Monday, November 10, 2008

Could Rep. Young's controversial $10M Coconut Rd. earmark pave the way for Boston Red Sox?

The News-Press in Fort Meyers, Florida, reports that property in south Lee County, owned by Michigan developer Daniel J. Aronoff, is one of five sites under consideration for development of a new Boston Red Sox Spring Training Complex by 2012.

Aronoff's Florida land is under consideration because the Red Sox want a new complex with a stadium and practice field. In their current situation, the Red Sox play their games in downtown Fort Myers at City of Palms Park but hold early-spring workouts several miles away.

However, nothing is ever quite that easy. And, neither Aronoff or the two-square miles of wetlands property which sits along Interstate 75 are without controversy

See, both are at the center of a federal corruption investigation involving U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-AK) who earmarked $10 million for a Coconut Road interchange study after a 2005 Estero-area fundraiser, which Aronoff attended, netting Young about $40,000.

Capitol Hill Lobbyist Richard Alcalde (Potomac Partners DC) is also at the heart of the Coconut Road earmark investigation. Alcalde represented Aronoff's Landon Companies and Alcalde has been identified as one of a select group of "A-Team" lobbyists who are especially close to Young.

Alcalde represents another Michigan developer, Michael J. Malik, Sr., and Malik's casino gaming affiliate MJM Enterprises. Malik and a partner, Mrs. Marian Ilitch, are behind plans to advance several Indian casinos across the country. Alcalde represents one of their Native American partners as well, the Shinnecock Indian Nation of New York.

Like Aronoff, Malik and the Ilitch family have contributed and raised thousands for Rep. Young's committees and flown him around in their private aircraft; and in return, Young has helped advance plans they back for an Indian casino in Port Huron, Michigan.

And there's another Major League Baseball (MLB) connection too. Marian's husband, Mike Ilitch, owns the Detroit Tigers.

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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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