Saturday, December 17, 2011

Statement by the Trustees of the Shinnecock Nation Following Thursday's Vote Denying them Authority to Contract with Detroit Casino Syndicator

As the elected leaders of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, we understand and accept the vote of our people on Thursday. While some may want to put their own spin on this vote, the elected leadership of the Shinnecock Indian Nation remains committed to the eight-year partnership we have had with Gateway and remains committed to pursuing economic opportunities for our people, including off-reservation gaming on Long Island. We have made tremendous strides in these last eight years and will not turn back now.

We hear clearly that we must do a better job of explaining and clarifying these agreements for our people, while also remaining open to adjustments to address legitimate concerns. We will work with our independent experts to ensure our people get accurate information about the terms, which were carefully negotiated for more than a year. We will not allow false and misleading information, peddled by negative forces, to stop the Shinnecock Indian Nation from getting the economic opportunities we have long been denied.
Shinnecock Indian Nation Tribal Board of Trustees Chairman Randy King, Trustee Gerrod T. Smith and Trustee Frederick C. Bess on the Shinnecock Nation Tribal Vote December 15th

According to the Daily News, former Shinnecock Nation Trustee Lance R. Gumbs had this to say following Thursday's vote:
"Gateway [Michael Malik and Marian Ilitch] needs to understand that they are not going to control our tribe," said Lance Gumbs, a former tribal trustee who voted against the pact.

Reader Explains Why Shinnecock Won't Build a Casino at Belmont Park Race Track

from "Comments" responding to the 12.14.2011 Southampton Press article titled "Discord Erupts Over Shinnecock Vote On Casino Partner's Future:"
By Walt

There is no way the Shinnecock will get a casino at Belmont Park. It doesn't matter what any local officials say; only New York State can permit this to happen. Right now, Resorts World New York City, located at Aqueduct, is regulated by New York State. The agreement with them gives a 30 mile exclusivity clause. I believe Belmont Park is only a few miles from Aqueduct. Secondly, facilities like Resorts World regulated by the state give almost double the profits back to the state than any of the Native American casinos. The state is also moving to make table games legal, and the facility at Aqueduct will be one of the first ones to get table games. Looks like the Shinnecock will have to settle for a location in Suffolk County!

This group is asking for double the management fees from what they would get at other casinos. If they are like the Mohawk casino near the border with Canada, the natives won't be getting the job they expect and will have a token say in how things are run. It is evident that tribal trustees are profiting by having salaries paid to them over the past ten years, salaries for what? For selling out the interests of their tribal members for their own personal interest. These tribal leaders should be in jail! Tribal members would be smart to vote no and kill this agreement, and secondly to elect a new tribal council who has your interests at heart!

It is evident

Friday, December 16, 2011

Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Details Plans for 2012; Native Roll, Restoration of Lands Top List

A gathering Wednesday, December 14, 2011, drew hundreds to St. Andrew's Cathedral in Honolulu to hear the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ (OHA) plans for 2012. The agency hopes to celebrate the goals as accomplishments one year from now.

Click arrow below to view video here

OHA Chair urges unity

By Jim Mendoza
"I stand here in front of you asking all of you to lay your weapons down. Lay your spears down and embrace with aloha," OHA chairperson Colette Machado said.

In her speech on the State of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Machado pointed to next year as a pivotal one for settling the dispute over ceded lands, now that Gov. Neil Abercrombie wants to give OHA 25 acres along the Kakaako waterfront.

"We must always be protective of the open space along the shoreline," she said. "I will support an open corridor for public access so people will have access to the area to gather as ohana, and to use that area to fish and also to bodysurf."

The deal needs legislative approval. Lawmakers plan to question how deep OHA searched for alternatives to the Abercrombie proposal, and if it could open the state to lawsuits.

"Once they explain that to us I think we'll get a better idea about where we want to go," said Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, chair of the Senate Hawaiian Affairs Committee.

"Hawaiians are no dummy when it comes to real estate. Land is our greatest asset. We know the value and situation of that place in particular," native Hawaiian political advisor Kealii Makekau said.

Former Gov. John D. Waihee is
Chair, Native Hawaiian Roll Commission
OHA will also concentrate on the Roll Call Commission, created to compile a list of native Hawaiians interested in self-determination.

"Our primary imperative as a commission is to re-unify the sovereign entity of native Hawaiians one by one, by the thousands," commission chair John Waihee said.

But some advocates for native Hawaiian sovereignty said the call for unity doesn't go far enough.

"We need to stand the nation back up again as an independent nation, not as a sub-group of the United States," said Leon Siu, of an organization called The Hawaiian Kingdom.

Distrust and Suspicion of Detroiter Michael Malik Cause Tribe to Reject Casino Syndicator, New Contract


By Michael Wright
In a tribal referendum on Thursday, a majority of the members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation voted against authorizing the tribe’s leaders to sign a new contract with the Detroit casino developer who has been bankrolling their years-long push to open a casino in the New York metropolitan area.

Vote totals from balloting are not yet available, but the casino developer, Gateway Casino Resorts, acknowledged the results and said it will respect the decision of the tribe’s membership.

“While we are of course disappointed in the vote to not move forward at this time with revised business agreements, which followed well over a year of negotiations and months of tribal meetings, we do respect the decision of tribal members to have further review and discussions of the new deal points,” a statement issued by an attorney for Gateway Casino Resorts co-owner Michael Malik on Thursday evening read. “We look forward to concluding that process. We have stood by the Shinnecock Indian Nation for the last eight years, and will continue to do so and support its quest for economic justice.”

