Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bank Transfers Paradice Hunt Club Property to Michigan Dept. of Treasury

The Michigan Department of Treasury is holding property belonging to yet another affiliate of Detroit casino syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr.

Fifth Third Bank has transferred property belonging to Malik's Paradice Hunt Club, L.L.C., to the Department of Treasury.

Malik through his Paradice Hunt Club owns 1,000 acres of property in Davison, MI and operates a commerical lodge and hunting grounds on that property. In 2008, Malik was found guilty of illegal firearms discharge in Arizona, was fined nearly $15,000 and stripped of his right to hunt in Arizona, Michigan and a majority of other U.S. states for five years.

Previously TVT has reported that Fifth Third Bank had transferred property to the Department of Treasury belonging to another Malik affiliate, Lucky 7 Development, L.L.C.

Lucky 7 owns property on Harsens Island in St. Clair County, Michigan. Malik's most recent development plans for that property include a marina and 348 clustered housing units. However, Malik has failed throughout the last decade to win approvals for various developments proposed for this property. The St. Clair County Department of Equalization reports that Malik is delinquent paying 2008 property taxes levied on this property which was formerly associated with the Detroit Boys Club.

In April, Fifth Third Bank filed notice with the Oakland County Circuit Court noting Malik was in default on a personal $1 million line of credit.

Fifth Third Bank v. Malik: Complaint (including promissory note)

It's not clear how these actions by Fifth Third Bank and involving Malik and his affiliates might be linked, if at all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ilitch Partner Delinquent on 2008 Property Taxes

According to the St. Clair County Department of Equalization the 2008 property taxes on all eight parcels on Harsens Island, MI, owned by Lucky 7 Development, LLC, and referenced below, remain delinquent. These parcels collectively are commonly referred to as the former Harsens Island Boys Club property (Camp Drusilla Farwell).

Parcel History
Documents dated February 12, 1997 and filed in St. Clair County, Michigan record that seven parcels of land situated in Clay Township, St. Clair County, were transfered from D. Fred Smith and Stephanie Smith to Lucky 7 Development LLC. These seven parcels are identified as follows:
    74-14-649-0007-000
    74-14-649-0011-000
    74-14-618-0004-000
    74-14-618-0007-000
    74-14-618-0031-000
    74-14-514-0033-000
    74-14-514-0034-000
Lucky 7 Development LLC manager Michael J. Malik entered into a $2 million mortgage agreement with Comerica Bank covering these seven parcels on December 26, 2003.

Documents dated December 9, 2005 and filed in St. Clair County, Michigan record that one parcel of land situated in the Township of Clay, St. Clair County, and commonly referred to as 805 North Channel, was transfered from Thomas M. Wiethorn to Lucky 7 Developoment LLC. That parcel is identified as follows:
    74-14-618-0008-000
Lucky 7 Development LLC manager Michael J. Malik entered into a $480,000 mortgage agreement with Comerica Bank covering this parcel on June 2, 2006.

Malik and his Lucky 7 Development LLC / Grand Pointe Development LLC have previously proposed several failed development projects for these parcels including a marina and a large-scale clustered housing project that was anticipated to re-route North Channel Road.

Malik partners with members of Detroit's Ilitch family on various casino development projects in Michigan and throughout the U.S. His business numerous affiliates are registered at the same address as Ilitch Holdings, Inc. in Detroit and his personal office is among the suite of executive offices at Ilitch Holdings headquarters.

In April, Fifth Third Bank filed notice with the Oakland County Circuit Court noting Malik was in default on a $1 million line of credit. Property owned by Lucky 7 Development has been transferred to the Michigan Department of Treasury by Fifth Thirds Bank.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Casino syndicator with history of illegal activity contributes $30k to Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

According to OpenSecrets.org, Detroit casino syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr. contributed $30,400 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on 6.19.09.

Previously such contributions by Malik and his casino gaming partners Mike and Marian Ilitch flowed to committees to re-elect Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin -- two who have spearheaded Congressional activity that would pave the way for Malik and his partners to develop an off-reservation Indian casino (Bay Mills Indian Community) in Port Huron, MI.

For more than a decade Malik has failed to win such Congressional approvals despite raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for those who have carried his water including Stabenow, Levin, Michigan Representative Candice Miller, Alaska's Representative Don Young and several others that have been key to Malik's schemes.

Malik and Ilitch are also behind similar off-reservation Indian casinos proposed in Barstow, CA (Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians) and Hampton Bays, NY (Shinnecock Indian Nation).

In December 2008, Malik was found guilty on firearms charges in Arizona. As a result he was forced to pay a nearly $15,000 fine and stripped of his right to hunt in a majority of U.S. states for a period of five years.

In February 2009, Malik was found to have violated California campaign finance laws and was also fined. Malik has a history of repeating such violations in California.

In April 2009, Fifth Third Bank filed a complaint in Oakland County (MI) Circuit Court claiming Malik had defaulted on a $1 million line of credit.

In May 2009, Malik entered into a settlement agreement in Florida Federal Court acknowledging that he had previously accepted at least $620,000 in fraudulent transfers (Goldberg v. Malik) as part of a Ponzi scheme. That case stemmed from a $300 million Ponzi scheme case brought by the Securities & Exchange Commission against Jack Utsick and others. Utsick has subsequently taken asylum in Brazil.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Detroit Risks Hemorrhage of Michigan Gamblers

On Tuesday, 11.03.09, Ohio voters approved casinos in Toledo and three other cities. State officials and gambling interests in neighboring Indiana and Michigan are worried that millions of dollars in gambling revenues — and taxes — are at risk

From the Associated Press:
"Nevertheless, gambling industry analyst Jake Miklojcik (mik-LOH'-jik) said Detroit risks a hemorrhage of Michigan gamblers as well as those who now visit
from Ohio."
See Complete AP story: Ohio casinos to hit Mich., Ind. gambling taxes

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Ilitch casino development partner Michael Malik defaults on $1 million bank loan

Fifth Third Bank v. Michael J. Malik, Sr.

A complaint filed by Fifth Third Bank, a Michigan Banking Corporation, on 4.03.09 in the Oakland County (MI) Circuit Court, alleges that Detroit casino syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr. is in default on a $1 million line of credit which was granted on 4.05.07 and had matured 9.01.08.

In total, Fifth Third Bank alleges Malik failed to repay total indebtedness of $992,499.48.

Malik is the casino development partner of Mrs. Marian Ilitch. Ilitch and her husband Mike Ilitch are co-owners of the Detroit Red Wings NHL franchise and founders of Little Caesars Pizza. Mike Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers and Marian Ilitch is sole proprietor of Detroit's MotorCity Casino. Malik was once a partner in MotorCity Casino but was forced to sell his shares in the commercial gaming hall when he failed to receive a gaming license from the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB). Over the last decade, Malik and Marian Ilitch been behind various controversial Native American casino proposals in CA, MI and NY.

In the last several years Malik has been charged in various legal matters including a fraudulent transfer case in Florida related to a $300 million SEC alleged Ponzi Scheme (Goldberg v. Malik); multiple counts of illegal political campaign finance activities in California (2006 & 2009) ; and illegal discharge of firearms in Arizona.

Fifth Third Bank v. Malik: Complaint (including promissory note)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is Detroit Casino Syndicator Michael Malik Living in The Hamptons?

Has Detroit Casino Syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr. packed up and moved to The Hamptons?

A New York State Board of Elections Disclosure Report filed for a Committee known as "Friends of Carl" indicates The Michael J. Malik, Sr. Trust contributed $2,500 to that Committee as recorded July 15, 2009 and that Malik resides at 1467 Deerfield Road, Wattermill, NY 11976.

