Saturday, January 03, 2009

General counsel organized Mashpee affiliates which Strather subsequently liens

In March 2007, Jason Q. Wilson, recognized as general counsel for Detroit casino syndicator and real estate developer Herbert J. Strather, organized both Jayco/Mashpee LLC (filed 3.05.07) and Wilson/Mashpee LLC (filed 3.02.07). Wilson named himself as Resident Agent for both limited liability companies and also listed the same address for both entities: 300 River Place, Suite 6600, Detroit, MI 48207. That’s the same registered address on file for Strather’s various business enterprises including Strather & Associates and AtMashpee, LLC.

Then, a little more than two months later, Herb Strather, acting as a secured party, proceeded to place separate UCC Liens filed 5.15.07 on those same two entities: Wilson/Mashpee LLC (Filing No. 2007077968-7) and Jayco/Mashpee LLC (Filing No. 2007077967-5). On 9.04.08 secured party Strather amended his UCC Lien against debtor Jayco/Mashpee LLC (Filing No. 2008138352-8).

You may also want to review these recent posts:

Michigan Senator listed as "investor" in gambling casino syndication fund

It appears that Michigan State Senator Buzz Thomas (aka Samuel Thomas III) was apparently an investor in Atwater Entertainment Associates LLC (AEA), one of the founding interests – along with Marian Ilitch’s partners and Las Vegas-based Mandalay Resort Group (Circus Circus) – in Detroit’s MotorCity Casino.

Detroiters Herb Strather and Nellie Varner syndicated interests in AEA starting in 1995 in order to raise the capital they needed to push for the legalization of commercial gaming in Michigan (Proposal E – 1996) and lay the foundations for Detroit’s MotorCity Casino. Neither Strather or Varner were able to qualify for Michigan gaming licenses. Thomas, who was born in 1969 (1.28.69), would have been between 25 and 30 years old at the time he originally "invested" in the Atwater venture (AEA).

Thomas was first elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 1996 and served from 1997 – 2002. He’s represented Michigan’s 4th State Senate District (Detroit proper) since 2003.

In 2003, he introduced Senate Bill 0904 intended to limit the State Lottery’s use of casino-like games. Rather, in 2004, Detroit’s commercial casino interests promoted and passed a statewide ballot measure, Proposal 1, which requires a statewide vote in order to establish any new state lottery games utilizing "table games" or "player operated mechanical or electronic devices." According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network (, Marian Ilitch, representing MotorCity Casino, contributed $200.000 to support passage of Proposal 1 – at the time she was reportedly that casino’s largest individual shareholder.

Ilitch reportedly bought out the interests of AEA syndicators in 2005 when she acquired majority control in MotorCity Casino from Mandalay Resort Group/MGM Mirage. ( Ilitch Outbids Partners for MotorCity Casino)

According to a Web site set up for AEA investors to enable class-action lawsuits, Atwater Entertainment Associates LLC included entities known as Bay Ventures and BV Atwater. Strather’s wife Vivian Carpenter has served as Resident Agent for all three affiliates.

According to Crain’s Detroit, three-quarters of Atwater “investors” have also “invested” in AtMashpee LLC, another entity Strather syndicated to raise capitol need to bankroll a Cape Cod casino resort plan with the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe of Massachusetts. Strather has also organized AtMashpee Notes LLC.

That tribe’s former chairman, Glenn Marshall, was under federal investigation and has agreed to plea guilty to federal campaign contribution violations and charges of fraud. Various Atwater/AtMashpee investors were identified blindly in the indicment documents. AtMashpee enabled Marshall's wrong doing by dumping $4 million into a hidden fund.

It's not clear whether Sen. Thomas was one of those Atwater investors who also helped to syndicate AtMashpee LLC.

According to a bio presented on Thomas' Web site, he has been:
    Called “A Rising Star” by both the Detroit News and Hotline, one of Michigan’s five “Key Technology Leaders” by the Detroit Free Press, an “Under-40 Political ‘Buzz’ Saw” by the Michigan Front Page, recognized as One Of Four Up-And-Coming Leaders by Savoy, a national magazine spotlighting young, dynamic African-Americans, and chosen “Most Dedicated Detroiter” and “Best Local Politician” by Real Detroit Magazine, State Senator Buzz Thomas (D-Detroit) is known not only as a political force but also as a dynamic legislative leader.
You may want to review these related posts: Michigan state senator from Detroit injures knee in fight outside bar
“Buzz” Thomas (Samuel “Buzz” Thomas III)
Official Web Site:
Senator Buzz Thomas

Friday, January 02, 2009

Heirs of Chicago-based American Invsco founder helped bankroll casino ... are they at it again?

Three of Chicago-based Nicholas S. Gouletas’ daughters were among the original investors in
Atwater Entertainment Associates LLC (AEA), the entity that pushed to legalize gaming in Detroit during the mid-1990s and then eventually morphed into MotorCity Casino which opened its doors in 1999 with financing from, and under the management control of, Las Vegas-based Mandalay Resort Group (Circus Circus).

