Thursday, June 26, 2008

Extended member of Ilitch family attacks City of Detroit

Michael Malik, a casino syndicator and real estate developer, attacked and blamed the City of Detroit in the wake of congressional defeat of a plan he had championed that would have allowed him to build an off-reservation casino in Port Huron, just 60 miles from downtown Detroit. More than a decade ago, Malik had proposed the same casino plan for downtown Detroit.

An article published 6.26.08 in the Port Huron Times Herald reports Malik as saying:

"The city of Detroit believes they are the only group in the state that deserves to have everything their way. They believe all benefits should be their benefits, and that all development should be their development. They always want help, but they never offer help."
Malik is Mrs. Marian Ilitch's casino and development partner. His business offices sit among the suite of executive offices at Ilitch Holdings, Inc. in Detroit's Fox Theater Building. There is reportedly a door connecting Malik's personal office with Marian Ilitch's personal office.

Malik was a one-time partner in Detroit's MotorCity Casino, now owned solely by Marian Ilitch. In 1999, Malik was forced to relinquish his interests in MotorCity Casino when the Michigan Gaming Control Board refused to grant him a gaming license. He reportedly transferred his shares to Marian Ilitch. Since then, he's been working side-by-side with Ilitch on various development and casino management projects.

Malik and Ilitch are also pursuing casino development projects in California, Hawaii and New York. Members of the Ilitch family had backed Malik's plans for the Port Huron casino but because Marian Ilitch owns Detroit's MotorCity Casino, regulations prohibit her from having a direct financial interest in any other Michigan casino. There is little, however, prohibiting other members of her family or affiliates of Ilitch Holdings, Inc., from having a financial interest in such a project.

The Ilitch family owns Little Caesars Pizza, the Fox Theater, the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings. The family manages city owned properties like Comerica Park and Joe Louis Arena. The family owns significant undeveloped or abandoned real estate in downtown Detroit. Olympia Entertainment and Olympia Development are two Ilitch affiliates that have pursued various development projects in Detroit. The Ilitch family has yet to announce any development plans for its large downtown real estate holdings.

One must wonder if Malik's sentiments are held by his partners at Ilitch Holdings, Inc.

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