Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ilitch affiliate retains former U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato's lobbying firm to push New York Casino plans for Shinnecock

Gateway Casino Resorts retains
Park Strategies lobbyists
Detroiter Michael Malik and his Gateway Casino Resorts syndicate have entered into an agreement with former U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato to retain his Park Strategies, LLC, lobbying firm in support of plans to build casinos on Long Island in partnership with the Shinnecock Indian Nation. D’Amato’s firm will be paid a monthly retainer of $15,000 ($180,000 annually) plus other expenses.

Gateway has been pursuing approvals for casino development with the Shinnecock tribe for nearly a decade.  This is the first time Gateway has filed New York lobbying disclosures or reported it hired lobbyists.  Gateway currently has designs on a casino site at Belmont Park near the Triple Crown Belmont race track.  That location would be in Nassau County.  The Shinnecock have a reservation in the Hamptons area of Suffolk County. Note that one of D’Amato’s Park Strategies colleagues is Anthony Cancellieri, the former Chief Deputy County Executive of Nassau County.

Since 2005, the Shinnecock Nation Gaming Authority, with financial support from Gateway (Malik, his partner Marian Ilitch and any other investors), has paid other New York state lobbyists more than $1.5 million in pursuit of casino approvals.  On average they've been paying New York lobbying firms $20,000 per month.  That suggests going forward they will be paying $35,000 - $40,000 per month doubling what they have been paying to state lobbyists.

Additionally, Gateway and the Shinnecock have paid Washington, D.C. lobbyists $2.33 million to win federal approvals needed to move forward with casino development.

In recent campaign cycles, Malik and members of Detroit’s Ilitch Family have bundled and dumped more than $117,000 into campaign war chests  benefiting a select handful (5) of New York’s top ranking politicians including Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York’s U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressmen Charlie Rangel and Tim Bishop, the latter’s Long Island district includes the Shinnecock Reservation.

NOTE: Al D'Amato is the Chairman of the Poker Players Alliance (  A professional group of lobbyist and public affairs pros who advocate for the expansion of online gambling.  Poker Players Alliance has reported spending $15 million on D.C. lobbying to push online gambling.

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