Friday, June 06, 2008

Michigan Indian Casinos at center of liquor dispute



Patrick Devlin, a lawyer and employee of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, has sued Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox in an effort to force him to require the state's 19 tribal casinos to obtain liquor licenses.

Devlin, a former assistant attorney general, said that while American Indian tribes generally do not have to comply with state laws, he believes they must follow state liquor laws, which require establishments that sell liquor to be licensed and regulated by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

Devlin, who until Monday monitored tribal casinos for the gaming control board, has pressed state officials for four years to address his concerns that Michigan should be regulating liquor sales in the tribal casinos.
Devlin, who is now a regulation officer assigned to Detroit's three casinos, filed his suit Tuesday in Ingham County Circuit Court.

Rusty Hills, a spokesman for Cox, said Wednesday the agreements that allow tribal casinos to operate in Michigan are negotiated by the tribes and the governor's office.

"If Mr. Devlin has a beef, he should bring it to the attention of the governor's office," Hills said. "And he's not only an attorney but a former employee of the AG's office; he should know better."

Devlin said it is important that the casinos are regulated like other establishments in Michigan that sell liquor to protect against drinking by minors or the visibly intoxicated. Kathryn Tierney, attorney for the Bay Mills Indian Community, which operates two Upper Peninsula casinos, said the tribes have been regulating their casino liquor sales themselves for years.

"The tribe's law has a minimum age, 21, and prohibits serving visibility intoxicated people," Tierney said. "This is not a vacuum which only state law can fill."

"While the attorney general has zero tolerance for all kinds of conduct, he apparently has unlimited tolerance for tribal casino violations. He just gives them a free pass," Devlin said.

Contact JENNIFER DIXON at 313-223-4410 or

Herb Strather: Comprehensive Biography

My goal is to see a thriving comeback in Detroit before I die; then I can say that I fought the good fight
- Herbert J. Strather

Born and raised in the City of Detroit, Herbert J. Strather is the Chairman of Strather and Associates (, a real estate development and investment firm located in Detroit. Established by Strather in 1975, Strather & Associates is responsible for more than $2 billion in real estate transactions and is a multi-level conglomerate consisting of real estate acquisitions, investment, development, and property management.

Key events in the history of Detroit's Greektown Casino

as published 5.31.08 in the Detroit Free Press:

Nov. 10, 2000: Greektown Casino opens its temporary casino, the last of three to start up in Detroit. Its revenues have consistently fallen behind those of MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity.

June 26, 2002: It announces plans for a $450-million permanent casino-hotel complex at I-375 and Gratiot Avenue, with a 1,500-seat theater, at least four restaurants and a 400-room hotel.

Sept. 12, 2005: Greektown scales back expansion, abandoning plans to build a permanent casino at Gratiot and I-375. It says it will stay in its temporary location, where it also plans a 400-room hotel and a parking structure.

June 2006: Work starts on parking structure and hotel.

Oct. 2, 2007: MGM Grand Detroit becomes the first of the three to open a permanent casino. MotorCity later is the next.

Dec. 31, 2007: Greektown fails to meet state-mandated revenue projections.

May 6: In response to Greektown's need for money, Entertainment Interests Group LLC says it will buy a stake in the Detroit casino for $100 million.

May 30: Greektown files for bankruptcy protection. Michigan off-reservation casino bills set for House vote

as posted 06.06.08 at

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) will schedule a floor vote this month on bills that authorize off-reservation casinos for two Michigan tribes, according to The Journal Newspapers.

H.R. 2176 and H.R. 4115 settle land claims for the Bay Mills Indian Community and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, respectively. The tribes will acquire new land, away from their existing reservations, and open casinos.

The bills have drawn opposition among members of Congress from the Detroit area. The three commercial casinos in Detroit -- of which the Sault Tribe owns one -- say the off-reservation casinos will hurt business.

Get the Story: Mayor: Casino vote to come (The Journal Newspapers 6/5)

Marian Ilitch's casino development partner Michael J. Malik, Sr., is behind the Bay Mills Indian Community's plans to build a casino on the site of the Thomas Edison Inn in Port Huron, Michigan. Ilitch and Malik have been behind plans for a Bay Mills Indian Community off-reservation casino since the mid-1990s.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Dennis Whittlesey on a Port Huron Casino

excerpted from a Port Huron Times Herald article originally published 9.25.02:

...Joining the fray

Dennis Whittlesey, a gaming expert and Washington, D.C., lawyer, was convinced a bill allowing the Bay Mills Indian Community to build a casino in Port Huron would move smoothly through Congress -- until he heard Detroit officials plan to fight it.

"If Detroit wants to get in the fray, they can be very effective in Washington," Whittlesey said.

Dennis Whitlesey been involved in advancing various casino proposals put forth by Michael J. Malik, Sr., and Marian Ilitch. He was also involved in advancing plans by Herb Strather to build an Indian casino in Massachusetts. Malik, Ilitch and Strather were founding partners in Detroit's MotorCity Casino.

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Google News: Indian Gaming

NEWS: Bay Mills Indian Community & Casino Proposals

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NY Times: Shinnecock Indian Nation

NEWS: Los Coyotes Indian Tribe

NEWS: Los Coyotes / Barwest Barstow Casino Proposals

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NEWS: Marian Ilitch Mapping Social Networks

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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

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