Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
So, what else is new? Have they failed to inform of Industry presence?
Well, it's not needed because minds are already made up.
So much for those sham hearings they conducted.
House Speaker "Racino" DeLeo sponsored incompetents for state patronage jobs and couldn't understand the public outrage.
Senate President "Cha Ching" Murray boasts that she never reads anything 'ANTI."
Nothing like informed leadership.
Ms. Shepherd got it right!
Massachusetts House leaders to huddle in Amherst on casinos, other key issues
Emmaladd Shepherd of Monson, co-president of Quaboag Valley Against Casinos, criticized House members for plotting casinos behind closed doors.
"I'm afraid there's going to be some agreement done in the backroom,"
Shepherd said on Monday.
"It will be a fait accompli. They will just announce it."
She said House members should air the issue in the open.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Jeers: To the pervasive expansion of tribal casinos in the Northwest. The Associated Press reports that the Yakama Indian Nation plans a $90 million expansion of its facility near Toppenish, including a six-story hotel and conference center. In Northeast Oregon, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation are in the midst of a $67 million expansion, which also includes a hotel.
But even as the plans move forward, the market for Indian casinos is declining. Boosters claim the dip is temporary and that the gambling market will flourish in the coming years. We hope not. Gambling is hardly a way to build stronger families and permanent wealth. It just sucks money from largely unrewarded consumers who often fall prey to addiction. That’s partly why the Cowlitz Tribe’s proposed casino project near La Center is the wrong approach.
It would be much wiser for the tribes to spend their short-term gambling gains to fund a more reliable economic strategy.
By Steve Green
The recession and the over-supply of hotel rooms in Las Vegas continued to punish the Las Vegas Hilton and the nearby Riviera Las Vegas hotel-casinos during the fourth quarter, newly-filed financial reports show.
Bankrupt Riviera Holdings Corp., owner of the Rivieras in Las Vegas and Black Hawk, Colo., said in its annual report this week that the 2,075-room Riviera Las Vegas generated net revenue of $79 million in 2010, down from $92 million in 2009.
In Las Vegas, casino revenue for the year ... fell 14.3 percent while room revenue ... fell 5.9 percent. The average daily room rate fell 5.9 percent to $57.01. Occupancy, however, was nearly 81 percent, an improvement from 77.4 percent a year earlier.
The Hilton, with 2,650 rooms and 300 suites, said its hotel revenue remained steady from 2009 to 2010 ...
"In 2010, table games revenue decreased approximately 19.6 percent and slot revenue decreased approximately 16.4 percent compared to revenues in 2009.....
Confessed thief Richard Watson stole $5.5 million from his Auckland employer over 10 years to fund a pokies addiction. He faces at least six years in prison.
Watson appeared in the Manukau District Court yesterday for sentencing on two charges of theft.
The 55-year-old admitted he stole from his long-time employer, the family-owned Ross Group, to fund a claimed gambling addiction. This was despite earning $300,000 a year as the group's general manager and head accountant, and receiving bonuses worth $700,000 over the course of his 32-year employment.
Watson stole amounts of $50,000 to $200,000 from four company accounts. As head accountant and financial controller of the roofing tile manufacturer, he had access to the bank accounts and authority to transfer funds.
Watson, who previously had name suppression, was supported in court by about 15 family members.
Members of the Ross family also attended and victim impact statements were read by them, including company directors Ian and Cameron Ross.
Watson's sentencing was adjourned till May to allow a psychological evaluation to be undertaken.
The Dominion Post
Two men arrested in late September in connection with illegal sports gambling have been indicted by a grand jury, the Tompkins County District Attorney's Office announced Friday.
Jeffrey S. Iacovelli, 51, and Carmen Ciaschi, 50, both of Ithaca, were indicted in a 22-count indictment that included counts of promoting gambling, possession of gambling records, attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance, conspiracy and enterprise corruption.
Ithaca Men Face Sports Gambling Offenses
By Michael R. Sisak (Staff Writer)
SCRANTON — Former Judge Michael T. Toole tore through a 30-pack of beer a night at the height of the alcoholism and “pathological” gambling addiction that clouded his judgment and complicated his final years on the bench, his attorney told a federal judge Friday.
The 51-year-old father of two hit rock bottom after federal prosecutors charged him two years ago with illegally accepting free use of a New Jersey beach house and failing to pay taxes on an attorney referral fee — charges he is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8.
Since then, Toole has made a remarkable recovery, attorney Frank Nocito told a federal judge this morning at a hearing on Toole’s objections to a pre-sentencing report.
