Friday, November 04, 2011

Detroiter Malik Says He's Been Planning Belmont Race Track Casino for 6+ Years; But He Has Yet to Meet with NYRA Officials


By Rich Forestano 
Renderings of casino displayed for local businesses

Belmont Racetrack has played host to events as large as third-leg of the Triple Crown and as small, but still of importance, as 5K charity walk/runs. If a Detroit-based hotel/casino resort development company has its way, the corridor of Elmont and a “gateway” to the rest of Long Island, will go through a considerable change.

left to right: Michael McKeon, Lance Boldrey,
John Waihee, Michael Malik
Developer Michael Malik presented renderings of a preliminary plan to the Elmont Chamber of Commerce last Thursday, Oct. 20. Malik’s colleagues Michael McKeon, Lance Boldrey and former Hawaii Governor John Waihee accompanied him.

Malik, a partner to the Shinnecock Indian Nation and financial backer for the tribe’s casino proposal, said the development has been attempting to find its stride for several months, but began to gain momentum when Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced his Economic Development and Job Creation Plan in May. Malik has been at the forefront of heading event control for the World Series, the NCAA Final Four, among others. [REALLY Mike Malik? Maybe some of the people you share office space with at Ilitch headquarters  have been involved at some level but you... He'll say anything!]

Malik revealed that he and his team have been targeting the Belmont’s development for six or seven years. Furthermore, the location is a prime spot for gaming development, according to Malik.

Malik designed the first development renderings in approximately 2005. They have since changed, dramatically.

The renderings were not permitted to be photographed, which showcased a casino building with a Victorian-style red brick facade, ground-to-ceiling paneled windows and a copper-patina roof, located on the southwest side of Belmont near the Cross Island Parkway, to give customers easier access and a new Belmont Park structure with the same design.

A grand entrance with fountains and galleries showcasing the history of Belmont is also in discussion. A circled driveway would take customers to and from the casino with malls of grass.

“Nothing has been set in stone; however, it has modernized features with a historic feel,” Malik said. “We would think to put the casino off the freeway itself, so that people can come on and off. We also added in a parking deck area on the opposite side of the street.”

The drawings also included an irrigation system on the south side of the park, beyond the main track, near the border of the Village of Floral Park, which has been prone to flooding. He stressed that these drawings “are not final.”

“The irrigation system would help to resolve that flooding problem, as well as help keep the track and surrounding green dry,” Malik explained.

Malik detailed an idea to take the flood waters that have plagued Floral Park and filter them into the infield in the middle of the track to provide a “welcomed aesthetic” to the infield, while addressing the flooding issues for the village to the north.

Other ideas portrayed in the renderings were a recreational area and private parking lot on the southern end of the park; an indoor train station next to the park; and a central area for parading horses before and after meets, and showing off winning horses. The alley that horses currently take into the park is hidden, beneath the bleachers, and the winner’s circle is closer to track level, away from spectators’ view.

Malik said the horse parades would be one of the many crucial pieces to the fan/family experience.

“We want the world to focus on Belmont,” he said. “We want people who are watching the Belmont Stakes on television to want to come.”

Malik detailed a new seating area in the center of the infield. He said the height of the building could be between 12 and 15 stories.

When Elmont Chamber President Chris Rosado asked Malik whether he thought the casino development might harm nearby businesses, Malik said that, although he couldn’t definitively say for sure, he believes a casino would boost business since the casino is expected to create at least 5,000 jobs.

Malik said he hopes to sit down with the New York Racing Association (NYRA) and discuss its proposal soon. Concerning negotiations, Malik would not divulge how long it would take.

“We want to get this done as soon as possible,” he said. “Hopefully within the next year we hope to be through our approvals. That’s kind of the guideline we’re in.

Here They Go Again: Hawaii Anticipates Detroiters Will Again Wage Battle for Gambling on Waikiki Beach

'Gambling in Hawaii' poised for replay at the Legislature

By Richard Borreca
The projectors are warming up, the reels are threaded on the sprockets and we are almost ready to start screening our once-a-decade home movie: "Gambling in Hawaii."

There was a sneak peek last year when two state senators attempted to push through a last-minute bill without a public hearing that would have allowed one stand-alone casino in Waikiki.

But legislative leaders turned the lights on and the movie was pau.

The full version is expected to play to packed matinee crowds when the Legislature reopens in January.
Cast as the leading advocate is John Radcliffe, a local lobbyist of some repute.

"In my view it will be a significant issue before the 2012 Legislature. There will be significant citizen input on the issue," says Radcliffe, who represents Marketing Resources Group of Michigan, connected to groups representing several mainland casinos.

Returning in his role as foremost gambling opponent is Hawaii's senior U.S. senator, Daniel K. Inouye.

In an interview last week, I asked Inouye, in light of the state's serious need for new sources of income and jobs, why not a casino.

"Contrary to what they say, it is not an easy source of money," Inouye warned, reprising his 2002 statements.
Back then, Inouye said relying on gambling to fund state duties such as education would be "sinful."

"To say that gaming will be part of our economic development and alleviate our problems is a cop-out," Inouye said to the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii almost a decade ago.

Last week, Inouye agreed "the state may pick up money," but he warned the state will have to come up with more money toward increased welfare, crime and other social ills associated with gambling.

Radcliffe counters that "casinos or other forms of gaming entertainment are enjoyed by 100 percent of the American population outside of Hawaii and Utah," so why should there be discrimination in Hawaii?

"Prohibition of liquor didn't work for the U.S. from 1920 to 1933, and prohibition of gaming is not working for Hawaii. It needs to be regulated and controlled," Radcliffe said.

Whenever we run this movie, we are deep into the Al Capone metaphors before the second reel.

