Thursday, December 18, 2008

Did principals at Goddard Clausen political firm help syndicate AtMashpee LLC too?

The Washington D.C.-based chairman of the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC), Ben Goddard, and his Sacramento-based business partner, Rick Clausen, were among 100+ investors who helped Herb Strather originally syndicate Detroit-based Atwater Entertainment Associates LLC (AEA). It has been reported by Crain's Detroit that AEA investors made up 75% (150 investors) of those who also helped Strather syndicate AtMashpee LLC, another casino investment opportunity. Note that the name "AtMashpee" reflects such a marriage between Atwater and the Mashpee Wampanoag.

A complaint filed by Department of Justice (DOJ) officials in U.S. District Court this week indicates Strather (AtMashpee LLC) dumped $4 million into a hidden account which enabled former Mashpee Wampanoag tribal chairman Glenn A. Marshall to engage in various fraudulent activities including a scheme that used convicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and others to funnel political contributions to key Members of Congress; all this was associated with efforts to win Federal Recognition of the tribe so they could build a Cape Cod casino that would reward Strather (AtMashpee) with 6-6.5% of annual gaming revenues over 20 years -- a jackpot valued by some at $1.2 billion.

Marshall agreed to plea guilty of all charges and will cooperate with ongoing DOJ investigations. His attorney, Robert Craven, told the Boston Globe, "Glenn didn't dream up the scheme himself. He was getting bad advice."

A Web site set up to inform AEA investors about possible class action claims lists Benjamin Goddard and Richard C. Clausen as investors. The pair are partners in the well-known political/PR firm Goddard Clausen.

Strather formed AEA originally to raise the capital needed to bankroll a 1996 campaign legalizing gambling in Detroit. Subsquently, AEA joined a partnership that included Las Vegas-based Circus Circus (Mandalay Resort Group) and established Detroit's MotorCity Casino.

How did Goddard and Clausen end up investing in Atwater Entertainment Associates? Did Goddard and Clausen also help Strather syndicate AtMashpee LLC too? And in doing so bankroll the tribal chairman's illegal activity? Were they also among those Marshall's attorney says gave him bad advice and political counsel?

The Goddard Clausen firm rose to prominence during the 1990s after Blue Cross paid the firm $2 million to develop the landmark "Harry & Louise" ad campaign, credited with killing President Bill Clinton's plan for universal health care. Goddard is a founder of the CATO Institute and a regular columnist for The Hill, a Washington D.C. news publication read by Capitol Hill insiders. In recent years, Goddard Clausen was a division of the international PR firm Porter Novelli (See Goddard Profile: Washington Post)

1 comment:

Carl Peirce said...

Thank you continually going DEEP into the subject of this, dare I say, corrupt ventures. We in the Middleborough MA area appreciate the insight and valuable information.

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