Toole completed an in-patient program at the Marworth Treatment Center in Waverly, sees an addiction counselor and regularly attends meetings of the 12-step support group Alcoholics Anonymous, Nocito said.
He no longer drinks, no longer gambles and has repaired relationships with his wife, Donna, and college-aged son and daughter.
“He recognizes it’s an ongoing process,” Nocito told U.S. Judge Richard P. Conaboy. “Step by step, day by day, and it’s continuing.”
Toole’s drinking evolved from the casual curiosities of high school and college to full-on alcoholism as an adult, manifesting in the late 1990s in a daily pattern of work followed by long hours at the bar, drinking and gambling, Nocito said.
Toole, noticeably slimmer and more vibrant than when he pleaded guilty to an initial set of corruption charges in December 2009, declined to comment as he left the hearing.
Conaboy ordered the hearing after Nocito objected, in a court filing, to the value assigned in the pre-sentence report to Toole’s use of the beach house and the characterization that his use of the home in 2006 and 2008 constituted multiple gratuities.
Posted at 1:20 p.m.: Suspended attorney explains Toole's use of N.J. beach house
SCRANTON — Suspended attorney Harry Cardoni revealed this morning that he invited corrupt former Luzerne County judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan to use the same New Jersey beach house where ex-Judge Michael T. Toole spent parts of three summers, but that they refused.
Cardoni, testifying at a hearing on Toole’s objections to a pre-sentencing report on charges he accepted an illegal gratuity and failed to pay taxes on a finder’s fee, said he also provided at least annual gifts of lobster to Toole, Conahan and Ciavarella and that he provided ex-Judge Ann H. Lokuta with kielbasa.
Toole’s objections led to a postponement of his sentencing, which had been scheduled for today, until April 8.
Toole’s attorneys objected to the pre-sentence report’s characterization of Toole’s use of the beach home as multiple gratuities and asked for a reduced sentence based on the amount of “rehabilitation” Toole has already gone through.
Prosecutors say Toole rewarded Cardoni by appointing an arbitrator hand-picked by Cardoni to hear an insurance case in which Cardoni represented the plaintiff.
Cardoni said in court this morning “friendship” was the only motivation he had for offering Toole use of the beach house. Cardoni said Toole first used the home in 2005.
Federal prosecutors, who only charged Toole with crimes related to his 2006 and 2008 trips to the shore, said they were not aware of Toole’s earlier use of the home until his attorneys brought it to their attention.
Cardoni said he and Toole schemed to create paper trail to cover ex-judge's "free" use of a N.J. beach house in 2008, amid rumors of a federal probe into courthouse corruption.
Cardoni says he gave Toole $8,400 in cash so Toole could write him check covering $7,500 rental fee and have $900 on hand for emergencies.
Cardoni's law license has been suspended by the state Supreme Court, but he faces no criminal charges.
Toole also pleaded guilty to failing to report a $30,000 finder's fee he accepted from another attorney who represented a relative of Toole's wife in a civil case in another county.
That attorney, Robert J. Powell, testified for the prosecution last month in the trial of Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., who faces 13 or more years in prison after being found guilty of racketeering and other charges.
Powell, whose law license has been suspended, faces a likely sentence of 21 to 27 months in prison for failing to report a felony and abetting tax evasion in the Ciavarella case.
Ciavarella, Toole and Powell are among more than 30 people charged in an ongoing public corruption probe.
By WAYNE PARRY
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.
A union representing Atlantic City casino hotel workers is suing New Jersey to try to block $261 million in tax aid for the half-finished Revel casino project.
Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union filed the lawsuit last week against the state Economic Development Authority, but publicized it on Thursday. The EDA agreed last month to refund $261 million in taxes to Revel over 20 years to help restart the stalled project.
That aid guarantee was seen as instrumental in Revel obtaining the remaining $1.15 billion in private financing it needs to finish the casino-hotel.
The union claims the state violated open public meetings and records laws and wants the tax break canceled.
Letter in Springfield Republican, March 24, 2011
Casinos will exact high social costs
I am concerned about the social costs of gambling. People might gamble away money needed for household and gambling also leads to addiction.
Given the negative impact a casino would have on the region, I would urge a 2/3-majority vote of the host town and of the abutting communities before a casino is located in the towns.
Also, in the Palmer Journal, March 24, 2011
Oppose a local casino
Now that the financially distressed Mohegan Sun has scaled by their plans for Palmer, the promised economic benefits are considerably more paltry. The hotel might be off the table, and slots only. This provides them with the best opportunity to fleece gambling addicts of all their money, while returning as little as possible to the host region.