It is noted that another NYS Board of Elections Disclosure Report filed for a Committee known as "Friends of Craig Johnson" indicates Michael J. Malik made a contribution of $2,500 to that Committee on February 2, 2009 but records Malik's address as 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201 (the corporate address of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. and various Ilitch affiliates).

Malik/Ilitch Shinnecock Casino Ties
Malik and Mrs. Marian Ilitch are among partners in Gateway Casino Resorts, a casino syndicate backing plans to build a large casino on Long Island in partnership with the Shinnecock Indian Nation.

Ilitch, sole owner of Motor City Casino, also is the co-founder of Little Caesars Pizza and the Detroit Red Wings hockey franchise. Her husband owns the Detroit Tigers baseball franchise. Ilitch's son Christopher Ilitch, president of Ilitch Holdings, said a larger-scale version of Motor City Casino - a 17-story, 500-room facility - tailored to the New York market is "very accomplishable."

"We've operated all around the world," he said. "It's not like we're a bunch of hometown bumpkins here. We're savvy enough to understand the challenges of opening in another market."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Analysts question Ilitch finances, Tigers spending

7.20.09

Tigers' ticket sales fall, Ilitch still spending
Are team finances now at full count?

By Bill Shea: (313) 446-1626, bshea@crain.com

The division-leading Detroit Tigers have a large-market payroll with midsize market attendance that's off 22 percent from last year, something the team said it was prepared for but has baseball insiders speculating about the team's long-term financial health.

And to the delight of fans, if not economists, the team's owner is willing to spend even more to return to the World Series — even if it's a money-losing endeavor.

Attendance through last week's All-Star break was averaging 30,875 per game through 40 games at 41,255-seat Comerica Park compared to last season's 39,761 through the same number of home games.

At an average ticket price of $25.15, that roughly translates into $8.9 million less in ticket revenue so far this season.

The fan drop-off is attributed to both the team's last-place finish in 2008 and the subsequent national economic plunge that's been especially harsh in metro Detroit — vaporizing fans' disposable income and making them hesitant to buy tickets for a team three years removed from the Fall Classic.

Season ticket sales dropped to 15,000 this season from 27,000 a year ago.

“The attendance decline is out of step with the rest of the league. Attendance is down about 5 percent leaguewide, so the Tigers' 20 percent decline is not good,” said J.C. Bradbury, an economist and associate professor at Kennesaw State University near Atlanta. He's the author of The Baseball Economist and operates the baseball site www.Sabernomics.com ...

Economic news Web site Forbes.com, which tracks pro sports finances, reported that the Tigers had minus $26.3 million in operating income last season on revenue of $186 million. Gate receipts were $75 million.

“With his payroll and attendance and loss of corporate sponsorships, I think he's losing money,” said Andrew Zimbalist, professor of economics at Smith College in Massachusetts and author of several books on the business of baseball...

(Original Post)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ilitch partner funneling thousands to influence Suffolk County Exec

Curiously, Detroit casino syndicators Michael J. Malik, Sr. and Marian Ilitch have made very few reported political contributions this past year -- the dire economic circumstances in Detroit and the attention state and federal investigators have directed toward them and the controversial candidates they seek to influence perhaps influencing their near absent check writing activity. Consider that from 2003-08 Malik and Ilitch family members contributed more than $1.1 million to political candidates and committees.

For the 2010 election cycle it has been reported that Marian Ilitch and her husband Michael Ilitch (Northern Michigan Food Services) contributed just $600 each to the Wendy's/Arby Group (a PAC) on February 17. And Malik reporting that he's self-employed contributed $2,400 on March 31 to Rep. Gary Peters, the Michigan Representative who defeated Rep. Joe Knollenberg last November.

Of note however is a $5,000 check Malik's affiliate MJM Manistee wrote to Suffolk County Executive Tom Souzzi earlier this year.

Malik and Ilitch (Gateway Casino Resorts) are bankrolling the slow moving federal recognition efforts and related legal battles for the Shinnecock Indian Nation and in return hope to one day build and manage a Shinnecock Casino & Resort somewhere on Long Island, NY -- most desirably in Suffolk County. Previously residents in the posh Hamptons resort area of Suffolk County have fought the casino development plans.

Contribution Search: Opensecrets.org

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Ilitch team out in full force with New York Casino gambling partner

Key members of Team Ilitch Gambling (Marian Ilitch's partner Michael J. Malik, Sr., and one of their senior Indian gaming attorneys R. Lance Boldrey of the Dykema Gossett firm) were out in full force with tribal leaders representing their New York casino development partner the Shinnecock Indian Nation at a 2009 New York Gaming Conference held in Sarasota Springs last week.

In an article published 7.01.09, "Shinnecocks still face obstacles in casino bid," Michael Wright in The Southampton Press reports:


At a gaming industry conference in Saratoga Springs last week, a host of industry veterans and members of other Native American tribes from around the state said—often with wry smiles—that they’re not holding their breath for a Shinnecock casino to open. Nonetheless, the tribe and its prospects for a casino on Long Island, or in the shadow of New York City, were a popular topic of conversation.

The tribe sent a 10-member contingent to the New York Gaming Summit, including Michael Malick [sic], co-owner of the Detroit-based casino development company [Gateway Casino Resorts] that has been funding the tribe’s legal battles over its gaming future since 2003. Also at the conference were the five salaried members of the tribe’s gaming authority, Tribal Trustee Fred Bess, former Trustee Lance Gumbs—who has been the most vocal member of the tribe in the casino effort—and at least two of the tribe’s attorneys.

In his keynote speech at the two-day conference, John D. Sabini, chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, focused on the Shinnecock casino bid, and the speculation the court settlement spawned. And in his remarks he seemed to warn the Shinnecocks that other tribal and private gaming prospects have seemed imminent in the past, and ended up languishing for decades.
The article featured these photos in a related image gallery:


Shinnecock Tribal Trustee Fred Bess (right) and Michael Malik (left) the controversial Detroit-based casino syndicator who along with Mrs. Marian Ilitch has reportedly formed the syndication, Gateway Casino Resorts, that's been bankrolling the tribe's drive for a casino since 2003.



Lance Boldrey (center) an attorney with the Michigan-based Dykema Gossett law firm and who represents various Detroit-based Indian gambling affiliates of partners Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik, chats with Shinnecock Tribal Trustee Lance Gumbs (left) and John D. Sabini, chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Industry experts not optimistic about Ilitch Shinnecock plans for New York Casino

6.30.09

Tribe told not to expect quick results on gaming

By Michael Wright
The East Hampton Press

A settlement of a key portion of a legal battle between the Shinnecock Indian Nation and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs fed widespread media speculation that the Shinnecocks and their Detroit-based financial backers [Marian Ilitch and Michael J. Malik, Sr.] are now on a fast track to opening a gaming facility in New York City or on Long Island.

But even though a court-ordered ruling on the tribe’s federal recognition application—the key step to gaming rights—is due by December, and the tribe could get the federal go-ahead by mid-2010, many in the New York gaming industry say the hurdles Shinnecocks face are numerous, and significant.

At a gaming industry conference in Saratoga Springs last week, a host of industry veterans and even members of other Native American tribes from around the state said—often with wry smiles—that they’re not holding their breath for a Shinnecock casino to open. Nonetheless, the tribe and its prospects for a casino on Long Island, or in the shadow of New York City, were a popular topic of conversation.

The Shinnecocks’ casino bid and the speculation that the court settlement spawned were a main focus of the keynote speech given by John D. Sabini, chairman of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board at the two-day New York Gaming Summit. He said that gaming prospects have seemed imminent in the past and ended up languishing for decades.

