Saturday, March 08, 2008

Tom Celani backs off bid to acquire 22% of Greektown Casino


Celani decides not to invest in Greektown Casino

By Robert Ankeny

Tom Celani, owner of MotorCity Harley Davidson and MotorCity Power Sports, has dropped plans to acquire a stake in Greektown Casino L.L.C.

Under a plan announced in January, Celani was to become president of casino operations and buy a 22 percent stake in the company from the majority owner, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

“The tribe has time sensitive issues, and we needed more time for due diligence,” said Celani, a former investor in MotorCity Casino, “so they’re exploring other possible investors. It’s a great project and we’re still interested.”

Celani’s plan to buy into Greektown was aimed at improving the casino’s management and bolstering its finances, Tom Miller, chair of the Greektown management board, said at the time.

Celani’s involvement with the casino industry goes back more than a dozen years and includes management roles with start-up Indian casinos in Michigan and other states through his companies called Luna Gaming and Luna Entertainment.

“We could not reach an agreement on terms,” said Roger Martin, a principal in Lansing-based Martin Waymire Advocacy Communications who is a spokesman for Greektown.

Ted Gatzaros, one of the founders of Greektown who sold his stake in 2000, is believed to be one of those talking about more investment. He is still owed $60 million from the casino, was recently licensed and acquired a 1 percent stake in the casi

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