For the sake of the health of our communities, we must oppose a local casino.
We need unbiased analysis
We need an unbiased cost-benefit analysis of casinos and slot parlors in Massachusetts. And the resulting report needs to be publicly discussed before any vote is taken to authorize gambling in the state.
You may recall that Mohegan Sun, the financially insolvent developer of the proposed Slot Barn, recently 'down sized' their proposed "Destination Resort Slot Barn" to a mere "Slot Barn."
This was predictable to anyone who has watched the Gambling Industry. All the amenities disappear, the low wage jobs and revenue evaporate and it becomes a mere Slot Barn with cash sucking machines to pay off the extravagant debt of the parent, while the community is stuck with the expensive impacts, including drunk drivers and crime.
Friday, March 25, 2011
A mortgage adviser swindled £200,000 from friends and associates to feed his spiralling gambling addiction, a Court heard.
Kevin Barker’s victims included Paul Brook, who was best man at his wedding, and another friend who was a godparent to his children, Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday.
Barker, 31, was jailed for 18 months, but the judge, Recorder Paul Watson QC, said he had greatly reduced the sentence after reading glowing references from the complainants, who had not wanted him to be jailed.
Prosecutor Stephanie Hancock told the court Barker had abused the trust of close friends and associates, who he had advised through his part-owned company, K & B Mortgage Solutions, by telling them an “outright lie” about what he said was an opportunity to make money in property development.
Miss Hancock said 16 complainants put in various amounts of money, ranging from £5,000 to £25,000. She said they took out personal loans and readjusted their finances, on the promise that they would make money.
Miss Hancock told the court: “There was never any property development opportunity. It did not exist. He told lies to cover his gambling addiction. It spiralled out of control when he started borrowing from friends to pay back what he owed to others.”
She said Barker told one complainant his grandmother had died, another that his mother had got breast cancer, and a third that he had a funeral to attend in Liverpool, all claims which his supportive family said were true.
Miss Barker said the defendant’s mother discovered what her son had done and phoned all the complainants to tell them the truth and assure them she would try to pay them back.
Barker, of Derwent Road, Bolton, Bradford, then handed himself into police and admitted to what he had done. He pleaded guilty to 16 charges of fraud. Miss Hancock said that such was the affection of the complainants for the defendant, they did not want to give details to police.
Barker’s lawyer, Michael Reeves, said his client was misguided and that since his confession, Barker had attempted to deal with his addiction and had attended Gamblers Anonymous.
Recorder Watson said sentencing Barker gave him no pleasure, but it was fraud on a grand scale.
He said: “You swindled people, who you knew trusted you, who put their confidence in you, in a persistent and determined way.”
The judge said that in Barker’s favour was the fact he had handed himself in and readily made admissions, He added: “I have also read some remarkable testimonials written by people including Mr Brook, somebody who clearly lost a significant amount to you and your fraud, but even now, and to this day, he is prepared to speak highly of you.
“In one sense it makes it worse because it demonstrates the affection these people had for you, which you so blatantly abused in order to lay your hands on their money to feed your gambling thrill.”
by James L. Evans Anniston Star
Gambling is going to play a huge role in Alabama’s political campaign this year — that is glaringly obvious. We already have seen high-profile arrests stemming from alleged vote-buying in connection with a previous attempt to legalize casino gambling in the state. That investigation is ongoing, and only God knows where it will lead.
In the meantime, both candidates for governor have expressed their willingness to allow Alabamians to vote on whether to legalize gambling. Given the economic climate in our state and in our country, it’s a pretty good bet that voters will say yes to some sort of gambling initiative.
The moral concerns about gambling have been made abundantly clear by several faith groups in Alabama, none more vocal than the group I am a part of — Alabama Baptists. In 1999 it was Baptists, in concert with other faith groups and concerned citizens, that shut down former Gov. Don Siegelman’s effort to institute a state-supported lottery. Those voices will be out there again, but it is a different day and time. It is not at all clear that Christian activism will be able to stem the tide this go-round.
The concerns are valid. Lotteries and casino gambling prey upon the poor. It is the desperate among us who seek to cash in on their dreams all at once with one big payoff. For those who cannot manage their behavior, the addictive gamblers, the loss of livelihood and the impact on families can be devastating.
While we must hold accountable those who gamble irresponsibly and lose money they can’t afford to lose, the gamblers are not the only culpable players here. The nationwide over-reliance on gambling as a source of state revenue represents a gross failure of leadership. That is nowhere more evident than in Alabama.
