Friday, July 25, 2008

Amended D.C. lobbying reports show payments were made by Detroit casino syndicators

Now that the House of Representatives has rejected the Bay Mills Indian Community's plans for a Port Huron casino, D.C. lobbying firm Akerman Senterfitt has filed an amended lobbying registration form revealing that bills for its client Bay Mills Indian Community are being paid Blue Water Resorts, an enterprise controlled by Detroit casino syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr.

Another firm, Potomac Partners DC (lobbyists Richard Alcalde and Daniel Feliz) filed a similar amendment in April indicating Blue Water Resorts was paying the lobbying bills for Potomac Partners DC's client MJM Enterprises, also an entity controlled by Malik.

Blue Water Resorts was formed by Malik in 2001. Malik's business partner includes Mrs. Marian Ilitch, owner of Detroit's MotorCity Casino, Detroit Red Wings and Little Caesars Pizza.

McClintock media advisor also represents American Plastics Council, Wal-Mart

Bill Criswell, president of San Francisco-based Criswell Associates, is senior political advertising operative for conservative congressional candidate Tom McClintock, GOP nominee to succeed scandal plagued Rep. John T. Doolittle. McClintock moved 350 miles away to Northern California in order to run for th seat.

Criswell's clients include the American Plastics Council and Wal-Mart.

McClintock's congressional campaign has paid "Marketing Communications Svcs., Inc.," more than $130,000. The California Secretary of State does not show any corporation by that name registered in California but the entity has the same address -- 58 Maiden Ln., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA -- as Criswell & Associates.

McClintock paid more than $130k to firm that's not a registered corporation

Congressional candidate Tom McClintock (CA-4th CD) has paid more than $130,000 to an entity reported as Marketing Communications Svc., Inc.

No such entity is entity is registered with the California Secretary of State.

The McClintock disclosures indicate Marketing Communications Svc., Inc., is located at 58 Maiden Ln., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94108.

That's the same address of a firm Criswell Associates owned by Bill Criswell who has handled advertising and paid media for McClintock's previous campaigns. TVT can find no records on file with the CA Secretary of State for Criswell Associates either.

Bill Criswell is a member of the Association of American Political Consultants (AAPC). And is apparently behind a Wal-Mart recycling program. His clients also include the American Plastics Council.

McClintock campaign manager involved with Indian casino

Tom McClintock is the GOP nominee to replace scandal-plagued Rep. John T. Doolittle in California's 4th Congressional District. McClintock's campaign manager John Feliz was involved in talks to have Detroit casino syndicators Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik relocate an Indian casino for the Big Lagoon Rancheria (Humboldt County, CA) 350-miles south to the Mojave Desert community of Barstow, CA.

TVT has obtained the "sign-in" sheet from a secret meeting that was attended by Feliz, attorneys at Patton Boggs and Akin Gump (including former Interior Department official Michale Rossetti) and others who promoted the scheme. At the time, Feliz was involved in raising money for then-Rep. Richard Pombo who was at the time, chair of the House Natural Resourcecs Committee.

Feliz is a longtime pal and political operative for Doolittle and former Rep. Richard Pombo. Feliz's son, Daniel Feliz (Potomac Partners DC) is now a Capitol Hill lobbyist for the Detroit casino syndicators (MJM Enterprises and Blue Water Resorts).

McClintock paid almost $11k to Pombo-affiliated firm; and owes another $25k

According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records, congressional candidate (CA-4th) Tom McClintock paid nearly $11K for "campaign advice" to Pac/West Communications, the one-time employer of former Rep. Richard Pombo and his top aide Steve Ding.

Although Pombo/Ding no longer appear on the Pac/West website as excutives/employees, there may still be some otherwse undisclosed association with the pair (e.g. consultants). Pombo is ALWAYS trying to cover his tracks after all, and the odd amount of the expense listed in FEC disclosures as $10,964 is curious.

Other filings by the McClintock campaign suggest he owes the Pombo-affiliated firm Pac/West Communications another $25,050.10

A complaint has been made with the FEC suggesting Pombo/Ding are illegally coordinating campaign activities with McClintock's operation. Pombo and Ding are behind an advocacy group, The Parternship for America, which the complaint says is coordinating political activity with Tom McClintock's campaign committee. Pombo's been national chair of Partnership for America since May 2007.

