Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ilitch casino frontmen doing damage control again

Marian Ilitch's casino frontmen are at it again.

Before news could reach Barstow that U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has issued a new ruling indicating off-reservation casinos must be within a 25-mile radius from an Indian tribe's headquarters, Ilitch's Lansing-based PR man Tom Shields and Shane Chapparosa, a member of the Los Coyotes Band of Indians, made an appearance before the Barstow City Council to "unveil" their third plan in five years for a casino in the Mojave Desert town.

There are several acceptions to the new 25-mile rule but it does not appear that the Los Coytes Band of Indians who are headquartered in north eastern San Diego County, more than a 150 mile drive from Barstow, meet any of those exceptions.

Using such tactics to head-off bad news during Barstow's local election campaign cycles have become a strategic political mainstay for Ilitch political strategist Tom Shields.

Barstow's Mayor Lawrence Dale has guaranteed exclusivity to BarWest since his early in his first term and has taken extreme political measures on BarWest's behalf. BarWest principals and agents may have helped Dale secure federal earmarks for his other pet projects from Rep. Don Young and others.

Dale was first elected to office in November 2000 when he upset the incumbent Mayor. He was re-elected again in 2004 and is running for a third term as Mayor in November. Each time he's pledged to make economic development his top priority for the Desert town and the failed BarWest casino resort has been the cornerstone of his plans.

Ilitch and a partner, Detroit-based casino syndicator Michael Malik, formed BarWest and using that entity have been pursuing plans for a Barstow casino since 2001. They made their first plans public in 2003. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger denied their first plan in 2004. The California Legislature failed to ratify a second proposal during back-to-back legislative sessions in 2006 & 2007. The U.S. Department of Interior rejected the second proposal in 2008 after kicking off an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) three years earlier.

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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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