Alabama boasts of having some of the lowest property taxes in the country. But what we get for those low taxes are some of the poorest schools in the nation.
While we complain and bemoan the constant ebb-and-flow in our education funding, we fail to realize that much of our state government is dependent on sales-tax revenue. It is nearly impossible to plan a long-range budget in Alabama because we cannot know from year to year what the sales-tax revenue is going to be. It is that reality that keeps our schools in proration.
All of this represents a failure of leadership. Because elected officials lack the courage to enact adequate taxes, we suffer with inadequate schools and state services. In Alabama, we over-tax the poor by means of sales tax and regressive income tax, and we under-tax the wealthy with favorable income tax breaks.
Combine this with an irrational anti-tax mania that has gripped the whole country, and we end up with a situation in which elected officials are afraid to raise taxes. So instead, we resort to gambling.
I stand with other faith leaders in opposing legalized gambling in our state. But saying no to gambling is not enough. Those who oppose gambling as a moral concern also need to help legislators have the backbone necessary to reform our tax system and raise adequate taxes for schools and other services. Adequate and fair taxes would make the need for gambling revenue irrelevant.
It’s an example of what Paul meant in the New Testament when he wrote, “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.”
James L. Evans is pastor of Auburn First Baptist Church.
I remember the exact moment I looked at my wife and realized she was a gambling addict.
I guess the industry term is “problem gambler,” but that just doesn’t go far enough. Addict or junkie is more fitting to convey the destruction gambling has had on our family’s life.
Our home? Gone. Our savings? Gone. Our children’s education fund? Gone.
All that’s left is filing for bankruptcy to protect us from the dozen or so credit cards my wife secretly acquired and racked up as part of her dizzying juggling act.
She didn’t know her limit and she certainly didn’t play within it.
And yet, what disappeared even faster than the money was the woman I used to know.
I go back to that moment when I realized she was gone forever. She had finally hit the wall and couldn’t hide the problem any longer. She broke the news that we would have to sell our home to cover her losses. Actually, it paid only a fraction of her losses.
I used to be able to tell what she was thinking just by looking at her, but she had mastered deception.
She couldn’t even muster a few tears to make the news more palatable. It was just an icy statement, another calculated move to bail herself out.
Going to the casino without me knowing hadn't been difficult. She had her own business, so she could come and go as she pleased, cramming in gambling sessions while the kids were in school. Her business often meant late nights so I didn’t know where she was. I would wake up and she’d be in the spare bedroom and say she hadn't wanted to wake me. In truth, she had just arrived home at 5 or 6 a.m. She used her business as the mailing address for all the incriminating bills and had concocted other elaborate schemes to keep me from finding out.
Gambling started out as fun girls’ nights out once in a while but, as she later admitted, once she won a big jackpot she thirsted for more. Even now she is convinced she has a 'system' to beat the slot machines. She talks about how certain machines are 'sure things' and that you have to hit them at certain times.
The woman once grounded so firmly in reality is now a little delusional. She went to a Gamblers Anonymous meeting but didn’t return. She signed up for the provincial Voluntary Self-Exclusion Program, but admitted it's still easy for her to quietly go into a casino and gamble -- she'll just get kicked out if she wins and tries to collect.
She never does.
The author is a writer living in Greater Vancouver.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A former executive director of the Lacey Chamber of Commerce is accused of stealing nearly $18,000 from the chamber over about a three-year period.
Court papers say Jenny Thorsell had a gambling problem and spent thousands at the Red Wind and Tulalip casinos.
The Olympian reports the 42-year-old was charged with theft Wednesday in Thurston County Superior Court.
She resigned in May after nearly eight years as the Lacey chamber's executive director.
By The Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk
ATLANTIC CITY — A Harrah's Entertainment paralegal was sentenced to prison in February for stealing $370,000 from a program at the casino teaching youths about the dangers of gambling, according to a report on PressofAC.com.
Jodi Muraczewski, 46, of the Waretown section of Ocean Township, stole the funds over a four-year span starting in 2005 by forging signatures on checks to draw funds from a corporate bank account, the report said. She has been sentenced to three years in prison and will have to pay restitution equal to what she stole.
By The Associated Press The Star-Ledger
ATLANTIC CITY — New Jersey gambling regulators have fined Harrah's Resort Atlantic City $65,000 for allowing underage gambling, failing to detect thefts by a cashier and leaving cash boxes from three slot machines unattended for more than half an hour.