The vote went forward on Thursday over the objections of the Tribal Council, which said the three Tribal Trustees were forcing the vote on the rest of the tribe members before they had a chance to adequately examine the contract.

The Trustees announced the vote in a letter to the entire tribe on Monday. They also urged their members to approve the contract so that the casino effort could continue.

The partnership with Mr. Malik, who has spent millions on legal battles and salaries for some two dozen tribe members, has been the subject of much suspicion and distrust among some members of the tribe and the catalyst for open discord at recent tribal meetings. The contract the tribe was being asked to approve was drafted by Gateway representatives and the five members of the tribal Gaming Authority.

There are approximately 1,200 members of the tribe, of which approximately 650 live on the tribe’s Shinnecock Neck reservation just outside Southampton Village.

See also:

Did the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Purge Comments Exposing Pro-Gambling Front Group? Why Didn't Seasoned Political Reporter Investigate Further?

On July 24, 2011, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser ran a story entitled "Entrepreneurs get rolling on Waikiki casino idea," by Richard Borreca whose pieces on politics appear in the Star-Advertiser on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

Borreca wrote on the overnight emergence of the so-called "Citizens for a Better Way," a pro-gambling advocacy group for which Liz Hata Watanabe was recruited as spokesperson.

The Hawaii Free Press reports that the following was among comments originally attached to the article:
“Borreca stays in the shallow end of the pool once again. Major players? Liz is consistent: 100% track record of failure. With all of biographical info he puffed her up with, why omit an important fact -- her bankruptcy filing in June, 2011, which details her train wrecks and the $300,000 plus she stiffed her creditors for. She is a success only at self-promotion which you and others facilitate at the expense of reality. Coelho was an advisor to Mufi. More relevant was that he was the managing director for less than a year and eased over to Director of Customer Service. After three years with Salem, he is soon to be retired and moving to the Mainland. Whoever hires Radcliffe, though, gets something for the money -- newspaper space even if the stories are fantasies.”
Now consider the power of press censorship. The article as it currently appears at has been purged of that comment and any others that may have been left originally.

Is it as the writer of the comment above suggests, that Borreca lacks skills as a true investigative political reporter?  Or that Borreca or perhaps editors at the Star-Advertiser are supportive of legalized gambling?  Could it be that Borreca is a friend of lobbyist John Radcliffe?  Or that Radcliffe consistently makes himself available to Borreca?

That Borreca failed to consider how it was that Radcliffe would claim he wasn't behind Citizens for a Better Way (CFBW) and yet he was answering questions about the organization and its activities is alarming.

That the Star-Advertiser's seasoned political reporter failed to recognize it would take someone with experience and a lot more true sophistication than the likes of Hata-Watanabe to pull of the comprehensive political advertising campaign sponsored by CFBW is disturbing.  That he failed to push either Watanabe or Radcliffe on the question of who was financing their effort or investigate such further -- especially in light of Watanabe's $387,000 bankruptcy and lack of political fundraising skills.

That he never mentioned Hata-Watanabe's troubles with the Honolulu Liquor Control Commission which are well documented in the public record. That he wasn't aware of or failed to report on Watanabe's one season-wonder TV show "Hawaii's Big Deal Poker Tournament" or probe who bankrolled that venture.

Or that Hata-Watanabe's husband is a veteran officer with the Honolulu Police Department which hands down is opposed to the legalization of gambling in Hawaii. And specifically has opposed the stand-alone Waikiki casino that Watanabe and her benefactors are so eager to see approved. (See testimony by HPD Captain Jerry Inouye opposing HB 781).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Shinnecock Vote Down gaming pact with Gateway Casino Resorts, reject longtime investors Michael Malik & Marian Ilitch


By Mark Harrington

The Shinnecock Indian Nation Thursday voted down a gaming pact with partner Gateway Casino Resorts, a rejection of a longtime backer that has already invested millions of dollars and seven years' work in the project.

"The nation has spoken, by consensus, as it has for thousands of years, and voted today not to finalize gaming agreements with Gateway Casino Resorts," tribal trustees said in a statement Thursday night after the contentious vote.

Of the 274 votes cast, 153 opposed the pact and 121 voted for it. There are some 1,400 Shinnecock members, most of whom do not live on the reservation and were not eligible to vote.

"Gateway needs to understand that they are not going to control our tribe," said Lance Gumbs, a former tribal trustee who voted against the pact.

It's unclear whether the tribe will attempt to negotiate more favorable terms or if the two groups will go their separate ways. A spokeswoman wasn't immediately available. Beverly Jensen, a tribe spokeswoman, declined any further comment.

The Detroit company has financed the tribe's federal recognition efforts in exchange for a casino partnership.

The contracts gave the right to make vital casino decisions on the tribe's behalf to a gaming authority, and stipulate tribal "noninterference" in dealings on the projects.

Only tribal members who are 21 years or older and have lived on the reservation for the past six months were eligible to vote, said Janine Tinsley-Roe, who is on the Shinnecock tribal roll but was prevented from voting because she doesn't live there. Eligible voters were said to number a few hundred members.

Opponents of the contracts feared the tribe would giving away hard-won rights to sovereign immunity and would be locked into a financial agreement they felt was too generous to Gateway. A law firm hired by the tribal council expressed reservations with elements of the non-interference contract.