“I don’t think it’s a slam-dunk that they even get federal recognition from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Department of the Interior,” Mr. Sabini said of the Shinnecocks in his keynote speech. “There are no sure things in gaming. This involves a lot of moving parts at the federal level.”

In an interview, Mr. Sabini noted that earning federal recognition is just the first step in a complicated battle for the tribe to get rights to a casino operation. He nodded to the cautionary tales told by the leaders of three other Native American tribes—the Seneca, Oneida and St. Regis Mohawks—all of whom have had federal recognition for 
years, even decades, and are still fighting to get approval for casinos that they thought would be open for business years ago.

“Some newspapers said [the court settlement] would mean they have the inside track for Belmont. There’s so much between here and there,” Mr. Sabini said, of a report that the tribe had expressed interest in a gaming facility adjacent to the Nassau County horse racing venue. “[State Assembly Speaker Sheldon] Silver has been clear—he doesn’t want gaming there.”

The State Legislature has already approved gaming through the use of up to 4,500 video lottery machines, or VLTs, at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens. State representatives of the areas surrounding Belmont Racetrack have also introduced proposals to allow gaming—a potential tax revenue bounty—in their backyard as well. But Mr. Silver, who represents Lower Manhattan in the State Assembly, has sworn he will never support gaming at the Belmont property.

In 2007, shortly after the state opened bidding on the Aqueduct gaming contract, the tribe proposed a $1.4 billion casino and hotel adjacent to the Queens racetrack. But at last week’s state gaming conference, Bill Murray, the deputy director of the New York Lottery, which will license any future gaming operations at the racetrack, said that the state is close to deciding on one of the seven official bidders for gaming there. The Shinnecocks are not on the list of bidders—though the development company Delaware North, which sponsored the gaming conference, is. Mr. Murray said the decision on the contract will be made in a matter of weeks, effectively eliminating the Shinnecocks, since the tribe will not receive federal recognition until 2010 at the earliest.

Shinnecock Indian Nation Tribal Trustee Fred Bess turned a bit of the naysayers’ own warnings back on them, though, with regard to the Aqueduct proposal.

“Things take a long time to happen,” he said when asked if Aqueduct was off the tribe’s radar because of the timeline Mr. Murray suggested. “Once we take care of our federal recognition application, we’ll see where things stand.”

This is the first part of a three-part series on the Shinnecock Indian Nation and its possible future in the gaming industry.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ilitch not renewing existing lease on Joe Louis Arena

6.26.09

Ilitches not renewing old Joe Louis lease, negotiating for new deal

By Bill Shea

The statement today that the owners of the Detroit Red Wings aren’t renewing their expiring Joe Louis Arena master lease leaves it unclear if they will pursue a new hockey arena or renovate their 30-year-old city-owned home.

The owners say they now plan to negotiate a new lease for Joe Louis, which could be a long-term commitment and what insiders say would be a $150 million renovation job, or it could be a shorter deal that buys them time to arrange financing for a new venue that could cost $300 million to $400 million.

Bold
Olympia Entertainment, which manages Joe Louis and Cobo Arena under a single lease and is owned by team owners Mike and Marian Ilitch, was required to notify the city by Tuesday of their intentions with the contract, which expires on July 1, 2010. Otherwise, it automatically renewed for 20 years.

The statement from Olympia today says the lease isn’t being renewed to allow the city to forge ahead with an expansion of Cobo Center, which is managed by the city but includes the Ilitch-run Cobo Arena.

The city needed Ilitch-owned Olympia Entertainment to renegotiate the master lease because it includes language that gives Olympia say over any project that would significantly impact Cobo Arena.

Not renewing basically turns Cobo Arena back over to the city, paving the way for the long-debated control and expansion of Cobo Center — something needed to prevent the loss of the annual North American International Auto Show.

Olympia has been negotiating for years on the lease with the Detroit Economic Development Corp., and the statement Friday said the Ilitches will continue to pursue a new lease for just Joe Louis.

“The existing lease was crafted more than three decades ago by individuals no longer associated with either Olympia Entertainment or the city,” Ilitch Holdings Inc. President and CEO Chris Ilitch is quoted as saying in the statement. “It does not fully contemplate one: the evolution of the sports and entertainment industry; two: the current economic environment in which both the city and Olympia Entertainment are operating and; three: the infrastructure replacement and repair needs of a 30-year-old building in order to meet the competitive industry standards of today.”

The statement notes that Joe Louis Arena is the fourth-oldest venue in the National Hockey League. Teams seek new arenas because modern facilities provide deeper revenue streams than older facilities.

Ilitch spokeswoman Karen Cullen said no comment would be made on the specifics of the new lease talks.

The Ilitches bought the Red Wings from former owner Bruce Norris in 1982 for $8 million, and today it’s valued by Forbes.com at $303 million.

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano has said he’s been approached by the Ilitches about financing a new arena, but has declined to say more.

Both Comerica Park, where the Ilitch-owned Detroit Tigers play, and Ford Field, home of the National Football League’s Detroit Lions, are owned by the Detroit-Wayne County Stadium Authority, a quasi-public board of city and county appointees, and are leased to the county and then subleased to the teams.

The authority, along with the DEGC, also partially financed both ballparks.

Any use of tax dollars to subsidize stadium construction — either in the form of a direct levy or by extension of current taxes — generates fierce criticism that it’s nothing more than welfare for rich owners and players.

Speculation is that a new hockey arena would be built on Ilitch-owned land in the Foxtown area or between Grand River and Cass south of I75.

Not renewing the master lease means the Ilitches give up a cap on property taxes at Joe Louis, which limits them to $252,000 annually. Without the cap, the taxes would be about $1 million. While the city owns Joe Louis, the lease called for the Ilitches to pay the property taxes — something that could continue under a new lease, or be changed.

The lease, first negotiated under Mayor Coleman Young after the Detroit Lions and Detroit Pistons left for the suburbs, has drawn criticism, including from the Detroit City Council, that it tilts too far in favor of the Red Wings.

Detroit gets a cut of tickets, concessions, corporate and suite sales at both venues, which would have been lost if the lease was renewed. New surcharges could be negotiated under a new lease, and at a new arena.

If the Ilitches, who have a year to work out a new lease, decide to pursue a new arena, financing options include particular-use taxes, use fees built into ticket prices, new lottery games, or the city and/or county issuing revenue bonds. Private money from the owners and from corporate investment, especially from naming rights, also will finance any new stadium.

Building a publicly owned stadium and leasing it to the team, which was done for the Tigers and Lions, is also an option — but one that carries political risks because it would require tax dollars in economically tough times.

Debt financing by the team is also iffy because banks are hesitant to loan money at the favorable rates from even a year ago, something that’s hampered stadium projects elsewhere in the country.

A new short-term lease at Joe Louis buys time for the markets to improve.

Highlights of exisiting lease Ilitch holds on Joe Louis & Cobo Arenas

6.26.09



TERM OF EXISTING JOE LOUIS LEASE

The Ilitch family’s lease for its Red Wings to play at Joe Louis Arena expires in a year, and will be replaced by a new deal. The current lease includes:

    • The city provides free police and landscaping services, including snow removal, for both the Joe Louis Arena and Cobo Arena, and up to $500,000 annually for capital improvements for the hockey venue.

    • The Ilitches pay property taxes on city-owned Joe Louis, but they are capped at $252,000 annually. Without the cap, the tax would be about $1 million.

    • The Ilitches pay $25,000 monthly rent for Joe Louis and $12,500 for Cobo.