A Web site which lists the names of AEA investors includes the names of Andrea Desiree Gouletas (born Oct. 1969); Deanna Eileen Gouletas (born Oct. 1960) and Victoria Michelle Gouletas (born May 1974). They are three of Nicholas Gouletas’ six children.

AEA was formed in 1995 by Detroiter Herb Strather and a partner Nellie Varner to syndicate financial interest and raise capital needed to advance their local casino plans. At that time, the Gouletas sisters’ ages would have ranged from about 21 – 35 years old.

Crain's Detroit indicates that many AEA investors were also investors in AtMashpee, LLC, another casino syndication organized by Strather to raise the money he needed to bankroll the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe's effort win federal recognition and build a casino resort on Cape Cod. That tribe’s former chairman has been under federal investigation and has agreed to plea guilty to federal campaign contribution violations and charges of fraud. AtMashpee enabled his wrong doing by dumping $4 million into a hidden fund.

It’s not clear if the Gouletas family is helping to bankroll that plan for a large scale Massachusetts casino resort.

As owners of American Invsco, the Gouletas family carries one of the most highly recognizable names in Chicago real estate. Siblings Nicholas S. "Nick" Gouletas, Evangeline “Engie” Gouletas and Vincent Goulet (he changed his last name) established American Invsco four decades ago (1969).

Today, the privately held real estate conglomerate is one of the leading developers of condominiums in the U.S. Nicholas is chairman and CEO of American Invsco and his son Steven is president. The Gouletas were pioneers in the business of condo conversions and the development of luxury hi-rise residential buildings. It is reported that American Invsco has developed and marketed over 45,000 condominiums in more than 40 cities across the U.S. with property values in excess of $4 billion.

In 1981, while attending Ronald Reagan’s 1st Inauguration, Engie Gouletas met then-New York Governor Hugh L. Carey, a widower; and they were married less than four months later. In 1998, she left American Invsco and formed Skyline Equities Realty LLC in part because of a long running feud with her brother Nicholas.

As one of the largest condo developers in the U.S., American Invsco and its affiliates haven’t been without controversy throughout the years.

Most recently, the Las Vegas Review Journal has reported on a class-action lawsuit being brought by those who purchased units in an American Invsco project known as The Meridian, located at 250 E. Flamingo Road, just one block from the famed Las Vegas Strip.

Curiously, a 10.17.08 Review Journal article indicates that Meridian Private Residence CH LLC, a so-called “affiliate" of an unrevealed Detroit-based venture capital fund, had been quietly bankrolling the start-up of American Invsco’s Meridian property.

Strather was seeking AtMashpee investors via features a "member profile" for Herb Strather who reports he's looking for investors seeking to fund a Detroit-based start-up called AtMashpee.

Here's how the opportunity was described in Strather's profile:
    AtMashpee’s purpose has been to assist the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribe by funding its efforts to become federally recognized which was successful last year and to meet federal and state legal requirements to develop and operate a Class III Indian gaming casino in the vicinity of Middleboro, MA. AtMashpee entered into a consulting and development agreement with the Tribe to support it in the development and operation of the Casino. Casino is expected to open within next 36 months.
According to a 10.31.05 brief written by Robert Ankeny and published in Crain's Detroit Business: AtMashpee LLC included $12 million syndicated through more than 200 investors.

About 150 of AtMashpee's investors are former Atwater Entertainment Associates (AEA) "investors."

Ankeny suggests that the name "AtMashpee," is a blend of "Mashpee," as in Mashpee Wampanoag Indian tribe, and Herb Strather’s "Atwater" affiliate. AEA, organized in the mid-1990s, helped to organize Detroit Entertainment LLC which does business as Detroit's MotorCity Casino.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Could Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) offer land for Shinnecock Casino?


Thoughts to take with you into 2009

For this, our last weekly staff column, we tried to come up with ways to leave each of our readers surrounded by love, flush with cash, working for a boss who isn't a jerk and 10 pounds lighter. We got nowhere.But we can try to leave you happy, or at least smiling, with a few thoughts about the year ahead.

Here goes...

Shoreham Nation

The Shinnecock Indian Nation is expecting federal recognition, and when they get it - Ka-ching! - they will seek land not too far from their Hampton Bays reservation for a casino.

And LIPA has a glowing deal for them - a nice piece of property on Suffok's north shore, with water views from a very large and sturdy tower that's been used so little it's almost as good as new. Just a trickle in rent from all those slots could get the utility out of the hock it's in due to Shoreham.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

For two years, Michael Malik failed to report $26,500 he gave to California Legislators

Two years after the fact, Detroit casino syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr., has finally disclosed he contributed $26,500 to various California political campaign committees during the Fall '06 Elections.