Much is at stake. The Shinnecock hope to open at least two class III casinos on Long Island, one at Belmont Park, the other in Suffolk, possibly at a former Estee Lauder warehouse in Yaphank .

The agreement with Gateway stipulates the backer will help the tribe acquire the Stony Brook-Southampton campus, and gives the company a 28 percent take of monthly casino revenue.

Recently disclosed gaming documents show conceptual drawings of a casino at Belmont and on Governors Island in Upper New York Bay, though the latter plan is said to be inactive.

Votes Are Counted & Shinnecock Nation Gives Thumbs Down to Contract with Michael Malik's Gateway Casino Resorts

Shall Shinnecock Nation Trustees sign a new contract with Michael Malik's Gateway Casino Resorts?

121 - YES

153 - NO

An intra-tribal war has been brewing on the Shinnecock Indian Nation's Long Island reservation. Members are split about their commitment to move forward and develop gambling halls in New York in partnership with controversial Detroiter Michael J. Malik, Sr. and his fellow investors. Earlier this week, Tribal Members were notified of an election that would be held today among members. 

Voters were asked to cast ballots giving a thumbs up or thumbs down on approval for the Nation's Trustees to sign a new contract with Detroit-based Gateway Casino Resorts and its co-owner Michael J. Malik, Sr..  Among other things the agreements would have governed the future development, management and operation of up to three gambling halls most likley located somewhere on New York's Long Island.In addition to paying back development costs Gateway has incurred, Malik (Gateway) would have received 28% of all revenues for a period of 7-years and have management responsibility for any casinos. (Term Sheet)

Officials of the Shinnecock Nation Gaming Authority had agreed to the Term Sheet in June but needed the full tribes backing.  The votes have been counted and Michael Malik's Gateway Casino Resorts is the loser -- for now anyway.  Given that Malik's casino syndicate has for almost a decade bankrolled millions in legal, lobbying and PR activities and spent millions more making political campaign contributions to support the Nation's efforts to secure Federal Recognition and pave the way for casino development, it's unlikely that Malik and his fellow syndicate organizer Marian Ilitch will walk away from the Shinnecock without a fight to hang onto the franchise.

How Lance Boldrey Turned a Stint in the Governor's Office Into a 10+ Year Multi-Million Dollar Engagement with Detroit Casino Syndicators

Blogger's Note: We've received several inquiries about Michigan gaming attorney R. Lance Boldrey and note an increase in the number of people visiting as part of browser searches of Boldrey's name so we're republishing this 1.08.2007 post originally titled "Aide negotiated '11th Hour' Port Huron casino deal for Gov. Engler; then joined private practice, retained by those who got the deal"

On Sunday, January 7th, the Port Huron Times Herald published an editorial, "Feds must come to aid of Port Huron," suggesting that a Bay Mills Indian Casino planned for that community might still be alive. At the very least, the following raises ethical questions and creates curious circumstances surrounding the proposed casino, deserving of investigation and disclosure.

Lance Boldrey joined the staff of Michigan Governor John Engler sometime in 1999 as Deputy Legal Counsel and chief negotiator for Indian Affairs matters in the Governor's third and final term.

Throughout most of Engler’s 12 years as Governor,
Engler steadfastly opposed the expansion of Indian gaming... BUT in the final months, with Boldrey helming negotiations, something changed.

In September 2002, roughly three months before Engler's term would expire, the Governor was compelled to sign a
land claims settlement agreement Boldrey and others had negotiated the month before with the Bay Mills Indian Community. The agreement would pave the way for a third Bay Mills Indian Community casino to be developed in the urban border town of Port Huron, 350 miles away from its Brimley, MI reservation.

On December 20, 2002, with less than two weeks remaining on his term, Gov. Engler also signed a new
Tax Agreement with the Bay Mills Indian Community covering (or protecting) the Tribe, its proposed Port Huron casino and other commercial and trust properties. Presumably Boldrey played a lead role in those negtotiations as well.

Oddly enough, the so-called "land claims" made by the Bay Mills Tribe in 1996 (the threat driving any need for a Settlement Agreement at all) were never verified. Both state and federal courts tossed out the claims, at that time, on administrative grounds. This raises question about the rushed 11th hour change of policy by Engler and the need for any Settlement Agreement at all. Did the state trade a casino for land claims that weren't legitimate afterall? Were the circumstances surrounding the Settlement Agreement just a theatrical smokescreen to rationalize approval for a third Bay Mills Tribal casino in Port Huron?

But Engler knew the land claims weren't valid and that they were being used to leverage a casino because in a 1999 opinion letter published by the Record Eagle intended to set the record straight,
Engler wrote:

"... I find it remarkable that Congressman Stupak would step in at this late date and join with the Bay Mills Tribe in using the Charlotte Beach homeowners as political pawns. Make no mistake about it - Congressman Stupak's proposal is solely about trying to give the Bay Mills Tribe an otherwise illegal casino..."

"... the state of Michigan has stood by these properly owners since day one, defended them in court, and won the dismissal of the Bay Mills lawsuit against the Charlotte Beach owners. I have no doubt that this dismissal will hold up on appeal ..."
R. Lance Boldrey parlayed stint in Governor's
Office into 10+ year million dollar engagement
Within weeks of Engler approving the the Settlement Agreement, Boldrey flew to Washington D.C. and eagerly represented Governor Engler before a U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on Capitol Hill. Backers of the Bay Mills casino were attempting to railroad congressional approvals in the closing days of the 107th Congress needed to affect terms of the Engler negotiated Agreements.