Radcliffe is invoking prohibition, but Inouye tops him by hinting darkly that you just don't want these gamblers around.

"By the very nature of that enterprise, gaming and gambling, you are going to include people who are not the kind you take home for dinner," Inouye said last week.

In 2002, Inouye envisioned a Waikiki not filled with joyful honeymooners smooching on the lanai but instead, "The people who come to this hotel will be a different type of people."

I asked Inouye how he can be against gambling for Hawaii, but has been a champion of allowing Native Americans to permit casinos on their reservations.

"It is their sovereign right. ... I have told the Indians, I support your right to have gambling, but I always tell them to get other sources of income," he answered.

Richard Borreca writes on politics on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Reach him at

Here's just one of the comments that appeared:
KeithHaugen wrote:
It's the same story every year -- the gamblilng industry, the syndicate and others try again, and again, to introduce legalized gambling in Hawai`i, with total disregard for the increases in crime and other social ills that always accompany such a move. Then sometime during the legislative session, the elected officials find out that the vast majority of Hawai`i residents are smarter than they think and they realize they would be ousted in the next election,and the gambling bills fail, to the rejoicing of the community. Each year, the gambling companies that make millions or billions off those willing to give up their money, try to make us think that gambling is harmless "gaming" and their is not risk to the community, only to those who lose their money. That doesn't work either. We're smarter than they are, or at least smarter than they think we are.

Citizens for a Better Way, a Group Fronting for Detroit Casino Syndicators in Hawaii, Establishes Digital Media Channels With Poor Result

Citizens for a Better Way is a so-called "grassroots" citizens group organized in Honolulu by lobbyist John Radcliffe, Liz Watanabe and others fronting for the interests of Detroit Casino Syndicators (Michael Malik and Marian Ilitch) who are taking renewed steps push legalized gambling in Hawaii. The Detroiters' goal: win approvals to develop and operate a Waikiki Casino.

Earlier this year, the professional lobbyists retained by the Detroiters, set up a website at, and a Facebook page to promote their agenda. In September they created a YouTube Channel, CFBWHawaii.
The website features:
  • Template to capture email addresses and contact details of interested parties, 
  • News room and archive, 
  • Three videos featuring the Detroiters' paid advocates and produced using a public affairs roundtable discussion format plus schedules detailing when those videos will air on local cable television channels, and 
  • Revised 2010 Impact Study prepared by Jacob Miklojcik, the same Michigan consultant who created their 2000 Impact Study.  

The newsroom features reprints of letter-to-the-editor and op-eds that have been published promoting the Detroiters' agenda.  It's interesting to note that among the authors are those who've been previously paid to represent Detroiters' interests.

CFBW on Facebook
The real difference between the 2000 and 2010 studies: the earlier study considered two Oahu casinos and the latest study considers one Oahu casino. Miklojcik produced similar studies in the 1990s that helped the Detroiters win voter approvals needed to legalize gambling and establish casinos in Detroit. The projections were optimistic and by all accounts implied that legalized gambling would be the jackpot that would help turn Detroit's circumstances around.

Detroit's Las Vegas-style casinos opened their doors more than ten years ago; and yet, in recent months Forbes ranked Detroit the #1 Most Dangerous City in America and workers at Marian Ilitch's MotorCity Casino were forced to start paying healthcare expenses or face job losses.  Detroit's casinos haven't been the blessing local taxpayers had hoped for.

CFBWHawaii on YouTube
The Facebook page was created in April, and the website promotes the Facebook page with a button/link, at this point it could be considered a failure with just 13 fans or users who "Like" the CFBW Facebook page and relatively little regular engagement among that handful of fans, with the exception of one male, Lawrence Ujimori.

On average, the videos posted to CFBW's YouTube channel are being watched on average, once daily, and that's likely by those who are paid to advocate for the Detroiters' interests or people who land their by chance.

As an exercise in organic grassroots social media, the so-called citizens group has failed to get any traction or attract an engaged constituency who would support their gambling agenda. Absent some significant change in circumstances, they'll be using paid advertising and manufacturing the appearances of "grassroots" support should Radcliffe's lobbying efforts require that during the 2012 legislative cycle.

Detroit Gambling Promoters Trying to Buy Influence with NY Senator Schumer?

Sen. Charles Schumer
Although U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) was against efforts by the Shinnecock Indian Nation to receive Federal Recognition, Michael J. Malik, Sr., the controversial Detroit gambling promoter behind the Shinnecock's successful efforts, and an individual whose affiliates (Gateway Casino Resorts, etc.) apparently have exclusive rights to develop, manage and operate any future Shinnecock Long Island casino(s), is among the top seven donors to Schumer's secret IMPACT PAC. (Source:

Further Malik, and members of Detroit's Ilitch Family (his gambling partners) have contributed a total of $24,200 to Schumer's political committees since April 2010. (Source:

In addition between June 2008 and September 2010, Malik contributed another $45,400 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), the group responsible for getting Democrats re-elected to the U.S. Senate. In total, Malik and members of the Ilitch family have contributed  $210,600.00 to the DSCC since December 2005.(Source:

Schumer was re-elected to the Senate in November 2010.

See also:

Thursday, November 03, 2011 Welcomed 100,000th Visitor

100,000 Visitors |

Today were proud to report,, organized in 2006 to shed light on the activities, affiliates and partners of secretive yet controversial Detroit Casino Syndicators including Michael J. Malik, Sr. and Marian Ilitch welcomed our 100,000th visitor!

Despite claims by Malik/Ilitch highly paid mouthpieces, is staffed with the generous volunteer resources of citizens activists across the United States who have come together to pool knowledge and resources and create a centralized archive of verifiable resources that otherwise wouldn't be available or would take weeks of research to discover or uncover.

