Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cullen Miller Vigliotti launch Web site for HuronCrest Estates

One year ago, (TVT) reported that Detroit area businessmen Matt Cullen, John T. Miller and R. Thomas Vigliotti had purchased property about 30-minutes north of Port Huron, Michigan in the Town of Plympton-Wyoming, Ontario, Canada. Cullen, Miller & Vigliotti won approval in 2007 to subdivide the property into at least 64 estate lots within an exclusive lake front enclave to be known as "HuronCrest Estates."

The estate project now has a Web site,, and the owner group is now identified as CMV (Cullen Miller Vigliotti). The Web site designates the representative of owner CMV is Kurt Katnik, (313) 701-7303, reveals detailed site maps which designate the main road through the subdivision as "Cullen Drive."

There are videos documenting the progress of infrastructure construction and of the beachfront views of Lake Huron. This site indicates udates will be made weekly so owners can stay up with progress on their future home sites.

Construction on the roads and other infrastructure for HuronCrest Estates started on April 14, 2008. Van Bree Drainage and Bulldozing is reported to have 2 crews working on site full time and has indicated a construction schedule of 80 working days if weather permits. A construction timeline appears on the Web site.

Sarnia ReMax broker Linda Miller's Web site lists one 2-acre lot over looking Lake Huron at $249,500.

Matthew P.Cullen was formerly General Manager of the Economic Development and Enterprise Services Group for General Motors Corp. He's married to Karen Cullen, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Ilitch Holdings, Inc.

Port Huron is the proposed site of a Bay Mills Indian Casino, the modified Blue Water International Bridge Crossing and possibly other ventures aimed at turning around the economy of the border community.

Backers of a Port Huron Casino including Michael J. Malik, Marian & Mike Ilitch, Cullen, Vigliotti and others were among those who helped raise close to $100,000 for Michigan Sen. Carl Levin on March 30, 2007; a fundraising activity reportedly aimed at attempting to win Levin’s support of the Port Huron casino plan and possibly other things.

You may also want to review this post:

Cullen, Miller & Vigliotti are partners in a Canadian residential real estate venture

While undertaking various research projects TVT has come to recognize three Detroit area Caballeros whose business ventures and civic/social activities often overlap; and now it appears the three are partners in a real estate deal over the border in the Town of Plympton-Wyoming, Ontario, Canada.

  • Matthew P. Cullen, general manager of the Economic Development and Enterprise Services Group for General Motors Corp.; and one of Detroit's most connected people;

  • John Charles Miller, president of J.C. Miller Construction, Inc.; and

  • R. Thomas Vigliotti of Ralph Vigliotti Real Estate;

According to public meeting records, Matt Cullen, John Miller and Tom Vigliotti apparently have plans to develop an exclusive residential enclave -- “Huroncrest Estates” -- inclusive of 64 estate lots near the Lake Huron shoreline about half an hour over the border just north of Port Huron, Michigan.

Port Huron is the proposed site of a Bay Mills Indian Casino, the modified Blue Water International Bridge Crossing and possibly other ventures aimed at turning around the economy of the border community. Backers of a Port Huron Casino including Michael J. Malik, Marian & Mike Ilitch, Cullen, Vigliotti and others are among those who helped raise close to $100,000 for Michigan Sen. Carl Levin on March 30, 2007; a fundraising activity reportedly aimed at attempting to win Levin’s support of the Port Huron casino plan and possibly other things.

TVT has reviewed documents that indicate back in October 2003 the three Caballeros purchased the Canadian land parcels in the town of Plympton-Wyoming likely for $1.5 million with a mortgage on the property financed by The Private Bank.

The mortgage finance documents show an address for the borrowers at 19550 Harper Ave., Harper Woods, MI 48225 which is an address associated with these following other enterprises several of which are known partnerships involving Miller and Vigliotti, with nearly all of them listing Miller as their resident agent:

However, the transfer deed of land and the land transfer tax affidavit documents indicate the address for the property owners at 742 Shelden Rd., Grosse Pointe Shores, MI 48236-1511; the residence of Matt and Karen A. Cullen. Karen Cullen is vice president Corporate Communications at Ilitch Holdings, Inc.

Public Meeting Records referencing the Cullen/Miller/Vigliotti Canadian Properties:

Originally posted 07.17.07

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Controversy impacts revenues at D.C. lobbying firm Kessler & Associates

Revenues at Kessler & Associates averaged $1,939,100 a year over the past five years. From 2002-2005, partners and affiliates of Detroit gambling promoters Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik discreetly paid Kessler & Associates $665,000 via another lobbyist, former Rep. Alan Wheat.

Affiliates of the Detroit pair have a history of retaining controversial DC lobbyists who end up at the center of corruption investigations (Barbara Bonfiglio/Williams & Jensen; Kessler & Associates; Richard Alcalde/Potomac Partners DC).