Boldrey's eagerness might partially be explained in part by the fact that in
July 2002 the White House announced the President’s intention to nominate Boldrey to serve as a trustee of the Udall Foundation. The nomination wasn't sent to the Senate until January 2003 and Boldrey was confirmed in April 2003. During that 6-9 month period it was certainly in Boldrey’s interest to increase his profile in Washington D.C and exploit the credentials he’d developed during the short time he worked as Gov. Engler’s Indian Affairs agent. 

With the help of people like Boldrey, first term Senator
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) had drafted and introduced S. 2986 as a companion to the Settlement Agreement on September 20, 2002. Less than two weeks after its introduction (usually this takes months, sometimes even more than a year), the bill was scheduled to be heard before the full Senate Indian Affairs Committee. At the October 10, 2002 hearing, as the Governor's representative, Boldrey sat beside the Bay Mills Community's elected Council President John Lufkins and together they urged the committee’s swift endorsement. It wasn't to be; Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), a leading Democrat and member of the Committee stood in their way.

Time was ticking on the Engler Administration and on the friday before the 2002 Christmas holiday, with less than 5-6 full business days left on the calendar,
Governor Engler also signed a new Tax Agreement with the Bay Mills Tribe. Among other protections for the Tribe and its members, the Agreement exempted (page 9) hotel rooms, restaurant food and beverages sold as part of any casino and its adjoining resort properties from lodging taxes, sales taxes and use taxes.

Engler’s 12 year administraton came to an end on January 1, 2003 leaving Boldrey unemployed. But within weeks, Boldrey announced he was returning to private practice. He had decided to join the Lansing office of the Dykema Gossett law firm and was tasked with starting up an Indian Law Practice for the firm. A longtime Engler friend, confidant and political agent Richard D. McLellan was a senior partner in the Dykema office. The Dykema law firm had already been handling legal business matters for the MotorCity commercial casino partnership in Detroit. Ilitch, Malik and others who were founders of MotorCity Casino have been the driving force behind the third Bay Mills casino project for a decade or more.

So, Boldrey joined Dykema and before long, the Bay Mills Indian Community, its casino backers like Marian Ilitch and Michael Malik, and others whom previously had to negotiate across the table from Boldrey in his role as the Governor’s point man had retained Dykema Gossett (Boldrey & McLellan) to work on Indian law and gaming matters at prime corporate law firm rates. Boldrey's role now was to protect and advocate for their interests going forward.

What or who compelled the Governor's dramatic change of direction in the last months and days of his administration? Why this proposal instead of some other? Five years ago, those questions were swept under the carpet.

When had Boldrey decided to return to private practice? When did he open talks with Dykema? What role did Richard McLellan play in recruiting Boldrey? What involvement had McLellan had with the 11th hour negotiations with various tribes including Bay Mills? When did Boldrey's future clients learn of his career move? When did they first discuss a future working together? What relationships did he have with "Charlotte Beach" area land owners then or now? Who did he negotiate against as the Governor's representatives that paid him or Dykema after he joined Dykema?

Certainly an attorney whose credits included pulling-off a deal like this would be in high demand and command the highest of fees.

What relationships if any did Boldrey/McLellan have with attorneys Anthony Andary, Robert Golden?

With all of the other matters deserving greater urgency, why was there such a last minute push five years ago for a Settlement Agreement with Bay Mills Indians when they've yet to prove their land claims valid?

What's really at play in the "Charlotte Beach" (also referred to as "Hay Lake" by Bay Mills Tribal Council President) area referenced in the unverified land claims? The Hay Lake/Charlotte Beach locations are near impossible to find on maps in Chippewa County -- Atlas, Google, USGS, etc. or via governmental agency resources. It's only in old plat maps that one will find a reference to the "Charlotte Beach subdivision" east of the Barbeau community on Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

"Charlotte Beach" is a rather obscure place, not among those included in the USGS master place names data base nor referenced in resources available via the Department of Natural Resources at; it is not noted as a town or community or any other place of significance in Michigan; other respective state and federal sources simply don't designate the 110- acre place. There are no obvious references noted by non-profit environmental or natural resource protection groups either. In fact, the only modern public documentation that references a place called "Charlotte Beach" in Michigan are documents related to the Bay Mills land claims. It is doubtful Governor Engler or anyone else for that matter had visited Charlotte Beach, Michigan to see for themselves what was going on there. One must wonder what sort of investigation was done to see who really owns land there or who has bought land since.

It just doesn't add up: a complete and documented reversal of a Governor's long held public policy stance opposing the expansion of gaming; no validated land claims, yet a signed Land Claims Settlement Agreement; two existing casinos already, just not in prime urban locations; an 11th hour Tax Agrement too; 110 acres of land in "Charlotte Beach," an area not designated on maps or by any public agencies or non-profit groups as significant or sensitive; and a lead negotiator who was later engaged by the very parties he once negotiated against. Before Congress or any other elected officials or public agencies take any further action, a complete investigation and full disclosures are warranted.

And what role or connections has political consultant Tom Shields (also an Engler insider, political advisor to Rep. Candice Miller, and longtime spin doctor to Mike & Marian Ilitch) played in these schemes?

See also:

Nov. Revenues Boost Year-Over-Year Performance of Detroit Casinos


By Jaclyn Trop
Detroit's two largest casinos continued to improve their revenue growth for the year with a solid November, leaving Greektown Casino and Hotel lagging, according to state statistics released Tuesday.