Thank you to all who have contributed to the success of, a source that's now sought out and referenced by civic and elected leaders from town halls to Capitol Hill, government agencies and departments at all levels, activists, business leaders, journalists, taxpayers and voters. Among others, we are most thankful for the tremendous resources and refinements provided by,,, and

Naive Ignorance: Genesee County Officials Made Agreements with the now-Former Bay Mills Leader, Reportedly the Same Day he was Voted From Office

Naive Ignorance:  One must wonder if the Genesee County officials mentioned in the article referenced in this post had even a clue that the Bay Mills Indians were holding an election this week and that now-former Tribal Chair Jeff Parker was facing a re-election challenge. That Genesee officials report making an agreement with Parker on the very day he was voted out of office hardly seems prudent.

Three words to remember for the future:  Homework & Due Diligence.

For a generation, Parker had tightly ruled the Bay Bills Indian Community.  Now there will be a new regime at the helm.  Did Genesse County officials even anticipate that?  Did they anticipate that any agreements with Parker might well be moot, simply unacceptable or even non-binding under the new regime?

It's understandable that local officials have little to no experience dealing with Indian tribes and Indian issues, but before they leap into discussions with or consider agreements with new leaders, they would be best served to survey their experienced counterparts representing communities in and out of Michigan and to also consult with lawyers and others with such expertise. Although they'll try -- their track record suggests so -- the tribal leaders and those behind the tribe's schemes are likely to refer expert lawyers and consultants for consideration by Township and County officials who would be wise to avoid any such referrals and instead seek out such expertise independently. Historically, the people behind the Bay Mills schemes have referred counsel and consultants sympathetic to their interests and those of their Indian partner.

Presently the Bay Mills owned land in Flint Township does not qualify as "Indian Lands." That is the opinion rendered by the State of Michigan, U.S. Department of Interior, National Indian Gaming Commission and District Court.  The only one who suggested otherwise is now the former Chair of the Bay Mills Indian Community.  The Flint Township property is not sovereign, nor held in trust, nor tax exempt; rather, it is subject to the same codes, regulations, laws, fees and taxes expected of others who own local property.  There is no need for special emergency services agreements or other arrangements at this time for negotiated fees in lieu of taxes.  And given the tribe's track record in Port Huron, it could be 20 years or more before anything like that is required or otherwise needed, so why agree to anything now?

Genesee County Road Commission agrees to road pact with Bay Mills Indian Community

By Ron Fonger
FLINT TWP., Michigan -- No one is certain what will happen to undeveloped land owned by the Bay Mills Indian Community here, but the Genesee County Road Commission has agreed to partner with the tribe on future road improvements in the area.

The Road Commission on Tuesday approved an agreement with Bay Mills than could lead to special funding for roads in the area immediately surrounding the tribe's land at Dutcher and Lennon roads.

Road Commission Manager-Director John Daly said a representative of Bay Mills talked to county road officials last month, suggesting the "acknowledgement of public authority responsibility" agreement.

Tribal leaders had no new information about how the property will be developed and made no requests tied to future road needs... (Complete Story)

Liar, Liar: Ilitch using MotorCity Casino Jackpots to Fund Gambling Habits Outside Michigan; Pay-Off Las Vegas Casino Lords and Wall Street Fat Cats

Promises, Promises: Failed!
Both Marian Ilitch (she owns Detroit's MotorCity Casino) and Michael Malik (he was a MotorCity partner until he failed to get a Michigan gaming license in 1999) were behind the campaigns in the 1990s that asked Detroit voters to approve three Las Vegas-style commercial gambling halls. They promised Detroiters that approving gambling in Detroit would result in an economic windfall and help turn Detroit around. They said that casinos in Detroit would mean Detroit would capture gaming revenue instead of loosing it to Windsor or Las Vegas or elsewere.

Ilitch/Malik and the Detroit-based founders of MotorCity Casino told Detroiters that giving their enterprise the right to develop and operate one of three commercial casinos in Detroit meant keeping gambling revenue in Detroit.

And when Marian Ilitch took control of MotorCity Casino from Las Vegas-based Mirage Resorts in 2005, Ilitch spokespersons and MotorCity ad campaigns implied that Detroit-owned meant MotorCity Casino would uniquely be inclined to keep casino money in Detroit; that somehow Marian Ilitch would see the money stayed in Detroit.

Rich Got Richer, Not Detroit
Really? Casino doors have been open for ten years and yet Forbes just ranked Detroit as the #1 Most Dangerous City in America. Last month MotorCity Casino workers were told to start paying their own health care costs or face job loses. And since opening MotorCity Casino, Ilitch and Malik have made a habit out of chasing failed casino schemes in New York, California and Hawaii funded by Detroit casino money.

So yeah, Detroit money stayed in Detroit. Some small part of it... in the bank accounts of people named Ilitch and Malik.  Forbes says Mike & Marian Ilitch are now worth $2 billion; and last year Mike Malik dropped $300,000 on a Las Vegas wedding that lasted one month and bought a $5.4 million New York City (Central Park West) Penthouse.  But last month they told MotorCity Casino workers to start paying their own health care costs.

Truth is, the millions people are leaving on the gaming table and in the bellies of slot machines at MotorCity Casino aren't even staying in Michigan.

Truth is MotorCity Casino Making Las Vegas, Foreign Banks & Walls Street Fat Cats Richer
First, Marian Ilitch's 2005 acquisition of MotorCity Casino's controlling shares and the subsequent casino renovation/expansion that followed, came at a big price; hundreds of millions in fact that Marian Ilitch borrowed from out of state banks and Wall Street. And right now it's costing Detroit.  She's financing MotorCity Casino on the backs of Detroit's taxpayers.