McClatchy recently reported that Pombo’s group is organizing a $660,000 independent campaign in the 4th congressional district.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

BNSF retiree helps railroad secure funding as Mayor of Barstow

from the BNSF's Barstow LMIT employee newsletter, December 2002

Lenwood Road grade separation study coming

Despite state budget shortfalls, funds remain intact to conduct a grade separation study of the BNSF tracks at Lenwood Road. Barstow Mayor Lawrence Dale, retired director LMIT, said the city’s portion of the study will be $50,000.

Preliminary work began with review of access needs for nearby businesses and residents. The study will reveal whether an overpass or an underpass will be most efficient for traffic flow. Dale said he was pleased the project moved ahead even when many similar studies in Southern California were eliminated due to budget constraints.

Completion of the study will occur sometime next year, Dale said.

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Barstow's Mayor & his aide artificially inflate real estate values to benefit pals

In late 2000, Lawrence Dale defeated Barstow's incumbent Mayor Katy Yslas-Yent. Dale had never ran for political office but was a very loyal retiree of BNSF Railroad and a candidate of the local good ol' boys -- the Barstow area's establishment ... businessmen who've controlled things in Barstow for years and who meet every morning in Leonard Purdy's auto garage at Barstow Tire & Break.

In 2001, Dale immediately hired Ron Rector as Economic Development Director for the City of Barstow. Rector was previously executive director of a failed Hi-Desert economic development consortium.

While the turn over at Barstow City Hall has been unusually high since Dale's been Mayor; Ron Rector, despite his failure to make any measureable progress in Barstow's economic development the last seven years, has remained on the payroll.

Since 2001, Dale & Rector have used their positions to manufacture circumstances that articially inflate property values to the advantage of the local land speculators, some of whom are among the contingent of those who meet each morning for coffee and Purdy's garage.

In particular, Dale & Rector have unfairly helped their friends obtain land in tax foreclosure and bankruptcy for pennies on the dollar -- land their friends flipped to wealthy investors from outside the area for thousands more than they paid.

They've promoted public works projects that require state agencies to acquire land at inflated prices owned by their pals.

Frequently involved in their schemes are real estate broker Joseph W. Brady and real estate syndicator Quang Pham (or Pham Quang). Also involved are Santa Clarita-based intimates of Rep. Buck McKeon including Hunt Braly.

Since 2003, Dale & Rector have used the city's PR machine to suggest that Barstow would be home to a casino resort and a large Wal-Mart distribution center, plus large-scale residential real esate developments among other things -- but nothing ever materializes.

These projects have yet to be built, let alone break ground -- and in fact, the casino project has been turned down multiple times in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. There has been no official word from the Wal-Mart corporation on the future of the 1 million square feet distribution center.

But the Mayor's continued promotion of these two projects has grossly inflated land values in and around Barstow to the benefit of the Mayor's friends. And among others, the business partners and family members of Barstow City Councilman Steve Curran have benefited financially from artificially inflated real estate sales prices.

In 2006, an entity known as Barstow Industrial Park LLC acquired land from Overland Lenwood LTD near the proposed Wal-Mart facility and took out a $22.5 million mortgage to do so. The same property had a previous assessed value of just $2.8 million. Property in Barstow generally ranges from $5,000 - $25,000 and acre.

In 2004, Quang Pham (or Pham Quang), with the City's help, obtained land through tax sale for pennies on the dollar and then one year later sold it to Irvine-based National Trails Properties LLC for nearly $7.3 million. The property's assessed value is only $1.2 million.

And Dale has served as lobbyists for BNSF. Dale's made frequent trips to BNSF headquarters in Kansas & Texas but never reported any gifts or travel paid for by BNSF; and Dale's used his official capacity and title as Mayor lobbying on Capitol Hill for BNSF's benefit. It's not clear if the Barstow City Council ever officially gave Dale the authority to lobby on BNSF's behalf.

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Advertorial: Barstow's Economic Development Schemes

The following is advertorial paid for by Barstow Economic Development Department and published in September 2007.

The City of Barstow: the Crossroads of Opportunity

Location is everything when it comes to goods movement, and Barstow is one of the premier transportation centers in the U.S. With Interstates and other highways all converging in the city, the area has become a natural location for the trucking industry. Barstow is also home to the largest rail yard west of Kansas City. The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are about 150 miles from the city, and freight arriving at the ports is quickly off-loaded and sent via rail along the Alameda Corridor to Barstow for efficient distribution to the western United States.

Since the 2005 announcement that Wal-Mart was planning to build a distribution center in Barstow Industrial Park, the 2006 decision to include the park in the Barstow Enterprise Zone, and the announcement of a rail spur coming in early 2008, the city has seen increasing interest from developers and corporations.