    • Detroit collects a 10 percent ticket tax for Joe Louis events and a 7.5 percent ticket tax for Cobo events.

    • The city collects a surcharge of 10 percent on concessions and 7 percent on suite sales.

    • If the lease is renewed, the city immediately loses the ticket taxes and in five years loses the surcharge on concessions and suites.

    • A new arena would mean the city could charge for police and snow services and collect full property taxes on the venue. The city also could lose its ticket, concession and suites surcharges. All this depends, of course, on a new lease or stadium deal, its financing and who owns the new venue.

Monday, June 22, 2009

10,000 fans a game reject Detroit Tigers after Ilitch hiked ticket prices

6.21.09


10,000 fewer Detroit Tigers fans fill seats each game
'08 heartbreak, weak economy are blamed

BY JOHN GALLAGHER
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

Boosted by their World Series appearance in 2006, the Tigers drew more than 3 million fans to Comerica Park for the first time in 2007, and topped 3.2 million fans in 2008, when expectations ran high.

But the Tigers, with a disappointing finish last year, combined with a collapsing economy, saw a plunge in ticket sales this year. The Tigers are averaging about 28,000 fans per game this year, down from 38,000 per game at this time last season...

...The Tigers have troubles beyond about 10,000 more empty seats per game this year than last. Forbes magazine, in its annual ranking of sports teams' values, put the Tigers in 21st out of 30 Major League Baseball teams, with a total value of $371 million. That estimate marked a 9% decline in value from the year before.

Moreover, the Tigers have one of the most expensive payrolls in baseball, with first baseman Miguel Cabrera signing a $153-million, 8-year.contract last year, breaking the $75-million, 5-year contract signed by outfielder Magglio Ordóñez in 2005. Combined with lower ticket sales, the team is losing money this year, Forbes estimated.

Meeting that payroll is one reason owner Mike Ilitch raised ticket prices this year.

"With the auto companies imploding and discretionary income plummeting for many fans, Ilitch's strategy looks like it has backfired," Forbes suggested earlier this year

Being privately owned by the Ilitch family empire, the Tigers do not release hard financial data. But Gilette said that absent a second-half collapse by the team (which, in fact, has failed to generate much offense lately despite its first-place standing), the Tigers should muddle through this season. (Complete Story)

Treasury Department holding would-be Harsens Island Developer's property


Discovered among the Michigan Department of Treasury's "unclaimed property" inventory:

LUCKY 7 DEVELOPMENT LLC
GROSSE POINTE WOODS, MI
Property Number: 10367064
Transferred from: FIFTH THIRD BANK

Lucky 7 Development L.L.C. was formed in 1996 by Denise Ilitch and other members of her family. In 1999, attorney William Serwer filed papers signed by Denise Ilitch transfering control of Lucky 7 Development to his client Michael J. Malik, Sr.

Malik is the longtime casino and real estate development partner of Denise Ilitch's mother Marian Ilitch. Nearly all fo their affiliates are registered at the same Foxtown address in Detroit that is the headquarters of Ilitch Holdings, Inc.

Lucky 7 Develoment/Grande Pointe Development LLC appears to have title to nine parcels on Harsens Island (former Boys Club property) that have a total 2009 equalized value of $1,224,500. Lucky 7 Development failed to pay its 2008 taxes on those parcels and appears to have delinquent tax bills totalling $9,417.57.

For two decades, Malik and various affiliates have attempted, without luck, to develop a marina and other commercial and residential properties on that Harsens Island property.

See detailed 15-page DEQ application for permits.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Malik loses Circuit Court appeal; local decision blocking his plans to develop Harsens Island Marina upheld

On 6.02.09, St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Daniel J. Kelly, denied a Harsens Island land use appeal filed by Michael J. Malik, Sr.'s affiliates Lucky 7 Development LLC and Grand Pointe Development LLC, stating “…the decision of the Planning Commission was lawful and a proper exercise of discretion based on competent material and substantial evidence.” (See Court's Decision)

Lucky 7 Development had petitioned Clay Township for a Special Land Use variance for the Boys’ Club property where Malik wants to build a cluster housing development consisting of 348 units around a 60 acre lagoon/marina, and to cut and re-route a major roadway, North Channel Drive around his development. (See Site Map)

The Clay Township Planning Commission denied that request in February 2008 deciding that “… the proposed development was not in harmony with the existing and intended character of the general vicinity and that such a use would change the essential character of the area...”

In May 2008, Malik filed a lawsuit appealing the Planning Commission's decision.

In May 2008, Malik had petitioned the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for a Marina Permit over the Harsens Island Boys Club property (File 07-74-0161-P). DEQ denied Malik's affiliates the permit on 8.19.08.

See detailed 15 page DEQ Application for Permits.

On 11.08.04, DEQ issued a Wetlands Assessment Report on the Harsens Island Boys Club property in response to a Wetlands Assessment Application made at the time by Malik and another of his affiliates MJM Enterprises & Development. (Federal lobbying disclosures reveal Malik's MJM Enterprises & Development has spent nearly $750,000 lobbying Capitol Hill on casino/gambling matters since 2003).

Malik first proposed developing a large-scale resort centered around a marina on Harsens Island property nearly two decades. A Detroit News headline dated 5.31.89 read: "RESORT PLAN DRAWS ISLANDERS' IRE HARSENS ISLANDERS VOW TO BLOCK PROPOSAL." (See other Detroit News Headlines related to Malik).

Lucky 7 Development LLC was originally established by members of Detroit's Ilitch family.

Malik and Mrs. Marian Ilitch are partners in various gambling and real estate affiliates with plans to build casino resorts in Michigan, New York and California. She owns Detroit's MotorCity Casino and along with her husband Mike Ilitch, they own the Detroit Red Wings and co-founded Little Caesars pizza stores. Mike Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers.

For more than a decade, Malik (MJM Enterprises & Development/Blue Water Resorts) has bankrolled and spearheaded failed plans by the Bay Mills Indian Community (with a reservation on Michigan's Upper Peninsula) to build a casino resort near Harsens Island in Port Huron, MI.

Although a spokesman for the Ilitch family claims they have no financial interest in the Port Huron schemes, the Ilitch family supports Malik's plans and have contributed thousands of dollars to key Members of Congress who support Malik's plans. They have helped him lobby lawmakers in Lansing and Washington D.C.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Former aide to Rep. Kildee to advise White House on Native American affairs

7.15.09

Obama Hires Adviser on Indian Issues

President Obama made good on a campaign promise to have an American Indian adviser in the White House to counsel him on tribal issues. He appointed Kimberly Teehee as a senior policy adviser for Native American affairs. Ms. Teehee is a member of the Cherokee Nation and has worked for Representative Dale E. Kildee, Democrat of Michigan, for the last decade. She will be a member of Mr. Obama’s domestic policy council.
TVT Editors' Note: Rep. Dale Kildee has supported failed bills introduced in the House of Representatives over the last decade which were intended to approve a land settlement claim favoring the Bay Mills Indian Community and paving the way for them to build an off-reservation casino in Port Huron, MI in partnership with Detrot casino syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr., and his syndication affiliate Blue Water Resorts. That proposal is also supported by Mike and Marian Ilitch (They own the Detroit Red Wings and co-founded Little Caesars pizza stores. He owns the Detroit Tigers. She owns Detroit's MotorCity Casino) and other members of their family. The Michigan congressional delegation has been split on the Malik/Bay Mills proposal.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ilitch makes rare TV appearance; takes credit for whatever's good in Detroit right now

Christopher Ilitch, CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. made a rare appearance on CNBC this week. The Ilitch family had hoped their Detroit Red Wings would win the 2009 Stanley Cup and Little Caesars pizza is celebrating its 50th annivesary. Ilitch appears to be Detroit's only voice of optimism these days. He's a one man band when it comes to promoting Detroit. He claims his family's business are the one thing that brings hope to Detroiters otherwise terminal economy.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Revenue rises at struggling Greektown but Ilitch-owned MotorCity Casino sees declines again

According to various news accounts, the latest revenue results released by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), indicate the overall gaming market in Detroit saw a 4.2% decline in May; however, Greektown Casino-Hotel appears to have bucked the trend for the fourth month in a row with a stunning 7.2% year-over-year revenue increase for the month. (At the time of this post, Data had yet to be posted to the MGCB web site.)