Kessler & Associates president Richard Kessler and other associated with the firm (Billy Lee Evans, Shane Young, Frank Polk, Linda Jenckes and Scott A. Spear) have been at the center of various lobbying controversies in recent years -- particularly questionable practices involving the non-profit Ripon Society.

At mid-year 2008, revenues at Kessler & Associates are just $180,000 (less than 10 percent of the previous five year average). And from 2006 – 2007, Wheat’s funneled just $40,000 to Kessler.

At the height of popularity, Kessler boasted 17 clients but now the firm is registered to represent eight clients; two of which have paid the firm nothing in 2008. Among those that have dropped Kessler & Associates: Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

link: Kessler & Associates Marketing Materials

You may also want to review the following post:

Bio: D.C. Lobbyist Richard Kessler

excerpted from Kessler & Associates marketing materials, page 11

Mr. Richard S. Kessler
President, Kessler & Associates

Richard S. Kessler is the founding president of Kessler & Associates, Inc. With more than 20 years of government relations and political experience, Mr. Kessler brings an in-depth knowledge of several issue areas to the firm including foreign and Federal tax legislation, international trade, financial services, telecommunications, transportation, patent and intellectual property legislation, food, alcohol, healthcare and campaign finance.

Since Mr. Kessler founded the firm in 1987, Kessler & Associates has grown to become one of the leading government relations firms in Washington. Mr. Kessler currently represents or has previously represented many multinational and national corporations based around the globe as well as various foreign governments. Mr. Kessler has negotiated international tariff and trade agreements on behalf of Kessler & Associates’ clients involving China, Canada, NAFTA (International Tariff Harmonized Code), and the USTR.

Mr. Kessler began his career in politics in 1978 working for the Senate Labor Committee. In 1979, Mr. Kessler joined the John Anderson for President campaign. Mr. Kessler was quickly promoted to the position of National Finance Director where he designed and managed the campaign finance strategy of the campaign in addition to managing the statewide efforts of the Anderson campaign in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont where Mr. Anderson enjoyed his largest margins.

In late 1980, Mr. Kessler became instrumental in coordinating the finances and attendance for the official events surrounding the presidential inauguration of Ronald Reagan. Following his brief time with the Reagan Inaugural Committee, Mr. Kessler accepted the position of Executive Director of the Ripon Society – a national Republican public policy group – where he revitalized and rejuvenated the organization. In this position, Mr. Kessler oversaw the development of the Congressional Advisory Board, the non-partisan Ripon Educational Fund TransAtlantic Conference (which has turned into a prominent annual policy forum between European and U. S. government officials), the Congressional Liaison Board, the annual Rough Rider Awards Dinner and publication of the Ripon Forum (the Society’s quarterly policy magazine) all of which have made the Ripon Society a “player” in the international public policy arena. In early 2004, Mr. Kessler was invited to follow the Honorable Bill Frenzel and serve as the President of the Ripon Society.

From 1982 until 1984, Mr. Kessler lobbied for Jack McDonald Associates specializing in trade and tax issues. In his capacity here, Mr. Kessler joined in successfully defeating the “domestic content” legislation – an ill-advised effort to legislate the manufacturing origin of makeup of automobiles.

After briefly serving as a senior staffer on the Senate Education and Labor Committee in 1985, Mr. Kessler joined the Odell Roper firm as Director of Special Projects. Mr. Kessler was a fundraiser here, assisting the Vice President and the Republican National Committee in various capacities on the campaign finance team.

Under the leadership of the late Senator John Tower, Mr. Kessler managed one of the most financially successful campaigns of the time in raising financial support for the American Air Museum in Great Britain.

Mr. Kessler has served as a congressional liaison or senior donor program coordinator for four national political conventions and was instrumental in the development of The Jimmy Huega Center’s program, among others, which specialized in matching professional athletes with charitable concerns to raise funds. Mr. Kessler has volunteered his skills as a senior financial advisor to multiple disadvantaged or handicapped children’s organizations. In addition, he has served on dozens of steering or fundraising committees for local, state and federal Republican candidates across the country.

Married to the former Daphne Cochran of Kentucky, Mr. Kessler and his wife are the parents of two children, Samantha and Ryan. The Kessler Family resides in Great Falls, Virginia.

You may also want to review the following post:

Bio: Former Rep. Billy Lee Evans

excerpted from Kessler & Associates marketing materials, page 12

The Honorable Billy Lee Evans
Partner, Kessler & Associates

The Honorable Billy Lee Evans serves in an Of Counsel position for Kessler & Associates concentrating most of his efforts on banking, trade and tax issues. A native of Georgia, Mr. Evans served six years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Georgia’s Eighth District. He had previously represented Macon for eight years in the Georgia House of Representatives both as a Republican and as a Democrat.