MotorCity Casino Hotel, the city's second-largest casino by market share, posted the largest year-over-year gain. The gaming hall posted revenues of $431.5 million from January through November of this year, a 5.8 percent gain over last year's $407.9 million, the Michigan Gaming Control Board reported.

Market share leader MGM Grand Detroit experienced a 2.8 percent rise in revenues to $547.4 million.

Revenues for Greektown Casino and Hotel, the smallest gaming hall, fell 0.9 percent to $321.7 million. (Complete Story)

According to Term Sheet, Detroiters Would Finance Shinnecock Nation Acquisition of SUNY Stony Brook

Based on a "Term Sheet" between the Shinnecock Indian Nation and Detroit-based Gateway Casino Resorts, it appears the Nation remains interested in acquiring the State University of New York at Stony Brook Campus in Southampton.  And their Detroit casino development partner stands ready to assist them in acquiring the property.  In fact, Gateway Casino Resorts has gifted the Nation the first $500,000 needed to acquire the College property.

From the Term Sheet:
Gateway shall assist the Nation in pursuing the acquisition of the college campus known as State University of New York at Stony Brook in Southampton, New York (the "College") by providing reasonable financial assistance to the Nation to: conduct due diligence and research regarding the property, investigate acquisition options, negotiate with the State of New York and federal, state and local entities regarding acquisition of the property, and provide other reasonable assistance to help the Nation facilitate the acquisition of the college. Gateway agrees that the initial $500,000 Gateway provides for such purposes will be a gift to the Nation and that, neither the Nation nor the Authority is required to repay this initial amount of $500,000 to Gateway, with any remaining expenditure being Approved Development Costs. The parties agree that, if the parties determine that the due diligence contemplated by this paragraph indicates that the Nation has a viable opportunity to acquire the College, the parties will discuss how Gateway can assist the Nation with such acquisition or assist the Nation in acquiring a loan to purchase the property. Gateway shall also support efforts by the Nation to include the acquisition of nongaming land during the compact and other negotiations with the State, local and federal governments.

Artist's Renderings of Detroiters' Planned Shinnecock Casino Development at Belmont Race Track

Although Detroit casino syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr., had previous forbid Long Island reporters from printing previously publicly displayed copies of artist's renderings produced for his proposed Shinnecock/Gateway Casino Resorts Gambling Hall at the Belmont Race Track, TVT has received these two renderings among other background materials.

Artist's Rendering: Belmont Hotel & Entertainment Entrance 
proposed by Gateway Casino Resorts with Shinnecock Nation

Artist's Rendering: Belmont Arena Plaza and Monorail proposed 
by Gateway Casino Resorts with Shinnecock Nation
Click on the various "labels" below to discover related stories, documents and resources.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What They Won't Tell You: Insights on Gateway Casino Resorts, its Detroit Organizers and Their Plans for Shinnecock Casinos

Campaign Contributions/Influence


Michael Malik


Community Affairs

Ilitch Interests/Management

Mayoral Reports Various Documents Relative to the Partnership between Detroit-based Gateway Casino Resorts and the Shinnecock Nation of Long Island, New York and their plans for casino developments including Timeline, Term Sheet, Enabling Agreement, and more.

Once Again Michael Malik is at Center of Intra-Tribal Controversy; War Brews on Shinnecock Reservation over Gateway Casino Resorts Contract

Discord Erupts Over Shinnecock Vote On Casino Partner's Future

by Mike Wright
The Shinnecock Indian Nation is set to hold a pivotal vote today, December 15, on whether the tribe will continue its business relationship with Gateway Casino Resorts, the Detroit-based casino developers that have pumped millions of dollars in legal fees and salaries into the tribe over the last eight years in an effort to build a Shinnecock gaming facility.

But in the run-up to the vote, which could approve or reject a new contract with Gateway that was drafted by the tribe’s Gaming Authority, discord has arisen among tribal members over the involvement of Gateway principal Michael J. Malik and the future path of the casino effort in general. The Tribal Council has called for the vote to be canceled while it seeks an independent legal review of the new Gateway contract.

In what was supposed to be a confidential letter to tribal members this week, the Tribal Trustees called for the vote and urged the tribe to ratify the new contract. The letter is dated December 12, just four days before the vote was to be held—a period of time members of the Tribal Council apparently felt was not long enough for tribal members to familiarize themselves with the details of the 12-page contract.

“The Tribal Council is attempting to do its fiduciary responsibility of reviewing the documents with a third-party, unbiased legal council to advise the Nation and tribal leadership before this vote is to be taken,” a statement issued by the Tribal Council on Wednesday morning said. “We are disappointed with the Board of Trustees for forcing this time line and vote on the community before this evaluation is complete. The Tribal Council does not support the vote at this time.”

The tribe’s five-member Gaming Authority has outlined plans for up to three Shinnecock-run casinos on Long Island. This past summer, the tribe received the tacit support of Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano to be the primary developer of a new gaming facility at Belmont Race Track and unveiled sketches of a hotel, casino and entertainment complex adjacent to the famed horse racing venue. Over the last two years, the tribe has also been in discussions with Suffolk County leaders about possible sites for a casino, including parcels in Brookhaven and Riverhead towns.