The fines were handed down on March 8 and made public today. They represent the first disciplinary action against a casino by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement since a sweeping change in gambling regulation was carried out in recent weeks.
Harrah's did not contest the violations and agreed to pay the fines. A spokeswoman for Caesars Entertainment said the company had no further comment.
The most serious violation involved casino security failing to detect four thefts totaling $23,000 by an employee in late 2008 and early 2009. A casino cage supervisor identified only as "MS" was accused of entering the casino's main bank area while acting as a cashier when the regular cashier was gone.
The first incident occurred on Nov. 16, 2008, when "MS" was accused of opening a sealed plastic bag containing cash that had been prepared for deposit and replacing two bundles of $50 bills with $20 bills. That theft resulted in an $8,000 shortage.
On Dec. 28, 2008, "MS" allegedly went into the main bank area and took $5,000 from a bundle of cash, hiding it beneath other papers.
On Jan. 1, 2009, "MS" took another $5,000 from the main bank and put it in her pocket.
And on Jan. 18, 2009, "MS" took yet another $5,000 from a bundle of cash.
The casino was cited for failing, through its surveillance department, to identify and stop theft, and for allowing employees to perform incompatible functions that would allow them to both commit a theft or error, and then cover it up in the course of their duties.
The state Attorney General's Office, which oversees the Division of Gaming Enforcement could not immediately say where the criminal case involving "MS" stands. The woman was fired from the casino and three other cashiers were issued written warnings connected to the case.
In the underage gambling case, Harrah's allowed a 20-year-old man to gamble on Dec. 19, 2009, in the wee hours of the morning. The legal gambling age in New Jersey is 21.
According to paperwork filed by the enforcement division, "JB" was twice allowed to buy casino chips without being asked for identification, and played 19 rounds of roulette. He was caught when he and an associate tried to steal a $100 chip from another gambler at the roulette table, and a commotion ensued. Casino security called State Police who charged "JB" with underage gambling after the patron whose $100 chip was stolen declined to press charges.
Perhaps the most embarrassing of the incidents involves an Aug. 16, 2009, episode in which the contents of three slot machines were removed from the machines at 6:35 a.m. But instead of being placed on a trolley for transport to the cash counting room, they were placed on stools in front of the machines and left there for more than 30 minutes while casino employees brought the contents of other slot machines to the counting room.
Eight minutes after the cash boxes were left unattended on the stools, casino security re-opened that area of slot machines to the public so that patrons could use the machines. It wasn't until 36 minutes after the cash boxes were left unattended that casino workers returned to find them still sitting on the stools in front of the machines, and then brought them to the counting room.
Two of the workers were issued written warnings, and a third was on his last day of employment with the casino when the incident occurred.
Vows to pay $1.2M debt after Post prodding
by Keith J. Kelly
It looks like this time, the Native Americans will emerge victorious.
Jerry Powers, the co-chairman and CEO of Plum TV and it nascent publishing operation, has been accused by the Mohegan Sun casino of welshing on a $1.2 million gambling debt that he racked up in a marathon blackjack session back in May 2009.
Shortly after Media Ink got on his trail -- not to mention a tense meeting with the eight-person Plum Media board last weekend -- Powers decided to pay up, ending an 18-month legal battle in which a Connecticut judge had cleared the way for Mohegan Sun to attach some of Powers' assets.
At first, the millionaire Plum executive sought to appeal, but is now reversing himself and is ready to fork over the wampum.
"Jerry is currently in settlement discussions with Mohegan Sun to drop his appeal and pay his gambling obligations in full," a spokesman for Plum TV told Media Ink.
Court papers claim that Powers stopped payment on a $465,000 check and other checks were returned because they were written against accounts that had been closed. In court proceedings, Powers did not claim it was an error or mixup but rather that the Mohegan Sun had no right to sue him in Connecticut state court because it is a sovereign Indian nation.
He also claimed that the Mohegan Sun, in granting him a virtually unlimited line of credit, had engaged in an illegal gambling contract.
Connecticut Judge Robert Leuba rejected both arguments and gave the Mohegan Sun the right to attach his assets to reclaim the debt.
Mohegan Wins Fight Over $1.2M Debt: Report
By JENNIFER SPOSATO
They say the house always wins.
Now, it looks like Mohegan Sun Casino has won its battle with a cable TV executive over a reported $1.2 million gambling debt.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
VIDEO: Judge applauds prosecutors in bingo corruption case
MONTGOMERY, Ala. --- A federal judge applauded prosecutors Wednesday for the phone recording documents they turned over to him in the bingo corruption case.