Prior to his service in Congress, Evans headed his own law firm and was highly successful as a trial attorney. The skills and values that he acquired helped him to appreciate the problems of small businesses faced with governmental red tape and made him a skillful advocator for the private sector.

In Congress, Evans served on the Judiciary, Public Works and Transportation, Small Business, and Narcotics Abuse and Control Committees. Evans was a leader in bankruptcy reform, improved tools for law enforcement, and stiffened penalties for criminals. He was recognized for his efforts on behalf of farmers and businessmen, and received numerous awards for his efforts to curtail wasteful government spending.

While in Congress, Evans was a co-founder of the conservative Democratic Forum, which was instrumental in the successes of the Reagan Legislative Agenda in 1981 and 1982. A fiscal conservative, Evans served on the executive committee of the Democrats for the Re-election of Reagan-Bush in 1984.

Since leaving Congress in 1983, Evans has maintained his association with a majority of the Representatives and Senators on both sides of the aisle and now enjoys having some of his closest friends chairing major committees. Because of his concern for the best interest of the Member, Evans is trusted and respected by the Members and is always able to secure a fair consideration of his clients’ point of view.

Although concentrating on the Banking, Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce Committees; Evans, nevertheless, is equally adroit at handling matters before all other House and Senate committees. An astute legislative tactician, Evans believes that his clients are usually best served by a well-reasoned, low-key approach in disseminating his clients’ message to the appropriate Members and their staff.

You may also want to review these posts:

Web site of D.C. Lobbyists Kessler & Associates disappears

The Web site for D.C. lobbying firm Kessler & Associates (screenshot pictured below) is no longer available "live" on the Web -- but a cache version is available. And in "taking down" the Web site they failed to remove a .pdf file of Kessler & Associates marketing materials which remains accessible on the Web.

click to see a larger screenshot

Following allegations and calls for investigations involving Richard Kessler (Rick Kessler/Ripon Society/Ripon Education Fund), former Rep. Billy Lee Evans (one of Rep. Don Young's nine "A-Team" lobbyists), and others tied to the lobbying firm, the Web site was "taken down."

Among allegations, a group of Detroit gambling interests including Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik (and their partners/affiliates) quietly funneled $665,000 to Kessler & Associates to lobby Rep. Don Young and others on gambling matters from 2003-2005. The payments were funneled via another lobbyist, former Rep. Alan Wheat (Wheat Government Relations).

Ilitch partner fronted more than $50,000 in travel, etc. for key Members of Congress

During the 2006 election cycle Michael Malik and his affiliates (Barwest LLC and MJM Manistee, Inc.) fronted more than $52,668 in travel, catering, gifts & entertainment for Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Reps. Don Young (R-AK), Richard Pombo (R-CA) and Bart Stupack (D-MI). And that's what got reported!

More than 78 percent of those dollars went to pay for the expenses of Young and Pombo.

During the '04 & '06 election cycles, members of the Ilitch family and Malik also contributed more than $510,00 to these elected officials and other federal political committees. They were among top donors to Stabenow, Pombo and Young.

Each of these Members of Congress sponsored key bills granting approvals for Malik (and his partner Marian Ilitch) to build off-reservation Indian casinos.

Date (linked: – RecipientDonorAmountDescription
2005.01.25 – Don Young - Barwest LLC - $5,817 – Air travel expense

2005.07.11 – RICH PAC - Malik, Michael Sr. - $5,000 – Inkind

2005.07.11 - America’s Leadership PAC (Stabenow) - Malik, Michael - $4,000 - Reimbursement - Event Tickets

2005.07.12 – America’s Leadership PAC (Stabenow) - MJM Manistee, Inc. - $1,400 -Catering

2005.07.12 - America’s Leadership PAC (Stabenow) - Malik, Michael - $5,000 - Event Tickets & Site Rental

2005.07.15 - America’s Leadership PAC (Stabenow) - Malik, Michael - $500 - Reimbursement - Gifts for Donors

2005.09.14 – RICH PAC - Malik, Michael Sr. - $16,064 - PAC fundraiser-event rental/transportation

2005.09.14 – RICH PAC - MJM Manistee, Inc. - $10,469 PAC fundraiser-catering/hotel 09/14/05

2005.10.07 – Don Young - Malik, Michael - $3,978 – Air travel

2006.10.16 – Bart Stupak - MJM Manistee Inc. - $440 – Tailgate Event

Don Young's Top Ten Donors

2006 “A-Team” Donors

Don Young (R-AK)





JHT Holdings (Troha family & assoc)


Carnival Corp


Ilitch Holdings (including Malik)


Blank Rome LLP


Wal-Mart Stores


Lockheed Martin


American Council of Engineering Cos


Pine Bluff Sand & Gravel


Air Line Pilots Assn


Michigan Indian tribe eyes second casino


Indian tribe plans for 2nd western Michigan casino
An American Indian tribe plans to open its second western Michigan casino at a closed thoroughbred horse racing track in the Muskegon area.