Greektown was the only Detroit casino to see an increase, while revenues at MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino dropped 10.9% and 3.6% respectively.

It should be noted that Greektown in particular has struggled financially in recent years and in May 2008 filed for bankruptcy protection. So, bragging rights about revenue growth at Greektown in May 2009 as compared to May 2008 should be tempered. May 2008 represented perhaps the lowest point in Greektown's financial health.

Despite a major renovation at MotorCity Casino including the addition off theaters, conference and restaurant amenities, and a 400-room luxury hotel, it has generally failed to meet financial expectations since Marian Ilitch acquired control of the property from MGM Mirage in 2005. Both Moody's and Standard & Poor's have now established a steady pattern of declining credit ratings for MotorCity's financial parent during this period.

Among numerous other affiliates, Ilitch controls CCM Merger, Inc. which is the highly leveraged financial parent of Detroit Entertainment LLC (DELLC) which is the entity that does business as (dba) MotorCity Casino. In December 2008, CCM Merger broke its financial convenants and as a result, investors demanded Marian Ilitch inject $45 million cash into the enterprise.

Financial results published by MGCB

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Ilitch must announce intentions for Joe Louis Arena June 30

Bill Shea at Crain's Detroit Business blogs:

... Mike and Marian Ilitch, the franchise’s owners [Detroit Red Wings] since 1982, have until June 30 to tell Detroit if they will modernize the 30-year-old, city-owned Joe Louis Arena or construct a new venue that likely would cost $300 million to $400 million.

Renovating Joe Louis reportedly could cost $180 million or more.

The lease expires July 1, 2010, but the Ilitches are contractually obligated to tell the city a year ahead of time their intentions. Doing nothing renews the lease for 20 years.

The team and city have been hush-hush about their Joe Louis talks. Scuttlebutt says the Ilitches want an extension to continue negotiations while they map out a plan for a new venue — likely on the land in the Foxtown area they’ve been buying up in recent years. (Full Post)

Monday, June 08, 2009

Is Marian Ilitch behind plans to develop Indian casino at New York's Belmont Park Race Track?

Detroit's Marian Ilitch and her casino and real estate partner Michael J. Malik, Sr., formed the casino syndicate Gateway Casino Resorts in 2003 to pursue Indian gaming ventures with the Shinnecock Indian Nation of New York. The tribe is not yet federally recognized by the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, but has a reservation in Southampton, NY.

Ilitch and affiliates are reportedly paying the Shinnecock's legal and lobbying bills and if the tribe wins federal recognition, Ilitch and affiliates would have the exclusive right to develop and manage any casino resort the tribe would develop and operate. According to Opensecrets.org, they have spent more than $1.6 million alone in federal lobbying activities.

Initially Ilitch and partners sought to develop a 65,000 square foot casino project in Hampton Bays part of Long Island's posh Hamptons resort area -- 4.3 miles from the tribe's offices and 85 miles from New York's Times Square. The tribe owns property known as "The Westwoods" north of Newtown Rd. and broke ground on that project in 2003. That project has subsequently met with much resistance and is stalled.

In 2007, Ilitch and her partners, made a bid that would have allowed Gateway and the Shinnecock to develop a casino resort project on the grounds of the Aqueduct Race Track in Queens, NY -- approximately 14 miles from Times Square. That casino would have been 495,000 square foot -- 7.5 times the size of the original casino proposed for the Hamptons and 4.5 times larger than Ilitch's MotorCity Casino in Detroit.

Now the Shinnecock tribe, which has had its desire for federal recognition fast-tracked thanks to funding and support from Ilitch and affiliates, is bidding to develop and operate a casino project at Belmont Park Race Track -- approximately 19 miles from New York's Times Square. Presumably Ilitch's affiliates are part of this latest Shinnecock casino scheme.

Marian Ilitch and her husband Mike Ilitch own the Detroit Red Wings NHL franchise and c0-founded Little Caesars pizza stores. He also owns the Detroit Tigers and she owns the struggling MotorCity Casino, one of three large Las Vegas-style casino properties in Detroit. Their parent company is the privately held Ilitch Holdings, Inc.

Google Map of various casino sites
as proposed by Shinnecock/Gateway


View Various Proposed Shinnecock Casino Sites in a larger map

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Shinnecock Indians eye casino at Belmont Park racetrack

6.04.09

Indian tribe eyes Belmont Park for casino

By FRANK ELTMAN

NEW YORK (AP) — You can't bet on the biggest longshot at Belmont Park — not yet, anyway.

The finish line is still far off, but for a tiny Indian tribe eking out a living in the heart of one the world's richest communities, Long Island's famed racetrack could be the place where their fortunes change.

As the thoroughbred racing world turns its attention to Saturday's 141st Belmont Stakes, members of the Shinnecock Indian tribe have said in recent days they are willing to consider Belmont Park as the location for the casino they want to open.

The track is located just outside New York City, meaning millions in the metropolitan area could satisfy a gambling yen without a trip to Atlantic City or to Indian-run casinos in Connecticut, both at least 90 minutes away. But there are many hurdles to leap before the roulette wheels start spinning.

The Shinnecock, whose earlier plans for a casino in Southampton sent shudders through their wealthy neighbors in 2003, reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior last week that speeds up the process for the tribe to receive formal recognition by the Bureau of Indian Affairs — necessary before any tribe can even consider opening a gambling facility. Tribal representatives were in Washington on Wednesday, where they were expected to make their case for federal recognition, which the tribe has been seeking since 1978.

"As Indian people, even though we've maintained who we are for generations, and surrounded by some of the wealthiest communities in the country, perhaps this recognition will help some of our neighbors better understand us and foster a new mutual respect," said Shinnecock trustee Randy King.

"We have long prided ourselves on the good relationship we have had with the state of New York and the local community around our reservation," Shinnecock trustee Gordell Wright said. "We fully intend to remain good neighbors as we pursue opportunities to provide jobs for our people."

Interior Department officials are reviewing ancestral records and other historical documents of the tribe before determining whether the Shinnecocks meet the recognition criteria, said BIA spokeswoman Nedra Darling. The tribe had sought to circumvent the federal approval process by seeking recognition in federal court, but a judge rejected that effort in 2007.

Even with federal recognition, the tribe would have to have other federal and state approvals. A preliminary decision on recognition is expected by Dec. 15, and final approval could come sometime next year. In addition to being able to operate a casino, the Shinnecock would be eligible for federal grants and other funding.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which runs one of two of Connecticut's lucrative casinos — Foxwoods — said it wished the Shinnecock well in its bid for federal recognition, but spokeswoman Lori A. Potter declined comment on whether it supports a possible Shinnecock casino.

"The people in the surrounding communities have indicated support," said Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi; the track, about 70 miles from the Shinnecock reservation in Southampton, is in his county.

"This could be a home run. Belmont is the ideal location both for the operators of a casino, the residents and the local governments. If it is going to be in the region, I'd rather see it at Belmont," Suozzi added.