Formerly an agricultural site, the 1,200-acre Barstow Industrial Park is flat, has no known environmental issues, and all utilities are currently extended to the site. With its strategic access to major highways, airports, railways, and deep-water ports, the Barstow Industrial Park is an ideal site for manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution activities.

Because the park is located within the Barstow Enterprise Zone, park tenants have access to special incentives designed to encourage business investment and promote the creation of new jobs through tax incentives. Other state incentives for businesses locating in the Barstow Industrial Park include the Barstow Recycling Market Development Zone, Foreign-Trade Sub-Zone #243, and employment training assistance.

The Barstow area also offers an abundant labor force of approximately 120,000 workers [NOTE: the population of Barstow is only 23,000]. Nearby community colleges and universities provide specialized training opportunities for workers. Currently, 60,000 Barstow area residents commute daily to jobs outside the area. This qualified workforce is available at wages 10% to 20% below the prevailing wages in most of Southern California.

Valmont Newmark International cited Barstow’s numerous strategic advantages and its business-friendly attitude as the reason it selected the Barstow Industrial Park as the location to build its 84,000-square-foot manufacturing facility for spun pre-stressed concrete poles.
Barstow currently has an abundance of low-cost, available land.

To find out how you can join the building excitement at the “Crossroads of Opportunity,” contact Ron Rector, economic development director for the city of Barstow at: 760-255-5106 or

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Barstow Industrial Park LLC acquires property with a $22,500,000 mortgage

According to records available from various San Bernardino County agencies, on 12.18.06 an entity known as Barstow Industrial Park LLC acquired from another entity, Overland Lenwood LTD, approximately 26 parcels of land (see: parcel map) within the 1,200-acre Barstow Industrial Park (adjacent to the BNSF railroad tracks and within one mile of a public works project financed in part by federal earmarks and known as the "Lenwood Road Grade Separation").

Records indicate there is a $22,500,000 mortgage with Guaranty Bank FSB on the properties. Overland Lenwood LTD made a killing on the sale of the property.

According to records available on the San Bernardino County Property Information Management System the 26 properties had a previous total assessed value of $2,841, 914 in 2006 when they were owned by Overland Lenwood LTD but after they were sold to Barstow Industrial Park LLC the properties were assessed at a total value of $15,060,000 -- a 530% increase in assessed value after the property changed hands. Although the City of Barstow's web site indicates land in the Barstow Industrial Park is zoned M-1 Light Industrial, San Bernardino County's Property Information Management System indicates much of the property is "agricultural" which tends to carry a lower valuation.
  • Barstow Industrial Park LLC is a Delaware corporation with an address at 515 SOUTH FIGUEROA ST, STE 1600, Los Angeles, CA 90071. The entity's California agent is noted as Murad M. Siam. The entity registered in California on 10.16.06.

  • Overland Lenwood LTD is a California Limited Partnership with a one-time address at 147 EAST OLIVE AVE. , MONROVIA, CA 91016. The entitiy's agent was noted as Andrew Hsu located at 18725 E. GALE AVE, STE 233, INDUSTRY, CA 91748. The entity registered in 1994 and has since been cancelled. Numerous other "Overland" or Hi-Desert related property owners are located at the Monrovia address.

On 2.17.05 the City of Barstow issued a press release regarding the Barstow Industrial Park and Walmart which included the following:

"From its corporate offices in Bentonville, Ark., Wal-Mart announced today that it plans to build and operate a food distribution center in the area known as the Barstow Industrial Park. Construction on the 880,000-sq.-ft. facility, encompassing 160 acres in the industrial park just north of where Valmont-Newmark is located, is planned to begin in late 2006 with service to stores beginning in 2008. The company announced that some 500 full-time jobs, providing competitive wages, initially will be created. That number could grow to 700 within the first three years."

No progress on a Walmart project are obvious in the Barstow Industrial Park despite pubic assertions by Barstow's Mayor Lawrence Dale; however, Barstow Industrial Park LLC appears to have paid more than premium prices for the land it acquired in 2006. An investment of $22.5 million on property that was previously assessed at $2.5 would have to come with some have some guarantees for the new owners. Somebody was a big winner in this transaction. And somebody(ies) intend to make even more if they were willing to overpay for the property to the tune of $22.5 million.

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Originally posted 12.04.07.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ilitch casino frontmen doing damage control again

Marian Ilitch's casino frontmen are at it again.

