Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rep. Young repeats the same pattern of earmarks with Aronoff, Congel, Malik & Troha

As chairman of the House transportation committee, Alaska Rep. Don Young flew at least three times to upstate New York aboard a sleek jet owned by Robert Congel (Pyramid Companies), an ambitious shopping mall developer seeking federal highway dollars. Congel family members have contributed $68,700 to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

With Young’s help, Congel got millions of dollars to boost his dream of building the largest mall in North America. Young, the veteran Republican Congressman, got something, too: more than $33,000 in political donations from Congel, his family and his associates.

Congel's Pyramid Companies has been represented by lobbyists at Williams & Jensen and Blank Rome LLP. Williams & Jensen provides counsel to Young's Midnight Sun leadership PAC. Lobbyists at Blank Rome LLP (Duncan Smith, Young's former aide; CJ Zane, Young's former chief of staff) are among Young's "A-Team" of lobbyists.

For Young, the Congel story was hardly unusual. Time after time, Young approved millions of dollars for highway projects for people who in turn fattened his campaign coffers.

Daniel Aronoff
In another such example, Young, then the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, inserted a $10 million earmark to widen I-75 in Florida's Collier and Lee Counties into the 2005 Transportation Funding Bill. The project was supported by local officials. That was the version passed by Congress.

But because of Young's unique position, he was able to make a crucial change: the bill later signed by the President had different language, directing the $10 million specifically to an I-75 interchange at Coconut Road.

That project had been opposed by local officials, but aggressively backed by Michigan real estate mogul Daniel Aronoff (Landon Companies), who'd flown Young to Florida and thrown a $40,000 fundraiser for Young that year. It's recently been revealed that Aronoff's lobbyists, Rick Alcalde (Richard Alcalde) and Dan Feliz (Daniel Feliz), are part of Young's "A-Team" of lobbyists with unfettered access to Young's staff. Aronoff family members have contributed $43,400 to the NRCC.

Both the Senate and House have officially called for investigations into the Coconut Road earmark matter.

Michael Malik
And then there's Michael J. Malik, Sr., (MJM Enterprises & Blue Water Resorts), a Detroit casino syndicator whose partners include Mrs. Marian Ilitch -- she owns Detroit's MotorCity Casino, the Detroit Red Wings and Little Caesars Pizza. Malik has been working to develop an off-reservation casino in Port Huron, Michigan, in partnership with the Bay Mills Indian Community for nearly a decade. They are also pushing off-reservation casinos in California and New York.

Several times between 2003 & 2005, Young tried to slip language into the 2005 Transportation Spending Bill that would have quietly paved the way for Malik's Port Huron casino. Jeff Parker a Bay Mills tribal leader has admitted publicly that they'd hope to use the Transportation Bill as a stealth way to get approvals.

In fact, according to a report in The Hill, Sen. John McCain and former Rep. Richard Pombo were furious when Young inserted an earmark for a transportation study in Port Huron into the 2005 Transportation Bill because the earmark included additional language buried in the earmark that would have required the Secretary of Interior to take actions paving the way for Malik's casino; bypassing the normal processes and committees with jurisdiction over such matters.

Like Aronoff and Congel, Malik & Ilitch fronted costs for Young to travel in their private jet at least twice during 2005. Like Aronoff and Congel, they got their family members and associates to raise money for Young. They helped raise $58,000 for Young on 5.23.05, making that Young's best day of fundraising in the 2006 campaign cycle. Malik and members of the Ilitch family have contributed $97,000 to the NRCC and National Republican Senatorial Committee.

And Malik hasn't backed off. In February, Young pushed to get a favorable vote on H.R. 2176, a bill supporting Malik's casino plans, in the House Natural Resources Committee. And he took the measure to the floor of the House in a heated debate on 6.25.08. The bill failed.

According to, Malik contributed $3,000 to Young's Midnight Sun PAC on 8.15.07. He's contributed $15,000 to the NRCC since February 2007. On 3.31.08, Malik and his lobbyists (Richard Alcalde and Dan Feliz) joined other members of Young's A-Team who contributed another $17,000 to Young's warchest. Alcalde is also Aronoff's lobbyist. Previously Malik's affiliates were represented by Williams & Jensen, a firm that has also represented Congel's Pyramid Companies.

Dennis Troha
Young had the same patterns of behavior with Wisconsin transportation and casino gambling mogul Dennis Troha (JHT Holdings). Troha, his family and associates were among Young's top three contributors in 2006.

Troha had benefited from changes in federal trucking regulations which were included as an amendment in a highway spending bill that became law in 2005.

JHT Holdings has been represented by Colin Chapman (Young's former chief of staff).

Like Malik and the Ilitch family, the Troha family and associates also contributed to Young's campaign on 5.23.05. Troha contributed $50,000 to the NRCC.

A federal probe of Troha's activities was initiated. Troha has since been indicted on charges he inappropriately funneled money to the campaign of Wisconsin's Governor through family members.

Congel, Aronoff and Malik have each contributed to Young's Midnight Sun leadership PAC at some point.

No comments:

TVT has welcomed more than 178,000 unique vistors

TVT, founded in December 2006, has averaged more than 20,000 visitors annually. It is produced with the support of scores of individuals from coast-to-coast, each a volunteer citizen activist/jounalist, who review tips and compile the verifiable details and documents that are the hallmark of our content.

Since our first post, more than 178,000 visitors have accessed the details compiled uniquely at TVT.

The citizen activists behind TVT wish to extened a big "THANK YOU" to all those who have provided "tips" -- contributed pictures, documents, link suggestions, leads, reports, insight and comments. Your trust and confidence in TVT has allowed us to create a comprehensive resource that thousands of others -- including bloggers, journalists, Members of Congress and other local citizen activists around the country -- have come to rely upon.

We invite feedback and constructive comment and want you to know you are welcome to do that here in "comments" or by contacting us directly and confidentially via

Google News: Indian Gaming

NEWS: Bay Mills Indian Community & Casino Proposals

NEWS: Shinnecock Indian Nation (Gateway Casino Resorts) Casino Proposals

NY Times: Shinnecock Indian Nation

NEWS: Los Coyotes Indian Tribe

NEWS: Los Coyotes / Barwest Barstow Casino Proposals

NEWS: Michael J. Malik, Sr.

NEWS: Marian Ilitch Mapping Social Networks

Play with the interactive tool here or visit

TIP: Search for multiple entries in the database simultaneously by separating their names with the word and

certainly must reads!

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

The Verifiable Truth