Monday, January 05, 2009

List of Michigan donors to Alaskan's Midnight Sun PAC is rather Dis-Honorable

The list of donors from Michign who have ever given money to the Midnight Sun PAC, Rep. Don Young's so-called leadership PAC, is rather short as one might expect given Young hails from Alaska. Just five donors. But those five donors, some bordering on infamous, made seven contributions totaling $23,500.

Further, a review of the short-list reveals a rather "Dis-Honorable Roll" of donors.
Ironically, book-ending this list are Detroiters Herbert J. Strather and Michael J. Malk, Sr.; one time partners, who respectively made the first and last contributions Midnight Sun PAC has ever received from Michigan donors. And sandwiched in the middle is Daniel J. Aronoff.

Malik and Strather were behind the legalization of commercial gambling in Detroit and were considered founders of Detroit's MotorCity Casino. However, the pair were among a handful of "investors" who were disqualified from receiving gaming licenses by the Michigan Gambling Control Board (MGCB) and as such had to dump their interests in the casino before it could open its doors. Among various considerations, Malik had recently been arrested for beating the 12-year-old son of a girlfriend and reportedly had IRS issues; and Strather, among other things, had previously been convicted of bribery.

For nearly a decade, Mike Malik has sought Rep. Young's help advancing unorthodox plans the casino syndicator is bankrolling for an Indian Casino in Port Huron, Michigan; and other earmark matters involving the Bay Mills Indian Community. (Anchorage Daily News: Alaska's Young a leader in Michigan Indian casino fight).

In 2005-06, Malik and his partners, members of Detroit's Ilitch family, were among the top five donors to Young's political committee and they gave Young the highest grossing day of fundraising he had in that entire two year campaign cycle . Only those affiliated with Veco (Bill Allen, Rick Smith), JHT Holdings (Dennis Troha) and Carnival Corp. contributed more than Malik/Ilitch Family. Vecco execs have plead guilty to political corruption charges and Troha has already been indicted on similar charges he "reimbursed" family members who contributed to various candidates.

Mike Malik is developing a pattern of political campaign finance violations. His affiliate Barwest LLC (another of his partnerships with Detroit's Marian Ilitch) was found to have violated California's political reform laws on two counts for failing to disclose a $26,600 contribution it made to former Rep. Richard Pombo's County GOP Victory Committee. Malik used Barwest to front private aircraft travel for Rep. Young.

Malik is the subject of an ongoing investigation by California's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) because he denied making another $26,000+ in contributions to the committees of various California lawmakers in 2006 -- at the same time the previous FPPC investigation was concluding.

Strather & Dalgleish
Similarly, Herb Strather has bankrolled efforts to get approvals needed to build a large casino resort on Cape Cod in partnership with the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Tribe. Young sat as Chair, Vice Chair and then ranking member of the House Resources Committee which has oversight for Indian matters.

Strather put $4 million into a hidden fund that enabled his partner, former tribal chairman Glenn Marshall, to carry out a scheme of illegal campaign finance activity including reimbursements to other so-called "donors." Marshall and other such "donors" from the tribe contributed to Midnight Sun PAC on the same date Strather and Mary Ann Dalgleish, a Strather & Associates Vice President, contributed to the PAC. We will assume Strather knew better than to reimburse Dalgleish for her contribution.

Dalgleish was apparently one of 100+ "investors" Strather recruited to syndicate Atwater Entertainment Associates LLC in the mid-1990s although Dalgleish had a personal history of financial hardship. AEA is the entity Strather syndicated to bankroll the legalization of gaming in Detroit and start MotorCity Casino. Dalgleish may also have been an investor in AtMashpee LLC, the syndication Strather organized to bankroll the Mashpee Wampanoag casino plans.

Appearing predictably on the PAC list three times -- and of all things, at the center of the list -- is Daniel Aronoff, perhaps so far the most publicly notorious donor on this list. (Note that the entry for Aronoff's most recent contribution has his last name misspelled as Aaronoff -- error or intention?).

Aronoff owns land in Florida and is the Michigan-based real estate developer at the center of the scandal and investigation into a $10 million earmark advanced by Rep. Young that was designated for improvements to the Coconut Road interchange off Florida's I-75. The project would have significant value to Aronoff who was a prodigious fundraiser for Young.

Aronoff, Malik and Strather have similar patterns of interaction with Young and have been significant bundlers/fundraisers for Young's various political committees, GOP causes and closest allies (former Reps Richard Pombo, John Doolittle, etc.). They've flown Young around in private aircraft, organized fundraisers, hired the some of the same notorious lobbyists and in exchange, sought help from Rep. Young above and beyond the norm.

The fifth Michigan donor on the list is Dennis Wend, who is referred to as a government employee albeit the only government employee from Michigan to contribute to Midnight Sun PAC -- and contribute $3,000.

Wend is executive director of technology transfer at the United States Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, located at the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren. He contributed to Midnight Sun PAC only after he was given the spotlight in 2004 & 2005 at Alaska's Clean Energy Symposium I & II.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing the job no Alaskan-based media or bloggers want to deal with.

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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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