If MotorCity Casino wasn't so highly leveraged or had stayed true to its original financial projections and the economic studies they used to sell voters on gambling halls in the 1990s, maybe MotorCity Casino workers wouldn't have been told this last month to start paying their own health care costs or face losing their jobs.

Yes, Marian Ilitch did pony up some family cash to fund a small portion of the buyout and expansion, but in truth, she paid for her business decisions, in most part, with hundreds of millions borrowed by leveraging Ilitch assets and future MotorCity Casino earnings to attract investments from foreign banks and Wall Street. And because some of the investment "opportunities" were so risky they are rated as "junk bonds," Ilitch is paying higher interest terms.

Today, millions in cash Detroiters are leaving on the gaming tables and in the slot machines at MotorCity Casino flow directly to pay off Las Vegas casino interests, foreign banks and Wall Street fat cats.

If that wasn't bad enough, a big chunk of the millions Ilitch is raking in at MotorCity Casino have been spent attempting to expand the Ilitch gambling empire outside of Michigan -- to fund failed Ilitch/Malik ego projects.

MotorCity Casino Funding Failed Schemes to Expand Ilitch Gambling Empire Outside of Michigan
Yes, since opening the doors of MotorCity Casino, Ilitch and Malik have spent millions chasing prestige casino schemes outside of Detroit -- way outside, in New York, California and Hawaii.

As an example, here's a rough accounting of the millions the Detroiters have spent chasing just their New York City / Belmont Race Track casino dreams:

  • $25 million to acquire the exclusive rights to develop, manage and operate a casino
  • $5.4 million to purchase a NYC Penthouse
  • $2.3 million to D.C. Lobbyists
  • $1.5 million to Albany Lobbyists
  • $1.5 million to Political Campaign Committees

That's more than $35 million and just what's been disclosed or which they are forced to disclose. Most of what goes on at Ilitch Holdings is kept secret and under wraps. For a decade, they've certainly incurred other expenses. Consider millions spent during the last decade:  flying a private jet back and forth to New York several times a week; paying attorneys and public relations and advertising execs in Lansing, Detroit, D.C., Albany and New York City; keeping the leaders of the Shinnecock Indian Nation in toe; and so on.

Shame, Shame!
Shame on Marian Ilitch and Mike Malik for promising they'd keep the gambling money in Detroit. Shame on them for suggesting to fellow Detroiters that if they were allowed to operate a gambling hall in the Motor City somehow Detroit would be a better place to live. Seems like the moment MotorCity Casino opened its doors, Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik forgot the promises they made to Detroit and they've never regretted their lies and misrepresentations.

Was it Dennis Whittlesey's Intent to make the case for Michael Malik's Los Coyotes Barstow (Off-Reservation) Casino?

For more than 15 years, attorney Dennis Whittlesey has been a tool of Detroit gambling promoters.  Among other things, Detroiter Michael Malik’s crew has previously introduced him into their Barstow (CA) casino schemes.  With his latest article is Whittlesey making the case for Malik’s Los Coyotes casino in Barstow, 165 miles away from the tribe’s so-called "remote" and "undevelopable," geographically undesireable San Diego County reservation?


By Dennis J. Whittlesey
...The casino site is located on the Dry Creek Rancheria, a small federal fee tract of land located some seven miles east of U.S. Highway 101 at Geyserville. Visitors must drive a two-lane country road to reach the site, and then navigate a narrow, winding country road (now paved) up a steep hillside to the casino itself. Water supply and waste disposal have been problems in the past, although one of the project's worst problems was that the hill was unstable and a major "hillside stabilization project" had to be completed before major construction could be commenced. That project reportedly cost some $15 million at the time.

Because of the narrow roads serving the casino site from U.S. 101, access always has been a concern. Indeed, a major component of the refinancing would provide funding to construct an emergency access road.

Prior to the casino's construction, the Alexander Valley Association (an organization consisting of the landowners within the valley) even brokered agreements with local and federal officials and politicians that would have facilitated a rare off-reservation casino development. Proposed sites for the casino were located adjacent to U.S. 101 and featured easy access to the site. Comprehensive utility services were in place for each of the prospective sites, not the least of which were those for water and sewer. For reasons never made clear, the tribe and its developers rejected all of these alternative locations in favor of using Rancheria land.

The tried and true axiom for any real estate acquisition is "location, location, location." A prime consideration for many casino developments has been the ability to "capture" highway traffic to augment the local population clientele. While there are no known publicly released studies identifying the capture rate for River Rock, geographical location may raise some concerns.

The casino is constructed, so relocating to improve the capture rate may not be a viable option. With the challenges in today's finance markets, the consequences of past decisions can be, and often are, amplified. The confluence of today's "new [ab]normal" finance markets and past decisions may well spin the tale of River Rock when its story is finally written.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

New Bay Mills Chairman Plans to Wrestle Charlotte Beach Land Claims from Soo Tribe; Evict Current Residents

A Letter To Bay Mills Tribal Members

As posted on Facebook at Kurt Perron For Tribal Chairman
* I will resolve our Charlotte Beach Land Claim which has been handed over to the Soo Tribe to use to obtain casinoes with. I will file a lawsuit against the Soo Tribe in federal court to have them kicked off our Charlotte Beach land claim using the Supreme Courts recent Carcieri decison as precedent. Once Soo Tribe is kicked off our claim, I will then issue an eviction notice to the current residents of Charlotte Beach. We can then use our claim ourselves to obtain several more casinoes in key areas, including Vanderbilt, without spending our Elders Fund in the process. We should have never given our Charlotte Beach Claim to the Soo Tribe to use for a casino in Romulus and now Lansing, this was our land and it was taken from us, not the Soo Tribe. If a casino ever opens in these areas it will be owned by Bay Mills, not Soo Tribe.
See also:

President/Chairman Parker, Longtime Crony of Detroit Gambling Promoter Michael Malik, Tossed Out by Bay Mills Indian Community Voters

Jeff Parker held the Presidency of the Bay Mills Executive Committee for a total of 20 years coinciding with Detroit gambling promoter Michael Malik's influence over the Bay Mills Indian Community (Brimley, MI). In an election held today among Bay Mills voters, Parker was tossed out of office losing his re-election bid to newcomer Kurt Perron, 54% to 46%.

