention. Special tag holders have the added privilege of pursuing their designated big game for one full year.

In the early hours of July 26, 2007, Malik, assisted by four companions, including Arizona elk guide John McClendon, shot, wounded and eventually killed the bull in a privately owned meadow in the Morgan Flat area east of Pinetop. While on patrol, the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s wildlife manager in Unit 3B, Shawn Wagner, heard the initial shot and responded to investigate. He found the Malik hunting party and wounded bull in close proximity to several occupied houses where the property owners were upset with Malik hunting and shooting near their homes.

Wagner determined the homeowners had not been approached nor had they granted permission for Malik to hunt on their property. Wagner seized the bull and cited Malik for shooting violations. Shooting a firearm within a quarter-mile of an occupied building while taking wildlife without permission from the owner is a Class 2 Misdemeanor.

After several pre-trial conferences and continuances, Malik was found guilty in the Pinetop Justice Court on Aug. 29, 2008, of discharging a firearm within the quarter-mile limit of occupied residences while taking elk. The criminal conviction authorized the commission to take civil action against Malik.

“This incident is more a private property and public safety violation than it is a wildlife crime. The court and commission decisions are a strong reminder to all hunters about the importance of hunter awareness and safety and respecting the rights of private property owners and rural residents,” says Jim Hinkle, law enforcement program manager at the department’s Pinetop office.

The department donated the edible portions of the elk carcass to Shepherd’s Kitchen, a charitable organization in Snowflake. The antlers and cape remain in custody of the department pending the outcome of an appeal to the Pinetop Justice Court decision by Malik.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Did principals at Goddard Clausen political firm help syndicate AtMashpee LLC too?

The Washington D.C.-based chairman of the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC), Ben Goddard, and his Sacramento-based business partner, Rick Clausen, were among 100+ investors who helped Herb Strather originally syndicate Detroit-based Atwater Entertainment Associates LLC (AEA). It has been reported by Crain's Detroit that AEA investors made up 75% (150 investors) of those who also helped Strather syndicate AtMashpee LLC, another casino investment opportunity. Note that the name "AtMashpee" reflects such a marriage between Atwater and the Mashpee Wampanoag.

A complaint filed by Department of Justice (DOJ) officials in U.S. District Court this week indicates Strather (AtMashpee LLC) dumped $4 million into a hidden account which enabled former Mashpee Wampanoag tribal chairman Glenn A. Marshall to engage in various fraudulent activities including a scheme that used convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and others to funnel political contributions to key Members of Congress; all this was associated with efforts to win Federal Recognition of the tribe so they could build a Cape Cod casino that would reward Strather (AtMashpee) with 6-6.5% of annual gaming revenues over 20 years -- a jackpot valued by some at $1.2 billion.

Marshall agreed to plea guilty of all charges and will cooperate with ongoing DOJ investigations. His attorney, Robert Craven, told the Boston Globe, "Glenn didn't dream up the scheme himself. He was getting bad advice."

A Web site set up to inform AEA investors about possible class action claims lists Benjamin Goddard and Richard C. Clausen as investors. The pair are partners in the well-known political/PR firm Goddard Clausen.

Strather formed AEA originally to raise the capital needed to bankroll a 1996 campaign legalizing gambling in Detroit. Subsquently, AEA joined a partnership that included Las Vegas-based Circus Circus (Mandalay Resort Group) and established Detroit's MotorCity Casino.

How did Goddard and Clausen end up investing in Atwater Entertainment Associates? Did Goddard and Clausen also help Strather syndicate AtMashpee LLC too? And in doing so bankroll the tribal chairman's illegal activity? Were they also among those Marshall's attorney says gave him bad advice and political counsel?

The Goddard Clausen firm rose to prominence during the 1990s after Blue Cross paid the firm $2 million to develop the landmark "Harry & Louise" ad campaign, credited with killing President Bill Clinton's plan for universal health care. Goddard is a founder of the CATO Institute and a regular columnist for The Hill, a Washington D.C. news publication read by Capitol Hill insiders. In recent years, Goddard Clausen was a division of the international PR firm Porter Novelli (See Goddard Profile: Washington Post)

Judge ordered fast-track for Shinnecock Federal Recognition process

12.18.08

Casinos on the Horizon
The Shinnecocks are on the federal fast track

By Jennifer Landes

With the Shinnecock Indian Nation now under active consideration by the Office of Federal Acknowledgment of the United States Department of the Interior and Suffolk County voting to approve the naming of a task force to study the feasibility and placement of a gaming facility on Tuesday, casino gambling is closer to reality than ever on Long Island.