The new contract with Gateway includes provisions that would have Mr. Malik and his partner, Marian Ilitch, wife of the billionaire founder of the Little Caesar’s pizza chain, continuing to finance more than two dozen salaried positions within tribal government, fund the tribe’s legal and consulting fees, and ultimately pay for the planning and construction of the hoped-for casino.

It would be the first time the Shinnecocks have renegotiated their agreement with Mr. Malik since he purchased the right to be the tribe’s partner from another casino developer, Ivy K. Ong, in 2003. Since that time, Mr. Malik has poured millions of dollars into the tribe’s legal battles, first over initial plans to use a Hampton Bays property owned by the tribe as a casino site—a proposal that has been abandoned—and then in its successful push to secure federal recognition more than a decade sooner than federal agencies would have allowed otherwise. The tribe has also waged court battles claiming contracts with Southampton’s early European settlers in which it gave up ownership of large swaths of Southampton Town were illegal—a claim widely seen as a tactic to win political support for a Shinnecock casino elsewhere.

“I believe the majority of the people will look at what Gateway has done for this community in supporting us and our efforts and livelihoods, with the jobs and the legal help and the federal recognition, and see that [Mr. Malik] has been a good business partner,” Tribal Trustee Fred Bess said this week. “The Trustees’ stance is that we have a good working relationship with our current developer, and we’re looking for their support to move to the next level. We feel that we’ve had many discussions with the membership on these issues, and we think the time is now.”

The letter from the Trustees says that they will not proceed in signing the contracts without the support of the full tribe and cannot enter into any binding agreements on possible sites for a Shinnecock casino, or the necessary compact with New York State, until the contracts with Gateway are affirmed.

The full text of the contract has been posted on a website called The Verifiable Truth, which does not identify its publisher. The website features stories and documents related to the gaming industry, and to Mr. Malik and Mrs. Ilitch specifically. Mr. Bess, however, confirmed the authenticity of the documents posted at the website.

“It’s unfortunate that some tribal members took it upon themselves to talk outside the tribe and share these documents and information with others,” Mr. Bess said. “But we’re going to deal with it and, hopefully, do what’s right for the tribe. The Trustees have the best interests of this community at heart. This is just growing pains, and we’ll get through it as a community.”

Various Related Documents

Michael J. Malik, Sr. is a controversial character, who is often at the center of intra-tribal disputes with those whom he is a casino development partner.  Earlier this year the tribal chairwoman for the Los Coyotes Band of Indians (CA) was ousted because Malik didn’t like a business partnerships she had arranged.  The long-time chairman of the Bay Mills Indian Community (MI) was ousted in an election last month in part because tribal members saw him as Malik’s tool and they’d had enough of Malik’s idle promises for off-reservation casinos.  The now deceased elder and former chairperson of one tribal partner became disillusioned with Malik and called him the “Devil.” She said he had “seduced” younger members of her tribe who didn’t know any better.  By that, she meant he had bought them off with salary, or stipends, or honorariums.

To Bypass Carcieri and Other Off-Reservation Casino Hurdles, Detroiters Plan Introduction of "Mandatory Acquisition Legislation" in Congress

Detroiters who stand to gain hundreds of million of dollars developing and operating Shinnecock Indian Nation gambling halls on Long Island and possibly Governor's Island in New York Harbor, are planning to introduce federal legislation to help them secure approvals and get around off-reservation stumbling blocks including the Carcieri ruling.

According to a timeline produced by the Detroiters' consultants, they are planning to carry out a PR campaign beginning in December 2011 that lays the groundwork for something they refer to as "Mandatory Acquisition Legislation."  That includes plans to "work closely with local governments, union, community groups to build and demonstrate support" for projects in Suffolk County and at Belmont Race Track in Nassau County.

From December 2011 - February 2012, the timeline indicates they will:

  • Finalize Mandatory Acquisition Legislation for introduction to Congress.
  • Finalize PR plans to support congressional introduction and promote passage of Mandatory Acquisition Legislation 

Then in March 2012 they plan to introduce the so-called "Mandatory Acquisition Legislation" to federal officials.

The timeline notes these "ongoing' activities relative to their "Mandatory Acquisition Legislation" strategy:

  • Meet with Federal elected officials; Schumer and Gillibrand; Nassau County and Suffolk County Congressional delegation. Demonstrate local support for Project.
  • Meet with key Federal and State elected officials needed to support Mandatory Acquisition Legislation. Prepare white papers and testimony for congressional committee hearings.
  • Meet with key elected officials, committee chairs, key DOI officials, and present testimony at committee hearings; lobby- lobby- lobby

In addition to up to three casinos on Long Island, the Detroiters may also be eyeing the opportunity to develop a gambling/entertainment mecca on Governor's Island in New York Harbor. (See renderings)

See other materials obtained with the timeline.

Click on the “labels” below to see related posts, documents, resources or visit these any of these posts:

Shinnecock Nation Casino Timeline

Detroiters' Shinnecock Casino Schemes
Timeline (Past History & Future Activity)

Of particular note in 2012, the Developer (Gateway Casino Resorts) plans to negotiate a State Compact with Governor Andrew Cuomo, get said Compact introduced and approved by the New York Legislature; and present and get Congressional approval of something called "Mandatory Acquisition Legislation."  And overlaying all of that are ongoing PR advertising campaigns carried out by Lansing-based Marketing Resource Group to spin the developer's schemes and control messages. What's not outlined here are payments to the tribe and "salaries" or payments by Gateway Casino Resorts to key tribal members who support the schemes.