Tribal leaders are keeping their intentions close to the vest, saying only that they are willing to negotiate with state leaders on a location for any casino. "Anything between Suffolk (on eastern Long Island) and the Catskills could be an appropriate site," said Shinnecock trustee Fred Bess.

Added King: "We're even willing to consider locations not currently on the table."

But Belmont seems to be getting much of the attention from politicians handicapping the possibilities. State and local officials have been discussing improvements at Belmont and its surrounding community for the past several years. There has been talk of building hotels and restaurants, but few concrete proposals have come to fruition.

Suozzi, a possible contender for statewide office in 2010, said he would want to ensure school districts and local governments benefit from the income a casino would bring, and said many other questions remained before he would give his full endorsement. "We'd like to see enhancements to the local community as part of any agreement," he said.

About 500 Shinnecock tribal members now live in modest homes on a 1,200-acre reservation in Southampton. Nearby, some of the richest people in the world, including Wall Street power brokers and Hollywood celebrities, have sprawling estates worth tens of millions.

As a seaside tribe, the Shinnecocks for decades depended on fishing and whaling to support themselves. Later, the nation leased its land to local area farmers for their crops, mainly potatoes and corn.

Many of those still on the reservation work as craftspeople and artists. Others work in a variety of mainstream jobs around Long Island. They see the prospects of a casino, and the millions it could bring, as a way out of their modest circumstances.

An earlier tribal proposal to open a casino near their Southampton property ignited a stir, with some officials claiming the bucolic beauty of Long Island's east end would be adversely impacted by the influx of thousands of gamblers — not just in the summer when the Hamptons' population surges, but year-round.

A casino at Belmont, where there are major highways nearby, as well as a Long Island Rail Road station, would ease those concerns.

When the Shinnecocks broke ground in 2003 on their proposed Southampton casino, town officials raced into federal court and got an injunction to stop it. Since then, Suffolk County officials formed a task force to study the issue; County Executive Steve Levy said he is waiting for the results of that study before taking a position.

Outside the Elmont Public Library on Wednesday, residents had differing views of a Belmont casino's impact on the community.

"The biggest factor that bothers me is the excess traffic," said Giovanni Soto. "I'm not concerned with regards to crime and stuff. I've been to other casinos and it seems in general that hasn't been a problem."

Zahid Chaudry said he wanted no part of a casino. "It's just going to be a hangout for the wrong crowd," he said. "The crowd that just wants to make fast money easily. They're not working for it and that's not the type of people the hard-working people of Elmont want."

Jean Charles agreed that a casino at Belmont "is a longshot." But he said he would welcome it if it happened. "I think we're grown up enough to handle a casino. It would bring in good money."

A spokesman for a Democratic state senator in the area called the Belmont idea "an intriguing and exciting possibility." Republican state Sen. Dean Skelos's spokesman said more information is needed, but he "would be open" to an Indian-run casino at Belmont.

The Shinnecocks have also expressed interest in nearby Aqueduct racetrack, and said it is still a possibility.

New York Gov. David Paterson's administration is reviewing bids now for by several consortiums that want to run a video slot machine center at Aqueduct, about five minutes' ride from Belmont. The state was counting on about $250 million in annual revenue from 4,500 video slot machines and jobs for 1,200 people at the Queens track.

In March, the original bid winner, Buffalo-based Delaware North, said the credit collapse on Wall Street forced it to seek a restructuring of its video slots proposal because it could no longer provide the $370 million in upfront payments to the state.

Alan Meister, an economist with the Los Angeles-based Analysis Group, compiles the annual Indian Gaming Industry Report. He said so-called "racinos" have become popular at racetracks around the country in recent years; one such racino operates at Yonkers Raceway, north of New York City. He said because the Shinnecocks have yet to commit to a location or type of gambling operation, it is difficult to predict success.

"There is a potential to grow the market," Meister conceded.

Meister's report for 2007 — the latest figures available — noted that 230 tribes were operating 425 gaming facilities in 28 states, generating $26.5 billion in gaming revenue, a 5 percent increase over the previous year.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ilitch has long-standing conflict of interest, Selig looks the other way

An article on SportsColumn.com, "MLB Ramps Up Casino Partnerships," by writer Diane M. Grassi asks:
How does MLB oversee those sponsorships between MLB teams and casino operations which allow legal sports betting on their premises?...

...In Detroit there appears to be a long-standing conflict of interest with respect to the ownership of the Detroit Tigers as well as the MotorCity Casino, purchased by Ilitch Holdings, Inc. in 2005, which purportedly owns both entities simultaneously.

Michael Ilitch and his wife, Marion Ilitch [Marian Ilitch], are listed as the Tigers’ owner and the MotorCity Casino owner, respectively. The question arose when it was revealed that Marian Ilitch is Vice Chairman of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. which also owns the Detroit Tigers. But Ilitch friend and Commissioner Bud Selig overlooked the proprietary conflict and asked his staff to stand-down...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Court Settlement fast-tracks Shinnecock recognition, casino plans

5.26.09

Shinnecock Indians Contemplate a Casino as They Close In on Federal Recognition

By DANNY HAKIM

The Shinnecock Indian Nation cleared a major hurdle toward its goal of federal recognition on Tuesday when it entered into a settlement with the Interior Department that requires a preliminary ruling on its tribal status by the end of the year.

Shinnecock leaders would like to run the first casino in downstate New York, and wrote to Gov. David A. Paterson on Tuesday, citing the settlement as an impetus to begin talks with the state on a range of issues.

After a court fight of more than 30 years, the Shinnecocks believe that federal recognition is in their grasp; they have long been recognized by the state, and a federal judge described them as a sovereign tribe in a 2005 ruling. The settlement gives the federal government until Dec. 15 to make a preliminary ruling on the Shinnecocks’ status.

The implications for New York could be considerable.

The Shinnecocks are based in Southampton, N.Y. Once federally recognized, they would immediately have the right to build a “Class II” casino on their 800-acre reservation, a designation that would mean they could have thousands of video slot machines, but no table games. Like other tribes, the Shinnecocks see a casino as a way to lift their members out of poverty, a condition highlighted by the tribe’s proximity to the extravagance of the Hamptons. (Complete Story)


TVT Note: The Shinnecock plans are being bankrolled by Gateway Casino Resorts, a casino syndication affiliate formed by Detroit's Marian Ilitch and Michael J. Malik, Sr. in 2003. They have spent $1.6 million on federal lobbying expenses alone.

Ilitch and her husband Mike Ilitch own the Detroit Red Wings and co-founded Little Caesars pizza stores. She owns Detroit's MotorCity Casino and he owns the Detroit Tigers. Their interests are closley held by the family owned Ilitch Holdings, Inc.

Ilitch partner delinquent on Harsens Island property taxes

A search of records available at the St. Clair County Equalization Department indicates casino syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr. is delinquent on 2008 property taxes due and payable for nine parcels of land on Harsens Island owned by his affiliate Lucky 7 Development LLC.

The nine parcels have a 2009 equalized value of $1,224,500. Malik's delinquent 2008 tax bills total $9,417.57.

Malik had attempted to win approval to develop a marina on the Harsens Island property in the 1990s. More recently he has resurrected those plans and expanded them to include clustered residential units and estate lots. His latest plans however, have also failed to win approvals from local and state agencies.

Malik is partners with the Detroit's Ilitch family on various casino and real estate ventures. For more than a decade, he has pushed plans to develop a Bay Mills Indian casino in Port Huron, MI. Those plans are also supported by members of the Ilitch family. Mrs. Marian Ilitch owns Detroit's MotorCity Casino.