The Shinnecocks had two things going against them in previous attempts to capitalize on federal laws that allowed gaming on Native American reservations. There was never community or state support to place the facilities on the reservation in Shinnecock Hills or on land they owned in Hampton Bays, and they were not on the list of federally recognized tribes managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the Department of the Interior.

But in September, a federal judge ordered the Department of the Interior to consider placing the Shinnecocks at the top of the list of tribes scheduled for consideration for placement on the list. Another federal judge had issued a decision recognizing the tribe in 2003, but it was not at the time deemed sufficient by the department to place them on the list. At the same time the tribe has had an application pending with the department since 1978.

According to a letter sent to the Shinnecocks’ trustees on Nov. 10, the Office of Federal Recognition began its “active consideration” of the application on that day. Representative Tim Bishop said the process should take about 18 months. Before the judge’s action, the tribe had expected to wait about a decade for consideration even though their application had been deemed complete by the department years ago.

“Yes, they have been bumped up in the queue, and I expect a judgment in the next year and a half. The Shinnecock gaming issue is anything but hypothetical,” Mr. Bishop said. He added that “as a layman it certainly appears to me they meet the criteria for a recognized tribe,” but he noted that their application will be thoroughly scrutinized.

Once they receive official recognition, the most significant obstacle will have been removed. The process to have a facility approved, however, will also take some time under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. To conduct gaming operations off-site of the reservation, “they have to designate a location to conduct gaming and it has to be taken into trust by the Department of the Interior.” The New York State Legislature and governor must also agree to the proposal. (
Complete Story)

Who's Who guide to complaint filed against former Mashpee tribe chairman Glenn Marshall

Who's Who guide to the five count complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney in U.S. District Court and alleging criminal wrongdoing by former Mashpee Wampanoag tribal chairman Glenn A. Marshall including allegations of federal campaign finance violations, wire transfer fraud, tax fraud, embezzling $380,000 to pay personal expenses and fraudulently accepting payments from the Social Security Administration.

Investor A - Herb Strather; Detroit-based casino syndicator; founding member of AtMashpee LLC (see docs); has acknowledged to reporters that he is "Investor A." Herbert J. Strather is Resident Agent of AtMashpee Notes LLC, an enterprise established one year ago (12.08.07) when Strather's corporate counsel Jason Q. Wilson filed articles of organization for the LLC.

Laurence B. Deitch, an attorney at Bodman LLP, is Resident Agent and manager of AtMashpee LLC. Deitch and Strather, who lead the efforts to legalize commercial gambling in Detroit, were original partners in Atwater Entertainment Associates LLC which eventually morphed into Detroit's MotorCity Casino (a d/b/a for Detroit Entertainment LLC). Both Strather and Deitch opted to sell their interests in MotorCity Casino before it opened its doors -- Strather because he reportedly feared the Michigan Gaming Control Board might find him ineligible for a license and Deitch, a University of Michigan Regent, because reportedly he anticipated a future constantly questionning conflicts of interest.

Investor B - Floyd Gallegos; resident of Battle Creek, MI; an MIT-educated Yaqui Indian who helps tribes obtain grants and other assistance; an acquaintance of Strather's; reportedly investor in AtMashpee LLC.

Political Action Committee A - RICH PAC (Pombo's leadership PAC)

Member of Congress A - Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA)

Member of Congress B - former Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA); then chair, House Natural Resources Committee

Member of Congress C - Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA)

Political Consultant A - Stephen Graham

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

MotorCity Casino revenues down 7.1% for November

12.17.08

November casino revenue down from last year

By Robert Ankeny

Combined revenue for Detroit’s three commercial casinos was down 6.74 percent for November compared with the same month last year, the Michigan Gaming Control Board reported Wednesday.

MGM Grand Detroit L.L.C. was off 0.69 percent. MotorCity Casino, owned by Detroit Entertainment L.L.C., was down almost 7.1 percent and Greektown Casino L.L.C. was down almost 16.4 percent, the control board’s report showed.

Year-to-date revenue for the first 11 months of 2008 was more than $1.25 billion, up $33.7 million or 2.8 percent over 2007. That was due to MGM’s total of more than $46.4 million, 14.1 percent ahead of 2007.