Parker and Malik had pursued failed schemes to develop an off-reservation casino in Port Huron (MI) for a generation. Malik's various syndicated affiliates (Blue Water Resorts, etc.) have spent millions lobbying in Lansing and Washington, D.C. and attempting to buy influence with key politicians.  Recently they opened a small slots casino in Vanderbilt (MI) which was subsequently ordered closed by court order.

They had announced an intent, albeit hollow, to similarly open a casino in Flint Township. Attempting to shore up credibility with Bay Mills voters, Parker had made several high-profile PR appearances in Flint Township suggesting he was on the verge of opening the casino there and as such, bringing increased economic prosperity to both Flint and the Bay Mills Indian Community.

Perron defeats Parker for chairman's seat
BAY MILLS — A new face will head up Bay Mills Executive Council as a result of the Nov. 2 General Election. Kurt Perron defeated incumbent Jeff Parker 321 [54%] - 273 [46%]. Perron will be joined by another fresh face on the council, as Joe LeBlanc defeated Allyn Cameron 313-280 for the vice chairman's seat. Incumbents Richard LeBlanc, John Paul Lufkins, and Dwight "Bucko" Teeple will remain on the council.

Another upset this election was the seat of chief judge. Incumbent Shelly Deuman lost to Levi Carrick, Sr.

Taking seats as appellate judges will be Shannon (Lufkins) Belk and Justin Teeple.

See also:

Another Sign Port Huron is no longer Betting on Mike Malik's Bay Mills Casino


By Liz Sheperd
...In May 2010, the city approved paying New Zealand-based Marinescape Ecoaquariums $100,000 to study the feasibility of opening an aquarium at the site of the former YMCA building at Beers and Fort streets...

But the city council approved purchasing the old YMCA for $200,000 in December and razing the facility for more than $230,000 in March. Officials said if the aquarium didn't come to fruition, some other development could go into the property...

Mayor Pauline Repp, however, said the money the city paid for the YMCA site was not tied to the aquarium development. She said the city's only cost in the project is the $100,000 for the aquarium study. The acquisition and demolition costs will be recovered when the land is sold to a developer, she said.

"I never wanted the city taxpayers to pay for it, and it doesn't look like there's anyone else coming forward," she said.

In November, after the Bay Mills Indian Community bought the old post office property and said it was bringing a casino to the city, officials said the aquarium could be moved to Desmond Landing and tied into the casino.

Brown said that aquarium plan ultimately proved unworkable as well. Meanwhile, Bay Mills is locked in a federal court battle about the legality of having casinos on property not recognized as Indian land by the government. That case won't be heard until next year... (Complete Story)

Detroit Gambling Promoters Using 10-Year-Old Study to Re-Ignite Case for Gambling in Hawaii

Despite 9/11, the recession and other factors that have changed the economic landscape since 2000, Detroit casino syndicators and their Hawaii-based hired-guns have pulled this ten-year-old boilerplate report off the shelf, dusted it off and are using it to re-ignite their case for legalized gambling in Hawaii. Only two states do not have any form of legalized gambling today:  Hawaii and Utah.

Jake Miklojcik, author of the study and a Lansing-based consultant-for-hire, is the go-to-guy when Detroiters Michael Malik and Marian Ilitch -- or their PR mouthpiece Tom Shields -- need to produce a "study" to support their gambling/business agenda.  A look back at the work he produced when they were advocating voters approve commercial gambling in Detroit is warranted to determine just how far off the mark they were back then.

Detroiters' Hawaii Gambling Study 2000

Blogger's Note:  Certainly the Detroiter's own experiences winning voter approval of gambling in the Motor City and operating a casino in Detroit suggest that the economic boom they predicted in the 1990s would reign on Detroit once casinos were built has not materialized. Casino operators are more highly leveraged making creditors nervous and workers were recently asked to pay for their own health care or face job losses. An acknowledgement of failed promises is due and certainly a new study by some independent source would be appropriate based on what they now know as real world experience.  

And if one examines the economic, culture and social landscape of Detroit before voters approved gambling vs. today, they'd be hard pressed to suggest the three commercial casinos have made Detroit a better place to live. Forbes just ranked Detroit #1 Most Dangerous City in America.

The Dykema Law Firm: the legal team behind the Bay Mills, Los Coyotes & Shinnecock Indian casino schemes

By Randy J. Stine

The gaming law attorneys at Dykema in Downtown Lansing know it’s a bit of a gamble to try and get a casino built these days.The extensive regulatory system established in Michigan, under the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act, makes the casino development process long and tedious.

“To say it is not easy to complete a casino project here in Michigan or anywhere else is an understatement,” says Jason Hanselman, an attorney specializing in gaming law at Dykema. “These projects can take from five to 10 years to complete.”

Dykema, which has just over 20 employees at its Lansing office, has been involved in nearly every aspect of casino gaming in Michigan, including the development of casino gaming on Native American land and the implementation of Proposal E that gained voter approval in 1996 and brought commercial casinos to Detroit.