Before news could reach Barstow that U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has issued a new ruling indicating off-reservation casinos must be within a 25-mile radius from an Indian tribe's headquarters, Ilitch's Lansing-based PR man Tom Shields and Shane Chapparosa, a member of the Los Coyotes Band of Indians, made an appearance before the Barstow City Council to "unveil" their third plan in five years for a casino in the Mojave Desert town.

There are several acceptions to the new 25-mile rule but it does not appear that the Los Coytes Band of Indians who are headquartered in north eastern San Diego County, more than a 150 mile drive from Barstow, meet any of those exceptions.

Using such tactics to head-off bad news during Barstow's local election campaign cycles have become a strategic political mainstay for Ilitch political strategist Tom Shields.

Barstow's Mayor Lawrence Dale has guaranteed exclusivity to BarWest since his early in his first term and has taken extreme political measures on BarWest's behalf. BarWest principals and agents may have helped Dale secure federal earmarks for his other pet projects from Rep. Don Young and others.

Dale was first elected to office in November 2000 when he upset the incumbent Mayor. He was re-elected again in 2004 and is running for a third term as Mayor in November. Each time he's pledged to make economic development his top priority for the Desert town and the failed BarWest casino resort has been the cornerstone of his plans.

Ilitch and a partner, Detroit-based casino syndicator Michael Malik, formed BarWest and using that entity have been pursuing plans for a Barstow casino since 2001. They made their first plans public in 2003. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger denied their first plan in 2004. The California Legislature failed to ratify a second proposal during back-to-back legislative sessions in 2006 & 2007. The U.S. Department of Interior rejected the second proposal in 2008 after kicking off an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) three years earlier.

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BarWest presents third plan in five years for a casino in Barstow


City Council recap: Single casino plan detailed

BARSTOW — The Los Coyotes Band of Indians have decided to go it alone in pursuing a casino in Barstow.

Shane Chapparosa, a spokesman for the tribe, and Tom Shields, a spokesman for developer BarWest, outlined a new plan at Monday’s City Council meeting for one casino in Barstow linked to only one tribe, the Los Coyotes.

“We’re back on top of it,” Chapparosa said of the casino project. “We’re not going to stop this.”

The tribe resubmitted a land-into-trust application to the Department of the Interior and filed an intent to start a new environmental impact statement for the smaller, only 23 acres, casino project off of Lenwood Road. In June, the Department of the Interior announced that they had revived the Los Coyotes’ application.

The land-into-trust process makes the land sovereign and is necessary to allow Indian gaming. A previous land-into-trust application was denied by the Department of the Interior in January.

Big Lagoon Rancheria, the other tribe involved in Barstow’s dual casino project, has focused their efforts on developing a casino on their reservation in Humbolt County, said Jason Barnett, a spokesman for the tribe.

* * *
NOTE: This represents the third public proposal by BarWest and the Los Coyotes Band of Indians since 2003. The first proposal was denied by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2004. A second proposal was rejected in back-to-back session of the California Legislature in 2006 & 2007; and by the U.S. Department of Interior in 2008.

Late last week, the Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a new rule that says casinos should be located within 25 miles of a reservation headquarters. The Los Coyotes reservation is in north eastern San Diego County more than 150 mile drive from the Barstow casino site.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

BIA issues rule limiting casino sites to within 25-miles of Reservations


BIA limits casino sites

SANTA FE — The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has published a rule that says casinos should be located within 25 miles of a reservation headquarters.

But the rule has exceptions. Tribes may seek reservation status and permission to operate casinos on newly acquired land away from a reservation if tribes can show that a significant number of tribal members live nearby, can demonstrate a current connection to the property or if other tribal government facilities have been located on the land for at least two years before an application is filed for new reservation land. (Complete Story)

Note: This is yet another indiciation that at least two of three off-reservation casino schemes being financed and pushed by Detroit casino syndicators Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik are dead -- (1) BarWest Casino Resort proposed for Barstow, CA, with the Los Coyotes Band of Indians; and (2) MJM Enterprises/Blue Water Casino Resort proposed for Port Huron, MI, with the Bay Mills Indian Community.

The Barstow project has been previously denied by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and then by the California Legislature as well as the BIA; the Port Huron project was rejected by vote of the U.S. House of Representatives in June. A third casino proposal backed by the Detroit duo is contingent upon federal recognition of the Shinnecock Indian Nation located on Long Island, NY.

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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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