This dog and pony show is certainly an educational outreach effort intended to win friends and influence people who can help the tribe and its Detroit-based investors group develop casinos on Long Island.
As reported in the Daily News, an investors group known as Gateway Casino Resorts, was formed by Detroiters Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik for the sole purpose of partnering with the Shinnecock to advance various casino development proposals on Long Island. Crain's Detroit Business reported that they could spend upwards of $1 billion developing Long Island casino projects.
Ilitch and her husband Mike co-founded the Little Caesars pizza chain. He owns the Detroit Tigers. Marian Ilitch bought controlling interest in Detroit's MotorCity Casino from Las Vegas-based Mandalay Resorts in 2005.
Since Ilitch took the helm, MotorCity Casino and its parent company CCM Merger, Inc., have been faced with financial woes. Ilitch got the gambling hall deeper in debt by building on a hotel and conference space. As such, the company was too highly leveraged. In fact, so leveraged that she was in violation of covenants with nervous investors. Investors demanded that Ilitch personally inject MotorCity Casino with $45 million cash; and Moody's placed the casino property's parent company, CCM Merger, Inc., on its "Bottom Rung" list anticipating the company could go into default.
Michael Malik is a controversial syndicator who, despite representations, has failed to develop any new casinos since he and Ilitch parted company with former partner Tom Celani more than a decade ago.
Somehow, the "impoverished tribe" and its investors group have spent nearly $2.3 million lobbying for their casino plans in Washington, D.C. In addition, according to information available at OpenSecrets.org, Malik and the Ilitches have already dropped at least $120,000 in the campaign war-chests of Governor Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Reps. Charlie Rangel and Tim Bishop.