“We actually helped draft the language in Proposal E in the mid-‘90s. Once it passed we worked to draft the final statute and regulations to implement casino gaming in Detroit,” Hanselman says.

The firm’s gaming law division assists clients on every aspect of casino gaming regulation, from contracts to real estate acquisitions to licensing and finally navigating the state and national regulatory process. “Michigan is known to have the most rigid gaming licensing processes in the country. [Michigan] prides itself on being the most rigorous licensing and regulatory jurisdiction,” Hanselman says.

Dykema attorneys are typically hired by a casino developer who in turn works in partnership with one of the Native American tribes, to get a project rolling. Hanselman explains, “It’s a gamble for the developers from the onset. They’ll pour a lot of money into projects that may never ever happen for whatever reason. There are lots of hurdles. ”

Michigan’s 19 tribal casinos, along with three commercial casinos in Detroit, operate under the authority of the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Casino development in this state and elsewhere has been a huge area of economic growth over the past decade, Hanselman says. “It’s really a sign of the economic times. A lot of states see casinos as another source of revenue. It’s a chance to create a new tax base. Ohio recently enacted casino gaming and Illinois is moving in that direction.”

Gambling is no longer the big societal taboo, either, since you can now watch poker three nights a week on ESPN, he adds.

While development of tribal casinos in Michigan has slowed a bit recently, partly due to the maturity of the industry, charitable gaming has exploded, Hanselman says. “Michigan law allows nonprofit groups to obtain licenses to run millionaire parties. These groups raise a lot of money through fundraising. It’s been a huge growth area for us the past two years. We help nonprofits secure licenses, which they use as part of their fundraising activities. The demand [for licenses] is high,” he says.

Dykema’s Lansing office, which sits adjacent to Michigan’s Capitol Building in Downtown Lansing, also has Michigan offices in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Bloomfield Hills and Grand Rapids. In addition, Dykema has offices in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Hanselman, who joined Dykema in 2001, works closely with Lance Boldrey on gaming issues at the firm. Boldrey, former deputy legal counsel to former Michigan Gov. John Engler, focuses on Indian law and is involved in lobbying federal and state decision makers.

Boldrey currently is working closely with a developer in New York on a casino project near New York City involving the Shinnecock Indian Nation.

“[Dykema] is currently working with them on site selection, so it is still in the predevelopment stage, but this could turn out to be one of the largest casinos in the country. We are optimistic we could be within a year or two of breaking ground. We also worked to have the Shinnecock tribe federally recognized, which happened last fall,” Hanselman says. “There are many, many facets to completing such a large project.”

Internet gaming and online poker will be the next big development in the gaming world, Hanselman predicts. In April, federal authorities shut down three of the largest offshore online poker sites and now there is a renewed effort to legalize and regulate Internet gambling in this country, he says.

“In fact, in Washington the group of 12 U.S. senators in charge of finding some $1.5 trillion in debt savings are eyeing Internet poker as a one of the means to doing it, so it’s coming. I think it is inevitable,” Hanselman adds.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

After Waiting 20 Years for a Bay Mills Casino, Port Huron Moving On with Plans for Convention Center

Oct. 28, 2011

For years, Port Huron has longed for a major economic development. The city's time has come.

A new convention center and a revamped Thomas Edison Inn aren't the answers to Port Huron's economic needs, but they do constitute a significant boost.

Tourism leaders always tout Port Huron's potential as a destination. This $27.8 million project will give tourists a new reason to visit and a new place to stay.

Before the project was formally unveiled Thursday, Port Huron City Manager Bruce Brown called it "a game changer for our community." It's difficult to disagree.

The hotel will be remade into a Hilton Garden Inn and a new 40,000-square-foot convention center will be attached to it. The hotel also will feature a new Twisted Rooster restaurant.

A Baker College of Port Huron facility will be home to a new culinary arts program and student housing will be built near the culinary institute.

Port Huron and St. Clair County officials have reason to brag about the project. It will take up 15.5 acres of land next to the Thomas Edison Parkway, a location that should make the most of its view of the St. Clair River.

The partnership of public and private interests might be an admission that government must play a role in economic development, but it also shows what that kind of cooperation can achieve.

The public stake in the project starts with the county. To finance the convention center, $9 million in 30-year bonds will be issued. In addition to building the facility, the money will cover the cost of buying its land and 11,000 square feet of meeting space at the hotel.

The bonds will be repaid from convention center revenue, tax money from the city's tax increment finance district and the Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

First on the list of returns are the jobs the project will create. The project will be done in two phases. The hotel and restaurant renovations should start Jan. 1 and be finished by July -- just in time for Boat Week.

The convention center is scheduled to be finished in May 2013. The Baker College facility will be finished by November 2012.

It is fitting that the Edison Inn is the focus of this new development. The hotel once was the focus of Port Huron's hopes for a casino gaming facility.

The hotel and convention center project is a kind of confirmation. A casino undoubtedly would change Port Huron's fortunes, but this development is proof the city and county are making their own luck -- and it's about time.

Strange Bedfellows: Hawaii's Former Governor & Detroit's Gambling Promoter?

Strange Bedfellows: Former Hawaii Gov. John Waihee & Detroit Gambling Promoter Michael Malik?

Former Governor John Waihee and restoration of Native Hawaiian Sovereignty
For generations, Hawaiians of native ancestry have sought restoration of sovereignty and/or some other form of Federal Recognition; among them, former Hawaii Governor John D. Waihee III and his son John D. Waihee, IV, an elected trustee of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). The elder Waihee was the first Native Hawaiian to be elected Governor, serving from 1986-1994.