Both MotorCity and Greektown trail their 11-month revenue totals for 2007, by 2.4 percent and 6.9 percent respectively.

Gaming market shares in Detroit for November 2008 show MGM with 44 percent, MotorCity with 34 percent and Greektown at 22 percent.

Three-fourths of AtMashpee LLC investors were behind entity that morphed into MotorCity Casino

Detroit-based AtMashpee LLC bankrolled and directed political and lobbying activities that won Federal Recognition for the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts and laid the ground work for a tribal casino resort planned for Cape Cod.

According to a 10.31.05 brief written by Robert Ankeny and published in Crain's Detroit Business:

AtMashpee LLC included $12 million syndicated through more than 200 investors.

About 150 of AtMashpee's investors are former Atwater Associates partners. The name AtMashpee, is a blend of Mashpee, as in Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe, and Herb Strather’s Atwater Entertainment Associates, organizers of what eventually became Detroit Entertainment LLC doing business as Detroit's MotorCity Casino)

AtMashpee was founded in 2000 by Herb Strather. Fellow Atwater partner and University of Michigan Regent Laurence Deitch is Resident Agent for the Strather managed limited liability company.

Another former Atwater investor, J. Ronald Slavik (J&J Slavik, Inc.), has strong ties to the Mashpee effort. He partnered with South African Sol Kerzner and Len Wolman on the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. Kezner and Wolman have assumed financing and control of any future Mashpee project.

Strather formed what appears to be a related entity, AtMashpee Notes LLC, almost one year ago on 12.18.07. Jason Q. Wilson, Strather's corporate counsel, filed the documents on Strather's behalf.

See List: Atwater Entertainment Associates Investors

Detroiters Strather, Deitch provided $4 million fund that enabled wrongdoing by ex-tribal chairman

Detroit casino syndicators Herb Strather and Laurence Deitch provided $4 million fund that enabled wrongdoing by former Indian tribe chairman.

According to details released by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), a Michigan-based casino syndicate controlled by Strather and Deitch dumped $4 million into a dormant tribal enterprise enabling their partner, then the chairman of a Massachusetts Indian tribe, to commit wire fraud and carry out schemes that violated federal campaign finance laws.

All this and more is outlined in the DOJ release and in charges filed in U.S. District Court against former Mashpee Wampanoag tribal chairman Glenn A. Marshall who has admitted wrongdoing and plead guilty on all charges in order to realize reduced sentencing. Marshall also agreed to cooperate in other related investigations.

Marshall’s attorney Robert Craven told the Boston Globe, "Glenn didn't dream up the scheme himself. He was getting bad advice."

Strather formed AtMashpee LLC in 2000 to provide funding and direct legal and lobbying activity necessary to earn federal recognition for the Mashpee Tribe; ultimately paving the way to build a large casino resort on Cape Cod that was to rival Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun. In exchange for bankrolling the plans, AtMashpee LLC and Strather would get 6 to 6.5% of casino revenues over a 20 year period – a deal valued by some to have been worth up to $1.2 billion.

According to the Boston Globe, Marshall was elected Mashpee chairman shortly after Strather became involved with the tribe. And in 2005 when Marshall’s leadership was challenged, Strather took measures to ensure Marshall would be re-elected as chairman.

Strather the largest investor in AtMashpee, is noted as “Investor A” in court documents. He syndicated interest in the limited liability company with 200 other investors – perhaps some of the same individuals who invested alongside Strather and Deitch in the venture (Atwater Entertainment Associates) that eventually became Detroit’s MotorCity Casino.

It is worth noting that according to documents filed with the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth, Laurence B. Deitch, an attorney who is also a University of Michigan Regent, has been the Resident Agent for AtMashpee since 2001. While Strather has confirmed he is “Investor A” it is not clear if Deitch is the party noted in court documents as “Investor B,” a resident of Michigan and a fellow investor in AtMashpee LLC.

Another former Atwater investor and resident of Michigan, J. Ronald Slavik, is ties to the Mashpee casino scheme as well. Slavik was one of the original partners including Sol Kerzner and Len Wolman in Trading Cove Associates, which developed and managed the Mohegan Sun casino resort in Connecticut. Kerzner and Wolman have taken over controlling interest in the proposed Mashpee Casino. It's also possible Slavik is "Investor B."

