Sunday, June 08, 2008

Patton Boggs registers as D.C. lobbyist for Barwest; same casino syndicators under investigation in CA

Patton Boggs LLP, the number one lobbying firm in Washington D.C., has officially registered as lobbyist for the Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians and the tribe's partner Barwest, a casino company formed by Mrs. Marian Ilitch (wife of Detroit Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch) and Michael J. Malik, Sr.

While Heather Sibbison and other Patton Boggs lobbyists have appeared before various government agencies on behalf of Barwest in the past, the firm hasn't previously registered as lobbyists for the casino syndicator or its tribal partner. Sibbison and Patton Boggs have represented other casino gaming partners tied to Malik and Ilitch.

For the first quarter of 2008, Barwest paid Patton Boggs $50,000, likely for services rendered to push forward plans by Barwest (Malik/Ilitch) and the Los Coyotes tribe to develop an off-reservation casino in Barstow, CA. The Los Coyotes tribe paid nothing to Patton Boggs for representation during the first quarter of 2008.

These recent disclosures represent the first time that any Washington, D.C., lobbying firm has officially reported an engagement with the Los Coyotes tribe. In the past, other lobbying firms have disclosed their representation of Barwest and Michael Malik on matters related to a proposed Los Coyotes off-reservation casino; but never the tribe.

Dating back to 2005, Barwest engaged the services of Wheat Government Relations, a D.C. firm founded by former Congressman Alan Wheat. While Wheat Government Relations remains registered as lobbyist for Barwest; however, the Wheat firm has reported "no activity" on behalf of Barwest for more than two years.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) apparently has an ongoing investigation into irregularities in the reporting of campaign contributions and lobbying expenses paid by Mike Malik, Barwest (Malik/Ilitch) and the Los Coyotes Band of Indians.

In recent years, several California lobbying firms have registered as lobbyists for the Los Coyotes Band of Indians. Reports filed by the tribe and these lobbying firms indicate discrepancies in payments made and received. That's most likely because the tribe never actually made any direct payments to the lobbying firms.

Rather, the tribe's gaming partner, Barwest, has made hundreds of thousands of dollars in back-door payments to the California lobbying firms but Barwest (Mike Malik & Marian Ilitch) failed to register as a "lobbyist employer" and failed to make appropriate disclosures that would be required under California law.

Further, there are irregularities in California campaign disclosure documents that suggest one lobbying firm, Governmental Advocates, Inc., may have inappropriately been involved in funneling funds to candidates from Michael J. Malik, Sr. Although that firm has received payments from Barwest, neither the firm, Barwest or Malik have ever reported any formal lobbying engagement.

Several California legislators who may have inappropriately received funds from Malik via the lobbying firm (Senator Roy Ashburn, Assemblywoman Patty Berg) were also sponsors of a 2007 bill in the California legislature that would have granted legislative approvals for Barwest and the Los Coyotes tribe to build their Barstow casino. The bill failed.

In 2006, Barwest was fined by the FPPC on two counts for failing to report a $26,000 contribution Barwest paid in 2004 to the County GOP Campaign Committee of former Rep. Richard Pombo. At the time, Pombo was chairman of the House Resources committee and had oversight for Indian Gaming matters.

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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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