When U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga died in 1990, then-Gov. John Waihee appointed U.S. Rep. Daniel Akaka to finish out his term. By Waihee's appointment, Akaka became the first Native Hawaiian to serve in the Senate.

Akaka has become known as a champion for Native Hawaiian causes. He authored the 1993 apology resolution, in which the United States apologized for its role in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. Since then, Akaka has fought to pass the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act, now known as the "Akaka Bill."

Controversy erupted in 1993, when Gov. Waihee ordered the U.S. flag not be flown over state buildings in the Capitol-'Iolani Palace area during a 5-day pageant marking the 100th anniversary of the overthrow of Queen Lili'uokalani and the Hawaiian monarchy.

During his tenure Gov. Waihee created and established OHA during his first term and it has become one of the leading advocates for restoration of Hawaiian sovereignty in one form or another.

Since it's introduction, Waihee III has been a champion of the so-called Akaka Bill which again failed to receive congressional approval during 2011.

In September, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie appointed Waihee III the at-large commissioner of the newly formed (Act 195) Native Hawaiian Roll Commission. The Roll is to be used as the basis for participation in the organization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity.

Although Waihee III is on record opposing casinos and gambling in Hawaii; one must remember how personally the sovereignty/Recognition matters to him. And should Americans of Native Hawaiian ancestry be Federally Recognized, they could be eligible for 'Indian Lands.' Such is the designation for property that provides for casino gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

Detroiters with Hawaiian Casino Dreams
For a decade and without success, controversial wheeler-dealer Michael Malik and his Detroit-based cronies have been trying to legalize commercial gambling in Hawaii. Ideally, they want to develop a casino in the general Waikiki Beach area.

Strange Bedfellows
That these Detroiters are credited with helping the Shinnecock Indian Nation gain Federal Recognition, may be a reason that otherwise strange bedfellows, Waihee & Malik, were spotted together on Long Island (NY) at a presentation Malik made to the Elmont Chamber of Commerce regarding his latest schemes for a casino nearest New York City. It was reported in the Long Island Herald that Malik introduced or explained Waihee at the Elmont Chamber event as an "Associate."

Stranger Bedfellows There Have Been
Should Malik/Detroiters be willing to dedicate valuable or unique resources (time, talent/expertise, money) to successfully advance Gov. Waihee's Native agenda, and should Waihee be personally enriched by any future ability to develop and operate Native Gaming facilities on Waikiki, might be enough to cause Gov. Waihee to abandon his earlier position on casinos or gambling in Hawaii and bring the pair together for mutual gains.

Afterall, like Malik, Waihee has often been embroiled in controversy (Broken Trust) and in recent years has fallen upon tough financial circumstances. Waihee was sued by American Express for being delinquent on a bill of over $72,000 and the Bank of Hawaii foreclosed on Waihee’s Nuuanu home on a $828,598 delinquency.

Hitting a personal jackpot with a Native casino on Waikiki and balancing a somewhat tarnished legacy with a place in the history books as a champion of the restoration of Hawaiian sovereignty might sound pretty darn attractive. To say it would be satisfying to Malik too, is a gross understatement. It would be a dream come true.

See also:

Monday, October 31, 2011

D'Amato's Online Gambling Advocacy Group has paid his Lobbying Firm $1.73 Million

Former U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) is the chairman of the Poker Players Alliance, an online gambling advocate group, and also founder and managing director of Park Strategies LLC, a lobbying firm with offices in New York, Washington DC, Taipei, Albany, Buffalo and Long Island.

According to the New York Times, Poker Players Alliance, a U.S. nonprofit interest group, is funded with money from foreign online gambling companies. Federal investigators are looking into allegations that PPA is away for foreign interests to simply funnel campaign money to Members of Congress. PPA has paid D.C. lobbyists more than $15 million during the last decade.

Since 2007, Poker Player's Alliance, the nonprofit organization D'Amato serves as chairman of the Board, has paid $1.73 million to Park Strategies LLC, the lobbying firm founded by D'Amato.

Detroiters Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik have hired D'Amato to represent at least one of their gambling affiliates, Gateway Casino Resorts.

Through Gateway, the Detroiters hope to secure an opportunity to open an Indian casino nearest New York City, in partnership with the newly recognized Shinnecock Indian Nation. Their latest schemes would include developing, managing and operating a casino at the famed Belmont Race Track on Long Island.

Mrs. Ilitch owns Detroit's highly leveraged  MotorCity Casino.  Her husband Mike Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers (MLB).  They are the co-founders of the Little Caesars pizza enterprise and owners of the Detroit Red Wings (NHL).  Ilitch Holdings, Inc. is the parent company of these affiliates.

When the Michigan Gaming Control Board refused to issue a commercial gaming license to Michael Malik in 1999, he was forced from the original MotorCity Casino partnership.  For more than a dozen years, he and Marian have failed to get commercial gambling approved in Hawaii; and also failed at numerous schemes to open off-reservation Indian casinos in California, Michigan and New York.  Failing to ever obtain a Michigan gaming license, Malik also ventured into the online gambling industry but when the U.S. adopted stricter regulations, he put that on hold.

Similarities Between Strategy to Approve Bay Mills Land Claim and Native Hawaiians' Attempt to Restore Sovereignty

The Common Interest in Both Schemes is 
Detroit Gambling Promoter Michael Malik

Detroit Gambling Promoter
Michael J. Malik, Sr.
Blogger’s Note:  Does this cram-it-into-an-appropriations-bill strategy not in the Hawaii Free Press story highlighted below sound familiar?  Recall when lobbyists and operatives for Detroit gambling promoter Michael Malik attempted to get approvals of the Bay Mills Indian Community Land Claims Settlement crammed into an Appropriations Bill?  or the Transportation Omnibus?  Those attempts were ultimately intended to get approvals needed to pave the way for Malik’s Bay Mills Indian casino in Port Huron (MI).