Shinnecock Nation Gaming Authority Timeline 2001-2012

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Detroit Casino Syndicator Who Can't Get a Michigan Gambling License Reportedly Could Get Biggest Deal in Indian Gaming

Michael J. Malik, Sr., unable to get a

Michigan gaming license is about to 
get most lucrative Indian Gaming deal
Detroiter Michael J. Malik, Sr., can't obtain a gambling license from the Michigan Gaming Control Board, but leaders he's backed at the Shinnecock Indian Nation are reportedly about to award Malik's Gateway Casino Resorts with what some have suggested would be the most lucrative third-party contract in the Indian Gaming industry.

Malik and the Shinnecock have yet to receive all of the approvals they would need to develop and operate a casino off-reservation in New York.  And Malik and his partner Marian Ilitch (Mrs. Michael Ilitch), have failed to win approvals for similar projects in Michigan and California despite more than a decade trying.  In fact, it's been more than a decade since Malik was successful opening any new Indian casino.

Malik is reportedly using expected negotiations with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to pressure members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation into accepting a contract that was reportedly drafted by his Michigan-based attorney Lance Boldrey.

It's more likely that Malik needs such agreements in hand to secure additional or new funding for the casino syndicate that's financing his schemes. You can be sure that Malik and Marian and Michael Ilitch aren't using millions of their own cash to finance the schemes.  A look at the other deals done by the Ilitches suggests theirs are all about leverage and financing, not about using cash.

Through a letter dated Dec. 12, 2011, leaders of the Shinnecock Nation have given three-day notice to tribal members that they expect to vote on Thursday, Dec 15, 2011, on matters to move forward and finalize the deal with Gateway Casino Resorts, LLC.  The letter indicated that tribal leaders have met with Elders Council, Tribal Council, and the community at large through noticed Community Meetings and attempts to suggest those meetings included discussions about issues related to the contract, gaming and the term sheet. Reports are those meetings didn't include any such discussions and that such have taken place in closed door, back room deal sessions which is typical fashion for those behind Gateway Casino Resorts.

Term Sheet: Shinnecock Nation & Gateway Casino Resorts

Detroiters, Shinnecock Planning Gambling/Entertainment Mecca on Governor's Island, NY?

Are Detroit casino syndicators Marian Ilitch (Mrs. Mike Ilitch) and Michael J. Malik, Sr., planning to turn New York's Governor's Island into a gambling and entertainment mecca?  Do they plan to use the Shinnecock Indian Nation to help them do it?

By the looks of these artists renderings that they circulated among certain individuals in New York, it would certainly look that way.

In the shadow of Lady Liberty: Detroiters plan a gambling/entertainment
mecca on Governor's Island, NY

Off the tip of Manhattan: Detroiters plan a gambling/entertainment 
mecca on Governor's Island, NY  

Requests for a copy of the update/background packet that included these renderings can be made by email: OR check out the last page of this document at

Maui Rep. Joe Souki Plans to Introduce Pro-Gambling Constitutional Amendment in 2012

Rep. Souki Recaps Session, Forecasts Election

By Susan Halas
...Souki said that the 2012 legislative session which begins in January will again be about money, but the tone might be “even more conservative” because it’s an election year where every seat in the 51 member State House and 25 seat State Senate up for a vote. “It’s unlikely you’ll see anything controversial,” he said.

Then, in the next breath he added that he plans to offer a state constitutional amendment asking voters if they want to legalize gambling (Hawaii and Utah are the only two states that do not currently allow any form of gaming). Also he said, “There will definitely be measures introduced to liberalize the marijuana laws.”

“I would support both,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean they will pass”... (Complete Story)

State Rep. Joe Souki (D-Maui)
Joseph M. "Joe" Souki (D-Maui) is a 15 term veteran of the Hawaii State House representing the 8th House district which includes Kahakuloa, Waihee, portions of Wailuku and Waikapu. The St. Anthony High School graduate began his career as an administrator for Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO) in 1966 where he was known as an advocate for seniors and low income Mauians.

A lifelong Democrat he entered politics in 1978 when he won a seat as Maui delegate to the Hawaii Constitutional Convention. In 1982 he was elected State House and rose to become Speaker of the House. Almost 30 years later he is Speaker Emeritus, member of the House Democratic Leadership Caucus and chairs the House Transportation Committee.

Souki, now 78 years of age, has served Maui under five governors (Ariyoshi, Waihee, Cayetano, Lingle, Abercrombie) and has had a front row seat in state government and politics for almost 30 years. He plans to seek reelection in 2012.

Blogger's Note: Hawaii and Utah are the only two states in the U.S. with no legalized gambling.

Although Honolulu PD Actively Opposes Legalization of Gambling; Officer’s Wife is Fronting Group Pushing Mainlanders’ Waikiki Casino Schemes

Click for: Honolulu PD Gambling FAQ
Last Spring, Elizabeth Hata Watanabe, the wife of a Honolulu Police officer, emerged out of nowhere as the head of the so-called Citizens for a Better Way. Despite denials by Watanabe and lobbyist John Radcliffe, the group is apparently a front for a mainland casino syndicate hoping to get approvals to develop and operate a stand-alone Las Vegas-style casino in Waikiki.