From 2003-2007, AtMashpee pumped $4 million into a secret fund under the dormant Mashpee Fisherman’s Association. Those funds were used in part to pay lobbyists and political consultants. At one point, they retained the now disgraced former D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff to represent their interests and engaged him in their political contributions scheme. The tribe did receive federal recognition in early 2007 and has been pursuing controversial plans to develop a large casino resort in Middleborough, MA.

In addition to wire fraud and laundering campaign contributions, Strather gave Marshall $380,000 which he used to pay for personal expenses: groceries, jewelry, tuition payments for his daughter, vacations and his Countrywide mortgage. Strather also made other monthly payments to Marshall who failed to disclose the gifts and payments to the IRS and Social Security Administration.

DOJ Announcement
Complaint filed in U.S. District Court
Plea Agreement

Associated Press: Ex-tribal head in Mass. to plead guilty to fraud
Boston Herald: Ex-Mashpee Wampanoag chairman charged, tied to Abramoff
Cape Cod Times: Mashpee Wampanoag, Investors manipulate Cape tribe, Secretive club holding casino cards

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Obama's campaign advisor helped Ilitch Crew legalize gambling in Detroit

From an April 1997 article published in Campaigns & Elections and written by Laurence B. Deitch entitled "Rolling the dice in Detroit: how a land-based casino referendum beat the odds thanks to a skillful campaign."

    18-Day Campaign

    The polling provided the framework for our "yes" on E messages. Winner/Wagner & Mandabach brought in Sipple: Strategic Communications to work with them in developing television and radio ads. They also worked with the Lansing-based Marketing Resource Group, headed by Tom Shields, to target direct mail to swing voters. The media campaign focused on these themes:

    Proposal E is pro-Michigan. One set of ads used the image of a $400 million bag of money moving from Detroit to Windsor, Canada, to depict the flow of dollars to Canadian casinos located a mere five minutes from Detroit, and stated that Proposal E would bring these dollars back to Michigan.

    Proposal E is straight-forward. A "Voter Guide" television spot showed the actual ballot wording to visually reinforce the simplicity of Proposal E.

    What benefits Detroit, benefits Michigan. An ad featuring popular Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer was produced by the Mayor's media consultant, David Axelrod. It aired in the final days of the campaign, and asked Michigan voters to help Detroit reduce its dependence on state aid.

Detroit casino interests behind Cape Cod casino plans

8.06.07



Mass. tribe gets casino help from Detroit

When Middleborough, Mass., residents voted July 29 to endorse a proposal for a $1 billion Indian casino resort in their town, there was a significant Detroit presence involved.

Entrepreneur Herb Strather and attorneys Laurence Deitch and Dennis Whittlesey are assisting the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe in its pursuit of the project.

Strather's Detroit-based AtMashpee L.L.C. aided the tribe in negotiations with the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs for final recognition, which became official on May 23. It owns or has options on 375 acres of land in Middleborough. Strather, who organized the founding company for MotorCity Casino, also has helped finance the Mashpee tribe's casino development efforts.

Deitch, of Detroit-based Bodman L.L.P., provides legal counsel to the tribe. Whittlesey, a gaming and Indian law attorney of Dickinson Wright P.L.L.C.'s Washington office, represents Middleborough.

“The Detroit involvement in this project is no accident,” Whittlesey said, “and don't be surprised if you see more of it around the country.”

Strather's AtMashpee LLC enabled former tribal chair with $4 million

As published 12.16.08 in the Boston Globe:

    Marshall became tribal chairman in 2000, shortly after Herbert Strather, a Detroit-based businessman who helped develop a casino there [MotorCity Casino], became involved with the Mashpee Wampanoag.

    Strather and other Michigan investors [AtMashpee LLC] formed a close bond with Marshall, at first agreeing to fund the tribal council's expenses at $10,000 a month and later upping it to $100,000 a month. In addition, the investors agreed to pay the cost of lobbyists, lawyers, and others involved in the recognition bid [a total of $4 million].

    When Marshall's leadership was challenged in 2005, Strather wrote to tribal members urging his reelection. Strather, however, sold his interest last year, when they struck a deal with the developers of Connecticut's Mohegan Sun resort, Sol Kerzner and Len Wolman. [Strather had connections with Wolman's Waterford Group through Michigan-based construction firm Slavick Inc.] That deal would give the investors 6.5 percent of the gross revenue of a casino, hotel, and convention business, according to the court documents.

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