Consider this... Malik has attempted to establish gambling (a casino) in Hawaii for the better part of a decade. He’s not been able to get legislative or voter approval despite major efforts in 2001 and 2010-11.  But recently he’s been spotted palling around on Long Island (NY) with former Hawaii Governor John Waihee. 

Waihee was the first Governor of Hawaii to be of Hawaiian ancestry and he was the person who appointed then-Rep. Akaka to fill the U.S. Senate seat that had been held by Spark Matsunaga, making Akaka the first person of Native Hawaiian ancestry to serve in the Senate.

While Waihee has been an opponent of gaming in Hawaii, for the better part of his life, he’s been a ring leader in the movement to restore Hawaiian Sovereignty.  Should Native Hawaiians be Federally Recognized, Malik might be able to get his Waikiki casino – in the same way he hopes to build, manage and operate a Long Island casino using a bargain he struck with the Shinnecock Indian Nation.  And should Waihee, who’s had personal financial challenges in recent years and who was embroiled in the Bishop Trust scandals detailed in “Broken Trusts, ” be personally enriched through a Native casino in Hawaii, it would be a grand slam for the former Governor.

News Release from US Senate Republican Caucus

WASHINGTON – Senators Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) today released the following statements in response to reports that the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act – legislation that would establish a new governing entity for individuals of native Hawaiian descent – may be added to an Omnibus Appropriations Bill or a Continuing Resolution, one of which must pass Congress and be signed by the president this month, or the federal government will not have the funding to operate.

“Legislation as highly complex and divisive as the native Hawaiian bill requires vigorous discussion, debate, and amendments,” Kyl said. “An attempt to include it in unrelated legislation to keep the government operating is a breach of process and is an example of what the American people are tired of – back room deals that are inserted in secret packages written behind closed doors.”

“I’m concerned by reports that a special Native Hawaiian bill, or any other controversial measure, might be quietly inserted into must-pass legislation that’s needed to keep the government open,” Alexander said. “If the Democratic majority wishes to pass legislation that would create a new, sovereign government within our borders based solely upon race, it should be brought up separately and debated openly on the Senate floor with the opportunity for amendment.”

“This November, Americans spoke and we listened,” said Cornyn. “Unfortunately, some of my Senate colleagues did not hear the resounding message that rejected secret backroom deals and controversial legislative distractions like this... (Complete Story)

Detroiters have already Seduced Elmont Chamber of Commerce into supporting their Casino Schemes

The Detroiters pushing for a Shinnecock Indian casino at Belmont Race Track have already infiltrated, the Elmont Chamber of Commerce. Traditionally their first target of opportunity is the local Chamber. Here's how they'll seduce the Chamber:  (1) Embrace the local chamber establishment because they’ll be blinded and overwhelmed by the largess of your big hollow economic arguments; (2) Sell them the miracle drug (often a placebo) that will get their desperate economic circumstances moving in a positive direction again and let them wash it down with the Kool-Aid ; and (3) keep them satisfied by throwing around a couple hundred dollars here and there that they can use to go shopping.

But think about it... if these tired their promises and strategies had any truth to them, why is Detroit the worst city in America by nearly all accounts -- but certainly economically?  And now that Detroit's has had the benefits raking in the casino cash for nearly a decade, why did Forbes just rank Detroit #1 Most Dangerous City in America? And how is it that Detroit taxpayers are across the board worse off than they were ten years ago and yet Forbes reports that in the last year alone, the net worth of Mike and Marian Ilitch, they’re the Detroiters behind Gateway Casino Resorts, jumped from $1.7 billion to $2 billion?  

Here’s how:  target places that are already economically challenged/depressed.  Create economic arguments, pulled together by third party consultants that are simply recycled from the last campaign they ran using models that are untested in the real world or purely theoretical.  Reports and messages suggesting a windfall; talk that suggests public/private partnerships but truly leans on the backs of hardworking taxpayers; and shameless about pushing special exemptions, freebies, condemnations, grants and other taxpayer subsidies.

Put on a few Dog & Pony Shows (but please no cameras)
On October 20, 2011, Detroiter Michael Malik flew in his crew to Elmont and at a regularly scheduled meeting of Chamber members, provided what was billed as a detailed peek at renderings and plans for the proposed project.  Malik forbid, however, any photographs of the renderings and failed to distribute any of his own images for people to take with them.  Either those images were re-cycled architectural images that have rolled out previously elsewhere, or they’re renderings that haven’t been approved by Shinnecock leaders or others who will have input/veto and could change significantly. But pictures get people excited and suggest, often falsely,  that things are moving ahead quickly.  If that was the case, images would have been released or photography allowed – at least by local news outlets.

Buy Some Ads
There are Shinnecock favorable ads and advertorial now in rotation on the Elmont Chamber’s website:  A video shares a glimpse into the Shinnecock heritage and culture and links to the Shinnecock Indian Nation website.  An ad graphic showing two men in hardhats touts “A Belmont Casino Would Create Up To 5,500 Good Paying Jobs for Elmont” with a “Learn More” button that when clicked lands visitors  on a Facebook page for a group calling itself “Alliance for a Belmont Casino.” 

Create the Appearances of a Grassroots Movement
That Alliance Facebook page appears to have been created sometime before June 23, 2011.  To date there are a little more than 100 Facebook users who “Like” the page. Posts generally visible are added by the administrator of the page and there is very little fan interaction at this time.  The info tab on the Facebook pages suggests it has been set up by the Shinnecock or their agents because the only link/contact details provided lead back to the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s website.

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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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