When Malik filed his original campaign disclosures for the period covering 7.01.06 through 12.31.06, he reported making $0.00 contributions to California legislators and political committees during the second half of 2006. However, Malik's representations were blatantly false at the time.

TVT has previously reported that California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has been conducting an ongoing investigation in Malik's failure to comply with California's political reform laws in disclosing political contributions and lobbying payments. And now it seems things are perhaps coming to a crescendo.

Because now, almost two years later, we see that on 12.23.08 Malik filed an amended disclosure report for the period 7.01.06 through 12.31.06 in which he finally lists contributions to 17 political committees in California totaling $26,500.

Among those Malik gave money to during the Fall '06 Election were a handful of supporters who were trying to help him advance a bill through the California Legislature that would have paved the way for Malik to develop and manage two Indian casinos in Barstow: State Senators Roy Ashburn, Wes Chesbro and Patricia Wiggins; and Assembly Members Patty Berg and Bill Maze.

This isn't the first time that Malik's conducted himself in such a cavalier manner. In October 2004, Malik's affiliate BarWest LLC sent $26,600 to the San Joaquin County GOP Victory Committee and failed to report that contribution in a timely manner as required under California law. Rather, BarWest LLC filed a disclosure for the period ended 12.31.04 more than 20 months later on 9.05.06. Shortly after that the FPPC disclosed it had been conducting an investigation into Malik's failure to report the 2004 contribution and found BarWest (Malik) guilty on two counts of violating California election laws; and Malik paid a fine of $6,500.

That action by the FPPC in the Fall of 2006 seemed to have little impact on Malik, because at the very same time he was being reprimanded by the FPPC, we now have proof he was again ignoring disclosure requirements. And then in January 2007 he had the audacity to submit a report indicating he had not made any political contributions in California during the second half of 2006 although we now learn he contributed $26,500.

Given that Malik's finally disclosed the truth about his 2006 political contributions, it's likely that the FPPC will be concluding its investigation into Malik's campaign finance and lobbying practices soon.

Editorial: give taxpayers a dispassionate report on Casino's pros and cons


Newsday Editorial: A Shinnecock casino? All bets are on

What's the story behind Suffolk County's sudden willingness to take a serious look at the idea of a Shinnecock casino on Long Island?

Let's be honest: The driving force is not contrition over the way Albany has treated the Shinnecock Indian Nation. The State Legislature took most of the tribe's land away in 1859 to make way for the Long Island Rail Road. Though key county legislators are well aware of that sad history, the real bottom line is Suffolk's hunger for increased revenue.

The Shinnecocks are OK with that cold calculus, and so are we. This page has always been hesitant about casino gambling, because it too often sucks money out of the pockets of the poor. And when the Shinnecocks proposed to build a casino in Hampton Bays, at the bottleneck of all traffic bottlenecks, it seemed like a horrendous idea.

So we opposed it, but always with a twinge of sadness, because we saw that the Shinnecocks viewed a casino as the best bet to provide decent jobs for a tribe suffering from far too much unemployment. And we tempered our criticism of the Hampton Bays site with a call for the notoriously slow Bureau of Indian Affairs to act on the tribe's petition for federal recognition.

Actually, the Shinnecocks were on a federal list of recognized tribes for decades, until the middle of the last century. Then some bureaucrat took the tribe off, without an act of Congress or anything resembling due process. That alone entitles them to be on a fast track. But even a 2005 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Platt, saying that the Shinnecocks are a bonafide tribe, has not definitively resolved the issue. Still, there's a growing sense that full federal recognition isn't far off.

That's the background to a conversation between two Suffolk County legislators, Presiding Officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook) and Legis. Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon), chairman of the committee overseeing economic development for the county.

The prospect of a casino bringing in thousands of jobs and millions in revenue appealed to them. They also had a visit from the tribe's lawyer, George Stankevich, and they visited the reservation. In May, Horsley's committee heard from tribal leaders and experts on the positive impact of Indian gaming in Connecticut. The tribe has had a contentious relationship with the Town of Southampton, so its leaders were pleased to have county legislators listening respectfully.

This month, the legislature voted to create a task force to study the feasibility of a casino in Suffolk. The Hampton Bays site is still a bad idea, but if the tribe can either buy or accept a donation of land somewhere else, it can become, in effect, a part of the reservation.

The Shinnecocks want the site to be as close as possible to their home in Southampton, so that members of the tribe can commute easily to jobs at the casino. And the Suffolk legislators obviously want it in Suffolk. But there's also a chance that the best site might turn out to be at Belmont Park racetrack in Elmont.

In any case, the task force should give the Shinnecocks a careful, respectful hearing of their casino plan - and give taxpayers a dispassionate report on its pros and cons. On this issue, it's time for cool analysis to replace heated contention.

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

Play with the interactive tool here or visit

TIP: Search for multiple entries in the database simultaneously by separating their names with the word and

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

The Verifiable Truth