Lucky 7 Development LLC was originally formed by Denise Ilitch and her former husband Jim Lites.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ilitch partner enters settlement agreement in fraudulent transfers case

Michael J. Malik, Sr., has entered into a Settlement Agreement filed in Florida Federal Court in which a court appointed Receiver (Michael I. Goldberg) contends Malik received $620,000 in fraudulent transfers. Under terms of the Agreement, Malik has twelve months to repay the Receivership or face further penalty.

The case against Malik (Goldberg v. Malik) stems from a $300 million ponzi scheme case the SEC brought against one-time concert promoter John P. Utisck (Jack Utsick) and his affiliates including Worldwide Entertainment.

Court records indicate Bruce Glatman, believed to be a California resident, was the matchmaker who brought Malik together with then Florida-based Utsick. Utsick has since taken asylum in Brazil. It's not clear how Glatman came to know Malik or the scope of other dealings between Glatman and Malik.

Malik's primary business attorney William Serwer was also involved in the transactions that resulted in the fraudulent transfers.

Malik has been the gambling and casino development partner of Detroit's Marian Ilitch for more than a decade. They bankrolled efforts during the 1990s to legalize gambling in Detroit. She is now sole owner of Detroit's MotorCity Casino.

Mrs. Ilitch and her husband Mike Ilitch are co-founders of Little Caesar's Pizza and owners of the Detroit Red Wings hockey franchise. Mike Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers baseball team.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

AZ Game and Fish Commission denies appeal by Michael J. Malik

As TVT previously posted, Detroit-based Michael J. Malik, Sr., requested the Arizona Game and Fish Commission reconsider its December 2008 decision to suspend Malik's right to hunt, trap and fish in Arizona and more than 30 other states including Michigan for a period of five years and assess Malik with a $14,995 fine.

The Commission entertained and denied Malik's request at its 4.17.09 meeting. He apparently has a 30-day window to make an appeal to the Arizona Superior Court.

On 8.29.08, Arizona's Pinetop Justice Court found Malik guilty of discharging a firearm while stalking elk within the quarter-mile limit of occupied residences. (See: Michigan man found guilty on charge stemming from elk hunt).

That criminal conviction authorized the Commission to take civil action against Malik at its 12.05.08 meeting. (See: Michigan man assessed $14,995 for killing trophy elk near homes).

Malik reportedly has yet to pay the $14,995 civil fine assessed by the Commission in December 2008.

Malik is the gambling and casino development partner of Detroit's Marian Ilitch. She is sole owner of MotorCity Casino. Mrs. Ilitch and her husband Mike Ilitch are founders of Little Caesar's Pizza and owners of the Detroit Red Wings hockey franchise. Mike Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers baseball team.


Malik's Growing Record of Illegal Activity

In 1999, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) failed to grant Malik a gambling license and he was forced to divest himself of interest in Detroit's MotorCity Casino. Among other things, it was reported that Malik had been arrested in 1997 and accused of beating a girlfriend's 12-year-old son. He served a year of probation in the matter.

Since the MGCB denied Malik a license, he has developed a growing record of illegal activity:

  • The criminal and civil actions in Arizona noted above related to Malik's illegal discharge of a firearm. He's been assessed multiple fines and stripped for the next five years of his right to hunt in 32 states.

  • Malik has twice (2006 & 2009) been found guilty of, and fined for, violating California's political reform laws. Over the course of several election cycles, he's simply failed to report more than $52,000 in political contributions.

  • Fifth Third Bank, a Michigan Banking Corporation filed a complaint in Oakland County Court on 4.03.09 (Fifth Third Bank v. Michael M. Malik, Sr.) alleging Malik was in Default on a $1 million line of credit that had come due on 9.01.08.

  • In April, Malik entered into a Settlement Agreement (Goldberg v. Malik) with a court appointed Receiver who contends Malik received more than $620,00 in fraudulent transfers. Malik has twelve months to repay the funds as agreed. That action is related to a $300 million ponzi scheme case brought by the SEC against Worldwide Entertainment and promoter Jack Utsick who has since taken asylum in Brazil.

Is this known record of illegal activity a red flag that there's more?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Revenues at MotorCity Casino fell 5.3% in April

According to a story, "Greektown Casino reports slight gain in April revenue," published in Crain's Detroit Business:

MotorCity Casino Hotel had April revenue of $38.5 million, posting a 7.4 percent decrease compared to March and a 5.3 percent drop compared to April 2008.

In December 2008 revenues at MotorCity Casino fell 11.25% and CMM Merger Inc., parent of MotorCity Casino, failed to meet lending convenants so angry investors demanded owner Marian Ilitch inject $45 million cash into the Detroit gaming enterprise that struggles even after expanding its gaming floor space and adding a luxury hotel to the property. Ilitch acquired 100% control of MotorCity Casino from MGM Mirage and various other investors in 2005.

According to reports published by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) over all year-to-date revenues at a highly leveraged MotorCity Casino are down 1.7% compared to the same period in 2008.

MGCB: Detroit Casino Revenue Reports

Ilitch Malik Gaming Affiliates paid D.C. lobbyists nearly $5 million pushing Indian casinos

(Click table below for larger view)

Updated analysis of federal lobbying expenses from 2002 through 2008 indicate gaming affiliates/partners of Mrs. Marian Ilitch and Michael J. Malik, Sr. paid Washington, D.C., lobbying firms $4,835,000 to advance various plans for Indian casino developments in New York (Shinnecock Indian Nation), Michigan (Bay Mills Indian Community) and California (Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians & Big Lagoon Rancheria). The data was obtained from records onfile with the U.S. Senate Office of Public Records and Opensecrets.org.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Detroit casino to benefit from Obama stimulus package



According to blogger Brian Darling at HumanEvents.com; the Obama stimulus package includes:
"$1.5 million to improve the parking garages and roads surrounding the Greektown Casino development in Detroit."
Detroit's Greektown Casino filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection back in May. Greektown Casino, one of three commercially operated casinos in Detroit, is owned primarily by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Tom Celani, a former founding partner in Detroit's MotorCity Casino along with Marian Ilitch and Michael J. Malik, Sr., tried to buy controlling interest in Greektown Casino back in January, according to a story published in the Detroit News, but that transaction was never consumated.


But now, according to BackRoomNews.com:
"Tom Celani, a Bloomfield Hills businessman and investor, is trying to buy Greektown Casino in downtown Detroit.

Celani, who was an initial investor in Motor City Casino, has partnered with a Connecticut-based hedge fund called Plainfield to bid for Greektown, which is being marketed to buyers through bankruptcy proceedings.

Celani says he expects he is among up to four bidders interested in the casino, which generates $300 million a year in annual revenue. Celani would not disclose the amount of his bid.

'I understand the property very well … I’ve been in the casino business for 20 years. Gaming is what we enjoy,' Celani said. 'I’d love to do it in my hometown.' "

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ilitch VP takes over as agent of affiliates pursuing New York casino

Documents filed with the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth indicate John Kotlar, Vice President of Tax Affairs at Detroit-based Ilitch Holdings, Inc. has replaced attorney William D. Serwer as Resident Agent of:
Originally organized in September 2003 as Empire Ventures, L.L.C.; one month later Serwer changed the entity’s name to Empire Associates, L.L.C.; and then in January 2004 he changed the entity’s name to Gateway Casino Resorts, L.L.C.

Serwer remains as Resident Agent of Gateway Manager, Inc., an assumed affiliate, which has yet to file a 2009 Annual Report.

Serwer, primary business attorney for gambling promoter Michael J. Malik, Sr., and his numerous affiliates, has been Resident Agent for dozens of Malik affiliates dating back to the early 1990s.