Judge Wallace Capel had scolded government lawyers Tuesday for their failure to surrender all records relevant to FBI wire taps in the case.
He even threatened to sanction them if they did not provide more records by 5:00 pm Tuesday.
Defense lawyers told the judge Wednesday they had received betweetn 150-200 documents by Tuesday's deadline.
Ten people are charged with carrying out a vote-buying scheme to try and pass pro-gambling legislation in Alabama last year.
The bill failed after the bingo corruption probe was announced.
Much of the case is based on secret FBI phone recordings and defense lawyers have challenged the wire taps.
They have claimed federal agents did not follow legal guidelines during the process of recording phone calls the defendants had with each other along with those not in the case.
Defense attorneys had also accused prosecutors of not surrendering all relevant materials so they could properly challenge the recordings in court.
Now that additional records have been provided, there will be another hearing on the matter Thursday in Montgomery's federal courthouse.
John Tyson Jr., the commander of Gov. Bob Riley's Task Force on Illegal Gambling, speaks to the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery on Tuesday, March 30 [sic March 20], about corruption and his ongoing efforts to rid Alabama of electronic bingo machines.
By LORI STABILE
The Western Massachusetts Casino Task Force supports state Sen. Stephen M. Brewer's call for an independent analysis of expanded gaming.
The task force, which is composed of 14 communities, first voiced its support of an independent analysis more than two years ago, and recently penned a letter to the members of the Massachusetts General Court in support of Brewer's recently filed legislation.
Task Force Chairman Edward S. Harrison, of Monson, said the task force feels that to date, all the studies done about casinos have "been slanted" and conducted by groups that "are not truly independent disinterested third parties. They are people who have a vested interest in getting casinos passed."
Harrison noted that the casino Mohegan Sun is proposing for Palmer, on land across from the turnpike exit on Thorndike Street (Route 32), has been downsized considerably. Touted as a $1 billion project, Mohegan now is proposing a $600 million resort casino. It has gone from 3,000 to 2,500 slot machines, and from a theater with seating for up to 5,000 to a multi-use ballroom of 1,000 square feet to 1,500 square feet.
"Is the casino business as viable as it was before?" Harrison asked. "You look at the news these days and casinos are having problems, and laying off people."
Task force member Paul E. Burns, of Palmer, said he thinks the bill is "redundant exercise."
Oh? Paul, do you mean like the Palmer Casino Study Committee Report that determined a casino would destroy the little town of Palmer financially? The one that you ignored? The one that was buried? What are you hiding?
A court has ruled that Jerry Powers must pay back more than $1 million in credit extended to him at Connecticut’s Mohegan tribal casino, but Powers is appealing.
By James H. Burnett III
Jerry Powers, the Miami Beach-based media mogul who co-founded Ocean Drive magazine and currently runs luxury media network Plum TV, appears to have crapped out in a court battle with a Connecticut casino.
The Mohegan Sun casino has won a civil judgment against Powers for $1.2 million it says Powers was extended in May 2009 as a line of credit so he could gamble there, according to Chuck Bunnell, a casino spokesman.
The ruling granted the Mohegan Sun authority to seize Powers’ assets to satisfy the debt.
Since Powers, 64, has filed to appeal the court ruling, any seizure of assets have been temporarily halted.
Powers could not be reached for comment.
Bunnell declined to comment further, citing the casino’s policy of keeping mum on pending litigation.
During the initial civil trial, the Mohegan Sun’s attorneys accused Powers of cancelling one check he wrote to the casino.
NBCConnecticut.com says Powers took out the gambling marker with the casino so that he could play Blackjack one May evening nearly two years ago.
According to the website, Powers has not disputed that he borrowed the money. Rather, he has argued that he was intoxicated the evening in question and took out the gambling marker under duress. He also argued that Connecticut state courts don’t have the jurisdiction to enforce the deal, since the transaction was made on Native American tribal land.
But New London Superior Court Judge Robert Leuba shot down Powers’ jurisdiction defense and signed off on the seizure of his assets.
Powers is best known as the co-founder and former publisher of Ocean Drive magazine, the Miami Beach-base publication that has featured profiles of the rich and famous. He sold the business in late 2007 for more than $33 million to Niche Media, and stayed with the company for two years as an executive before parting ways.
Last year, he launched Plum TV, a broadcast and Web network that targets the same audience as Ocean Drive, in addition to other hot spots, such as high-end markets, including Aspen, Co., Martha’s Vineyard, and The Hamptons.
PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today fined Presque Isle Downs, Inc., operator of Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie County, $52,000 for three instances of permitting underage persons onto the gaming floor and for permitting a patron on the Self-Excluded List to play slot machines and collect a jackpot.
Additionally, Greenwood Gaming & Entertainment, Inc., operator of Parx Casino in Bucks County, received a fine of $20,000 for removing slot machines without the proper authorization by the Gaming Control Board.
The Board unanimously approved a consent agreement negotiated by the Office of Enforcement Counsel for the 2010 violations at Presque Isle Downs. While it was the first violation involving a self-excluded person at the Summit Township casino, it had been fined by the Board on one other occasion, $15,000 in October 2010 for two incidents involving underage gambling.
It is also not the first fines levied by the Board for violations by casinos of the self-exclusion regulations. Since December 2009, the board has fined three other casinos a total of $75,000 for 8 other violations involving self-excluded persons.
The three violations involving underage patrons resulted in fines of $47,000. These included:
•August 7, 2010 - a 20-year-old male accessed the gaming floor and wagered on slot machines for approximately 35 minutes.
•October 13, 2010 - a 20-year-old female accessed the gaming floor for approximately two hours and 30 minutes.
•November 24, 2010 - a 19-year-old male accessed the gaming floor and wagered on slot machines for approximately one hour and 15 minutes and consumed alcoholic beverages.
The self-exclusion violation resulted in a $5,000 fine, occurred on May 21, 2010, 13 months after an individual was placed on the PGCB's Self-Exclusion list for 1-year but prior to him requesting removal. The PGCB's Self-Exclusion Program, established in late 2006, permits problem gamblers to ban themselves from gambling at Pennsylvania casinos for 1-year, 5-years or a lifetime. Individuals are not automatically removed from the list once the term of the exclusion ends, but must request removal by the Board. Until that time, the person remains on the list and cannot gamble at a Pennsylvania casino.
Once a person is placed on the Self-Exclusion list, gaming facilities in the Commonwealth must:
•Refuse wagers from and deny any gaming privileges to a self-excluded person;
•Deny check cashing privileges, player club membership, complimentary goods and services, junket participation and other similar privileges and benefits to a self-excluded person;
•Ensure that self-excluded persons do not receive junket solicitations, targeted mailings, telemarketing promotions, player club materials or other promotional materials relating to gaming activities at its licensed facility; and,
•Notify the Pennsylvania State Police of violations of the ban. A self-excluded individual who violates the ban will be subject to arrest and charged with trespass.
Currently, more than 2,200 individuals have self-excluded from Pennsylvania casinos.
In this instance at Presque Isle, the individual played slot machines for approximately 40 minutes and was paid a jackpot of $2,001.20. He then played slot machines for 20 more minutes. Only later did Presque Isle personnel notice the jackpot payment was to a self-excluded person. The casino subsequently reported the error to the PGCB's Bureau of Casino Compliance.
The fine against Greenwood Gaming stemmed from a violation of the Gaming Act wherein 10 slot machines were moved without proper authorization. The board imposed a $2,000 per machine fine, and Parx agreed to institute preventive measures to prevent this type of violation from occurring again.
From: Casino Opposition
After Ohio voters said NO to casino gambling 4 times, $50 million was spent to persuade them otherwise. Who would think their money was wasted?
This bears watching for the lessons to be learned.
Penn National was part of a $50 million campaign in this state to persuade voters to approve the casino.
Sometimes, Greed and Lies know no bounds!
Kasich cancels check to casino
Transportation bill rider prevents Penn National from getting $2.5 million
By Joe Hallett
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
The Kasich administration has blocked Penn National Gaming from getting about $2.5 million from the state that it was counting on to help clean up the site of the West Side casino it plans to open late in 2012.
A two-year, $7 billion state transportation budget sent to Gov. John Kasich yesterday thwarts Penn National's attempt to use Clean Ohio money in cleaning up the site of the former Delphi auto-parts plant near W. Broad Street and I-270.
An amendment prohibiting the Ohio Department of Development or other entities from using state assistance for casinos, or other gambling sites such as racetracks, was included in the transportation budget approved by the Senate on Tuesday and ratified by the House yesterday.
Rob Nichols, spokesman for Gov. John Kasich, said the administration requested the amendment because it thinks casinos have sufficient resources and don't need help from the state's taxpayers.
"The administration believes that the casinos do not need any additional development incentives in order to build these facilities," Nichols said.
The decision to deny the funds, he said, was not coordinated with the city of Columbus, which is involved in lawsuits with Penn National.