The Honolulu Police Department has historically opposed the legalization of gambling in Hawaii. In fact, during Hawaii’s 2011 Legislative Session, HPD Officers endorsed by Police Chief Louis Kealoha testified against bills to allow: on-board gambling on cruise ships docked in Hawaiian waters, bingo, gambling on Hawaiian Homelands and development of a stand-alone casino in Waikiki. The later being the objective of Mrs. Watanabe’s lobbying efforts and a mainland casino syndicate (see links to testimony in Scribd box below).

In nearly every instance where HPD officials provided testimony in opposition to a gambling measure,  lobbyist John Radcliffe provided testimony in favor of gambling.  Radcliffe is believed to be the driving force behind the lobbying group for which Mrs. Watanabe fronts.

Honolulu Police Department's Position on Gambling.
Honolulu Police Department's Gambling FAQ
Honolulu Police Deparment's Ant-Gambling Links

During Fall 2010, Watanabe identified herself as the executive producer of “Hawaii’s Big Deal Poker Tournament,” a reality TV show airing Saturdays on Honolulu’s KHON. Despite promises for a second season of Hawaii’s Big Deal, nothing has materialized. And it’s unclear who bankrolled Season One. Watanabe claimed it was to bring attention to her newly formed tax exempt charitable organization, the Hata Foundation.

For several years prior, Watanabe was owner of failed nightclub and restaurant operations. Her establishments were under increasing scrutiny by the Honolulu Liquor Control Commission (HLCC). Namely she had repeated violations serving liquor to minors and it was alleged that she hid her books from HLCC investigators for four years – nearly the entire time she operated the nightclub. In 2009-10, she had one temporary license revoked and the nightclub’s liquor license was suspended. In the wake of HLCC actions, she chose to shutter the establishments.

After closing the failed nightclub and restaurant, producing one season of “Hawaii’s Big Deal Poker Tournament”, and spending nearly $40,000 on a sophisticated advertising campaign which failed to push legislators to support the mainlanders’ proposal for a stand-alone casino in Waikiki, Watanabe filed a $387,000 bankruptcy.

In other related developments...

HPD Major Arrested on Extortion
Reports from the Associated Press during the last month indicate a Honolulu police Major Carlton Nishimura who is facing federal extortion charges received $6,000 a month to protect an illegal gambling room.

According to the court documents and the FBI, while a captain assigned to a Honolulu patrol district, Nishimura directed subordinate officers to inspect and harass other illegal gambling operations considered by his patron to be direct competition.

Nishimura, 55, has remained in custody since a raid on Nov. 14, when agents said they found about a half-pound of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia. They also reported the discovery of $2,400 in cash in a safe, jewelry, gift cards, casino player club cards and a college basketball betting odds sheet.

Gambling Scandal Plagues University of Hawaii Football
Although Honolulu Police say they don’t have enough information to launch an official investigation, allegations surfaced in November to suggest that University of Hawaii football players were involved in a points shaving gambling scheme.

University President M. R. C. Greenwood said she and board of regents Chairman Eric Martinson met with Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha to offer the university's full cooperation.

However, the NCAA said, "We are extremely concerned by the point-shaving allegations involving University of Hawaii football student-athletes and have been in contact with the school since early November."

"We take any allegation of point shaving very seriously as it is a crime that threatens two core NCAA principles -- the well-being of student-athletes and the very integrity of intercollegiate sport."

Subsequently University of Hawaii Warriors Football Coach Greg McMackin resigned under pressure.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Casino Syndicator Couldn't get a Michigan Gambling License; Yet he's Worthy of a Stanley Cup Championship Ring?

Is Michael Malik sporting a Stanley
Cup Championship ring?
If controversial character Michael J. Malik, Sr. isn't affiliated with Ilitch Holdings, Inc., Olympia Entertainment, Olympia Development, the NHL Red Wings or any of the other Ilitch companies, why is it he apparently sports a 2008 Stanley Cup Championship ring?  His reputation suggests he's a rather dishonorable character but apparently someone thinks he's worthy of an NHL Stanley Cup Championship ring.

Malik, who holds himself up to have been, along with Mrs. Marian Ilitch, one of MotorCity Casino's founders, failed to receive a Michigan gambling license in 1999, reportedly due to character and tax issues; and it was reported Marian Ilitch arranged a buyout of Malik's interest in the casino necessary before the Gambling Commission would allow the gambling hall to open its doors. Not licenseable as a proprietor of a gambling hall but worthy of a Stanley Cup ring?

The terms of his "buyout" with Ilitch have never been revealed publicly. Clearly there's something controversial involved.  However, since being formally pushed out of MotorCity Casino, Malik has made his offices in the executive suites at Ilitch Holdings, Inc.'s Fox Theater headquarters. Some consider him to be Mrs. Marian Ilitch's political bag man and others even say he's her Consigliere.  Certainly he plays "bad cop" to her "good cop."

Despite more than a decade of legal and personal problems that pile upon the reasons he failed to get a Michigan gambling license, it has been reported that Malik is partners with Ilitch in various unfulfilled schemes to build an Ilitch gambling empire expanded to New York, California and Hawaii.

However, because of the often controversial, even illegal, nature of Malik's activities, it's always denied that he's directly affiliated with Ilitch Holdings or any of its venerable subsidiary brands.  Yet he's worthy of wearing a Stanley Cup ring?

No wonder some people he attempts to influence, intimidate or even bully walk away from meetings with Malik thinking he's part owner of the Detroit Red Wings. Or is he? And is that why he's sporting a championship ring?  Was Red Wings ownership a part of the buyout of his MotorCity Casino interests?

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