Malik and Mrs. Marian Ilitch are reportedly the principals behind the Gateway affiliates which were organized to pursue casino development opportunities with the Shinnecock Indian Nation on Long Island, NY. Gateway had pursued opportunities to manage future gambling operations at New York's Aqueduct Racetrack.

Mirroring the Gateway changes, Kotlar also recently replaced Serwer as Resident Agent of several other Malik/Ilitch gambling affiliates (Barwest, LCB Barwest, etc.) originally organized to pursue casino development and management opportunities in Barstow, CA.

Ilitch is the owner of Detroit’s MotorCity Casino. She’s vice chairwoman of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. which is the parent company of Little Caesars pizza (co-founded with husband Mike Ilitch), Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, Olympia Entertainment and scores of other Ilitch Family controlled affiliates.

See Comprehensive List: Malik/Ilitch Family Affiliates

Forbes reports drop in Ilitch net worth; value of Detroit Tigers


In it’s March 2009 ranking of “The World’s Billionaires,” Forbes is calculating the net worth of Detroit’s Mike Ilitch at $1.4 billion. In September 2008, as part of its annual ranking of the “400 Richest Americans,” Forbes had estimated Ilitch’s net worth at $1.6 billion.

As part of its Billionaires List coverage, Forbes writer Claire Obusan reports:

"Pizza patriarch and sports team owner Michael Ilitch fell off the Forbes 400 in 2005 after other tycoons outpaced his $815 net worth. Ilitch bounced back a year later after revamping his Little Caesars pizza chain and watching the value of his two pro sports teams, the Detroit Redwings [sic] and Detroit Tigers, soar. In 2006 his net worth rose to $1.5 billion, and his sports and pizza empire have since successfully weathered the current recession. Ilitch's net worth was estimated at $1.4 billion this March, down 13% from 2008."
As we previously reported, in its annual valuation of Baseball teams published this week, Forbes estimates the value of Ilitch’s Detroit Tigers dropped 9% in the last year and Forbes analysts anticipate further financial woes for the team during the 2009 season.

The gambling hall owned by Ilitch's wife, Marian Ilitch, is facing financial woes as well. Investors demanded earlier this year that Ilitch inject MotorCity Casino with $45 million cash; and Moody's has now placed the casino property's parent company, CCM Merger, Inc., on its "Bottom Rung" list anticipating the company will go into default.

Here are links to see how Ilitch and his various affiliates currently rank on Forbes’ various annual lists:

Forbes reports Detroit Tigers lost $26M; saw 9% drop in value

4.22.09


The Business Of Baseball
#21 Detroit Tigers

The skinny
Just two seasons after reaching the World Series the Detroit Tigers won only 74 games in 2008. The Tigers managed to accomplish this despite having a $136 million payroll, fourth highest in baseball. But Tiger fans stayed faithful, with a team-record 3.2 million of them pouring through the turnstiles. Billionaire owner and pizza chain king Michael Ilitch is taking a big risk this season, albeit probably a necessary one: With the Detroit economy crumbling he is raising ticket prices for "premium games" by $2 to $7 and many season ticket holders are getting a similar price hike. With the auto companies imploding and discretionary income plummeting for many fans, Ilitch's strategy looks like it has backfired. Season ticket holders have fallen [44%] from 27,000 in 2008 to a reported 15,000 this year. If attendance does not pick up during the summer, Ilitch will no doubt regret this gamble.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ilitch VP replaces Malik attorney as resident agent of gambling affiliates

According to documents filed with the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth, John Kotlar, Vice President of Tax Affairs at Ilitch Holdings, Inc. has replaced attorney William D. Serwer as Resident Agent of:
Serwer, primary business attorney for gambling promoter Michael J. Malik, Sr., and his numerous affiliates had been Resident Agent of these entities since they were formed. Serwer has been Resident Agent for most Malik controlled affiliates dating back to the early 1990s.

Serwer remains as resident agent for the following affiliates which have yet to file 2009 Annual Reports:
It has been reported that Malik and Mrs. Marian Ilitch are the principals behind the Barwest entities which were formed beginning in 2003 to advance casino development projects in Barstow, CA.

Ilitch is the owner of Detroit’s MotorCity Casino and vice chairwoman of Ilitch Holdings, the parent company of Little Caesars pizza, Detroit Tiger, Detroit Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment and various other sports, restaurant, entertainment and real estate ventures. Kotlar is resident agent for most entities under the Ilitch Holdings umbrella.

A legally binding Stipulation on file in California and signed by Malik indicates that:
“Barwest, LLC, is a casino development company based in Detroit, Michigan. At the time of the prior enforcement action [Aug. 2006], Respondent Malik was a non-majority partner in Barwest, LLC, with some - but not full – decision making authority.”
See comprehensive list: Companies controlled by the Ilitch Family and/or Malik.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Detroit-based Michael Malik wants AZ Commission to reconsider five-year hunting license revocation and $14,995 fine


An official Notice & Agenda for a 4.17.09 meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission indicates a tenacious Detroit-based Michael J. Malik, Sr., seeks a rehearing on a decision the Commission made in December 2008.

At that meeting, the Commission fined Malik $14,995 for shooting a trophy elk too close to residences without the permission of the homeowners; and revoked his right to hunt, fish and trap in Arizona and 32 other states for the next five years. Item 11 on the Notice & Agenda for the 4.17.09 meeting read:
    Item 11
    Presenter: Gene Elms, Law Enforcement Branch Chief. Rehearing Request Regarding Previous License Revocation/Civil Assessment. Mr. Michael Malik has requested that the Arizona Game and Fish Commission grant a rehearing regarding the action taken on revoking his licenses to hunt, fish, and trap for a period of five (5) years, invoking a civil assessment of $8,000.00, and further requiring that he complete a Hunter Education course before obtaining any license in the State of Arizona. The Commission may vote to affirm or modify its decision, or grant a rehearing.
Malik was found guilty in Arizona's Pinetop Justice Court on 8.29.08 of discharging a firearm within the quarter-mile limit of occupied residences while taking elk. (See: Michigan man found guilty on charge stemming from elk hunt).

The criminal conviction authorized the Commission to take civil action against Malik which it did at its 12.05.08 meeting. (See: Michigan man assessed $14,995 for killing trophy elk near homes).

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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

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certainly must reads!

Ilitch has backed loosing sports teams and pizza, but casinos in Detroit? Forbes.com 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 newsday.com 06.16.05 ● Ilitch Plans to Expand Casino Empire RGTonline.com 07.05.05 ● Ilitch outbids partners MichiganDaily.com 04.14.05 ● Ilitch enmeshed in NY casino dispute detnews.com 03.20.05 ● Marian Ilitch, high roller freep.com 03.20.05 ● MGM Mirage to Decide on Offer for Casino in Detroit rgtonline.com 04.16.05 ● Secret deal for MotorCity alleged freep.com 02.15.05 ● Los Coyotes get new developer desertdispatch.com 02.08.05 Detroit casino figure to finance Barstow project LasVegasSun.com 07.07.03 ● Indian Band trying to put casino in Barstow signonSanDiego.com 06.04.03 Pizza matriarch takes on casino roles detnews.com 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 Michigan.gov 01.01.00 ● Detroit Team to run Michigan’s newest Indian casino detnews.com 05.23.99 Tiger ties tangle Marian Ilitch detnews.com 04.29.99 ● Three investors must sell their Detroit casino interests gamblingmagazine.com 04.25.99 ● Partners’ cash revived election; They say money was crucial to Prop-E detnews.com 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 detnews.com 04.25.99 Can a pair win a jackpot?: local men hope to... crainsdetroit.com 03.17.97

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