In January, the Franklin County commissioners voted to apply for $2.5million in state Clean Ohio funding for the 114-acre Delphi site, where Penn National is to build a 300,000-square-foot Hollywood Casino.
Dan Williamson, spokesman for Mayor Michael B. Coleman, said the city supported the application and he expressed surprise that the Kasich administration had moved to deny the money to Penn National.
"We support those funds, and we continue to support those funds for the Hollywood Casino," Williamson said.
The city agreed to back the Clean Ohio funding after Ohio voters in May 2010 moved the Columbus casino site out of the Arena District.
So far, Penn National has spent about $16 million cleaning up the Delphi site and about $ 4million on the Arena District site it owns and is seeking to sell.
"We've spent close to $20 million remediating two brownfield sites on our own dime," said Eric Shippers, senior vice president for Penn National.
Since Clean Ohio money cannot be spent on sites that already have been cleaned up, Shippers said, the transportation bill's denial of the money to the firm "may be sort of a moot question at this time."
Columbus has been involved in a stalemate with Penn National over annexation of the casino site. The city has refused to provide sewer and water services to the site unless it is annexed. The company has balked at annexation unless the city agrees to breaks on taxes and utility rates and other financial help.
While denying Penn National money it expected to receive, the transportation budget does provide about $5.5 million for the Ohio Casino Control Commission. Chairwoman Jo Ann Davidson told the six other commission members yesterday that the money should be available by April 1.
Davidson said about $250,000 would be available for the commission to begin hiring a staff, leasing office space and paying the members' $60,000-a-year salaries. Money for the commission, which will govern the state's four new casinos, had to be put in the transportation budget when it was discovered that no funds were available because of a legal oversight.
The commission will draw money as needed and pay it back to the state once its primary funding sources - casino license-application fees and an allocation of 3percent of the tax on gross casino revenue - start to flow.
Davidson said the commission hopes to hire an executive director within two months.
By Buffy Spencer, The Republican
SPRINGFIELD - Elizabeth Wilk, former treasurer of the Chicopee Friends of the Public Library, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to stealing $115,198 from that group.
Wilk, 57, was also vice president of mortgage lending for Chicopee Savings Bank at the time, a position she no longer holds.
Jack St. Clair, Wilk's lawyer, said Wilk is a gambling addict, using the stolen money for scratch tickets and gambling at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.
Sentencing of Wilk is set for April 21 at 2 p.m. before Hampden Superior Court Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder.
Wilk, of 81 Orchard St., Chicopee, pleaded guilty to larceny over $250 by a single scheme and making false entries into corporate books (the books of the Friends group).
In an agreement with Hampden District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni's office, Wilk agreed to plead guilty to a district attorney's complaint taken out Tuesday, which is a way of being charged without a grand jury indictment.
Assistant District Attorney James C. Orenstein told Kinder the crimes took place between Dec. 22, 2007, and Sept. 16, 2010.
The Chicopee Friends of the Public Library is a nonprofit organization formed in 1996 to raise money to support the library. Its main role is to assist librarians with funding requests and it often purchases equipment and helps fund programming.
The group, which has more than 200 members, pledged to raise $1.5 million to help build the new $9.3 million library, which opened on Front Street in 2004. Its “Raise the Roof” campaign far exceeded the goal, collecting nearly $2 million in donations.
Orenstein said the prosecution has agreed not to seek a longer sentence than 2 1/2 years to a county house of corrections on the larceny charge.
The prosecution is recommending probation on the false entries charge, with a condition of probation paying restitution for the embezzled money.
He said he may reduce the sentence recommendation for jail time, depending on how much restitution is paid before the sentencing.
Orenstein said Wilk maintained the books for the Friends group which had an operating account, savings acount and certificate of deposit. He said the bank became aware of irregularities in the Friends accounts in September. When the Friends board of directors asked Wilk she said she knew nothing about it, and the next day hired a lawyer.
Wilk had taken out cash in relatively small withdrawals, Orenstein said, and as sole signatory on the accounts and also vice president at the bank she was not questioned about the number of withdrawals.
She would submit false reports to the board stating an amount of money in accounts that was not there, he said.
On Jan. 25 Wilk and St. Clair went to the District Attorney'soOffice and she admitted to the thefts, Orenstein said. He said Wilk said she planned to pay back the money when she won big, but ironically when she hit a scratch ticket for $140,000 she did not use the money to pay back the account because to do so would have revealed her embezzlement.
Wilk is free on her own recognizance awaiting sentence.