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians said Wednesday it's buying Great Lakes Downs in Muskegon County's Fruitport Township. The tribe's Little River Casino Resort is near Manistee.

Canada's Magna Entertainment closed the track last fall, saying it lost money there for years.

Tribal Chief Larry Romanelli, a Muskegon businessman, tells The Muskegon Chronicle the casino planned for the track site would bring jobs, businesses and tourism to the area.

Township Supervisor Ronald Cooper tells WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids it's too early to know how the township board will react.

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians:

NOTE: Detroit-based gambling men Michael J. Malik, Sr. (aka Mike Malik) (MJM Manistee) and Tom Celani (Manistee Gaming) were behind the original Little River Casino Resort in Manistee. It's also been reported that Mrs. Marian Ilitch -- she now owns Detroit's MotorCity Casino -- was also a financial backer of the original Little River Casino. While Celani continued to manage the Little River Casino until 2004, documents filed with the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) indicate Mike Malik was removed from the management contract by at least 2002.

Monday, July 14, 2008

D.C. Lobbyist Alcalde made $25k in contributions using four different employers

D.C. lobbyist Richard Alcalde (Rick Alcalde) formed his lobbying firm Potomac Partners D.C. in the Spring 2005. However, according to, since then he's contributed more than $25,000 to federal campaigns and PACs which list his employer/occupation as:
  • Alcalde & Fay/owner or attorney
  • Federalist Group/attorney or owner or partner or associate
  • Hall Green Rupli LLC/lobbyist
  • Potomac Partners DC/executive or president or partner or attorney or consultant or government affairs

Alcalde has been identified as one of Rep. Don Young's "A-Team" lobbyists. Alcalde is at the center of a Justice Department investigation surrounding Young's 2005 $10 million Coconut Road earmark. Alcalde had two clients involved in the circumstances surround the earmark: Michigan developer Daniel J. Aronoff (Landon Companies) and Florida Gulf Coast University.

Dan Feliz: further background on D.C. lobbyist employed at Potomac Partners D.C.

The following provides additional insight into the background of D.C. lobbyist Dan Feliz (Daniel Feliz), employed by Potomac Partners D.C., a firm owned by lobbyist Rick Alcalde (Richard Alcalde).

From an essay written by Feliz and linked to the Web site of the United States Naval Academy's English Department:

What An English Major Has Done For Me
By LT D.X. Feliz, USN

...My education in the Navy for me did become a way of life. In was through books and lively classroom discussion that I learned how to learn, how to listen, and how to express myself. These finer touches of communication opened incredible opportunities for me at the Naval Academy and beyond its walls. Because I was an English major I was able to pursue a graduate degree at Harvard University after graduation. Because I was an English major I was selected for a Congressional internship in Washington D.C. Because I was an English major I served as the ship’s public affairs officer and helped the USS Maine earn the Admiral Thompson award for excellence in public affairs. And the best opportunity my major has afforded me is the chance to return to the Naval Academy to share my love of literature with future naval officers.

Hopefully I can pay forward these opportunities to my students and fellow English majors.

Daniel Feliz
Submarine Officer
USNA Class of 1997
M.P.P., Harvard University '99

NOTE: Daniel X. Feliz may have been an intern for Rep. John T. Doolittle. He may have been nominated to attend the USNA, Annapolis, by Rep. Doolittle. His father John Feliz is a long-time political operative for Doolittle and managed Doolittle's first campaign for public office. Daniel Feliz first registered as a D.C. lobbyist in 2005 and made a contribution 9.30.06 to Doolittle's campaign which falsely recorded Feliz's occupation as "retired."

Revenues at Ilitch-owned MotorCity Casino take a significant dive

According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board, revenues reported by MotorCity Casino for June were $38,097,328.05. That represents a 10 percent drop over June 2007.

June 2008 revenues represent the lowest monthly revenues reported by MotorCity Casino in 2008. What's more, since May 2007, only October 2007 revenues at $37,709,923.79 were lower than revenues the casino reported for June 2008.

MotorCity Casino is a d/b/a for Detroit Entertainment LLC. The parent of Detroit Entertainment LLC is CCM Merger, Inc. The enterprises are owned by Mrs. Marian Ilitch. Among other business enterprises, she and her husband Mike Ilitch own the Detroit Red Wings and are co-founders of Little Ceasars Pizza. He owns the Detroit Tigers.

Ilitch acquired 100% ownership of Detroit Entertainment LLC (MotorCity Casino) in 2005. Since then both Moody's and Standard & Poors have put the enterprises on negative credit watch and have downgraded the credit ratings of the Ilitch-owned enterprises.

2007 Revenues as reported to MGCB
2008 Revenues as reported to MGCB

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

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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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