Meetings & Information


Monday, November 28, 2011

KG Urban's Partner?

You might find this of value - the KG Urban filing:

You will note:

Item # 46 --

'KG and a joint venture partner would....' undisclosed?

Why the secrecy? In the past, KG Urban has partnered with Sands. Could that be the reason KG is not straightforward about their partner? Is anyone asking?

From: Top 10 Things Gambling Promoters Are Thankful For

NUMBER 8: Las Vegas Sands lobbyists are thankful that they haven’t yet had to explain to Floridians why the company is the object of an ongoing federal investigation, and why, exactly, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Justice Department are trying to find out if the Sands violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

For additional information: Sands Sheldon Adelson Stanley Ho

Curious incident from New Jersey:

It was a worry about those kinds of deals that forced MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM) out of Atlantic City. Gaming officials in New Jersey didn't want anything to do with a company that was associated with gambling kingpin Stanley Ho's daughter Pansy Ho and possible mob ties.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Revisiting past comments 'not at the top of the agenda' seems disengenuous to say the least.

Maybe they should have focused on more comprehensive Ethics Stock Ownership and charities to escape campaign limits. [Bialecki and Rosenberg and Petrucelli come to mind.]

If it wasn't at the top of Governor Slot Barn's agenda, why did he meet with Native Americans immediately after his re-election and promise a Slot Barn in Freetown? or a Slot Barn in Foxborough?

Nothing else happens? And little else did!

Gambling not at top of agenda for DeLeo
Says health care costs, deficit are top priorities
By Michael Levenson
Globe Staff / November 12, 2010

WINTHROP — House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, an ardent supporter of expanded gambling who led this summer’s unsuccessful drive to legalize slot parlors and casinos, said yesterday that the issue is no longer at the top of his agenda.

In a brief interview, DeLeo said he is focused instead on closing the state’s projected budget shortfall and reducing health care costs when the Legislature reconvenes in January.

Gambling “will be one of the items we’ll take a look at, [but] I think more immediately the issues of the health care debate and the budget really are going to require our attention,’’ he said, after speaking at a Veterans’ Day ceremony in his hometown of Winthrop.

The comments from DeLeo, who has fought to legalize slot machines at racetracks since entering the Legislature in 1991, suggested that Beacon Hill’s enthusiasm for expanded gambling may be waning after a showdown with Governor Deval Patrick on the issue ended in finger-pointing and acrimony in July.

Patrick, a casino supporter, told the Globe last week that he is not inclined to pursue gambling again in his second term. DeLeo seemed to agree that the issue may be shelved as the state faces an estimated $2 billion budget gap and persistent complaints about the escalating cost of health care.

“I think we’ve got some other issues we have to come out right at the beginning with,’’ he said.

Senate President Therese Murray declined, through her aides, to comment on her priorities for the coming year.

DeLeo, a Democrat, also spoke for the first time about the results of this month’s election, in which the Republican Party succeeded in ousting a dozen House Democrats and more than doubling, from 15 to 32, the number of seats it controls in the 160-member chamber.

The GOP’s inroads into the House were one of the party’s few bright spots in an election in which Democrats maintained control of every statewide office and congressional seat.

But DeLeo downplayed the result, saying he did not view the Republican victories as a rebuke to his leadership or a desire by voters for a new direction on Beacon Hill.

“We knew that we had a lot of difficult races out there, and, in actuality, we probably did a little better than could have been expected,’’ said DeLeo, whose political action committee spent $235,466, by Oct. 15, to reelect House Democrats.

“The results have shown that, quite frankly, in those areas where Charlie Baker won, those are the areas we had our problems, certain pockets of the state,’’ DeLeo said.

In addition, several of the House Democrats who lost their seats were dissidents who had questioned DeLeo’s leadership style and demanded greater openness and accountability.

DeLeo said he has met already with several of the newly elected House Republicans and they “pledged that they want to work together and get things done.’’

“It’s going to make for a little more lively debate, but the thing folks have to realize is we still have close to 130, 131 members,’’ DeLeo said, acknowledging that some of the Democrats who lost are considering recounts. “We’re still in good shape.’’

DeLeo’s comments on gambling were significant because of the major role he played this summer in shepherding to the governor’s desk a bill that would have legalized three Las Vegas-style casinos and a pair of slot parlors at the state’s racetracks.

A track worker’s son whose district includes the recently closed Wonderland Greyhound Park in Revere and the struggling Suffolk Downs racetrack in East Boston, DeLeo was incensed when the governor rejected the measure and demanded that lawmakers strip out the licenses for slot parlors at the tracks, calling them “no-bid contracts’’ for special interests.

DeLeo, who did not ask lawmakers to consider the governor’s changes, said yesterday that he was “disappointed with the way it ended.’’

But he seemed to echo Patrick, who said last week that the state must focus next year on education, health care, and job creation and not casino gambling, because, Patrick said, “all the air goes out’’ of Beacon Hill when the issue is considered and “nothing else happens.’’

DeLeo said he appreciated the governor’s comments.

“Obviously — surprise, surprise — the budget is going to be front and center as the major topic, and I think health care reform is going to be an issue we have to address,’’ DeLeo said.

Massachusetts Takes Gambling Leap

Massachusetts Takes Gambling Leap
Casinos: Added revenue, yes, but be prepared to fix coming problems

Money should start flowing into Massachusetts' treasury in a few years now that Gov. Deval Patrick has signed the casino bill into law. But residents of the Bay State must realize — if they don't already — that there's likely to be a peck of trouble along with that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Massachusetts needs to be prepared to fix the social and economic consequences that, based on Connecticut's experience, are sure to develop.

Commonwealth politicians debated the casino issue for several years before passing, earlier this year, legislation that allows one full-service casino in the southeast portion of the state, one in the Boston area and one in western Massachusetts. The Massachusetts pleasure domes will drain some business from the Connecticut tribal behemoths, Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Mohegan Sun.

Mr. Patrick is excited about casino prospects, saying that "if done right, expanded gaming can create jobs, generate new revenue and spur economic growth in every region" of the state. That rosy scenario is at least partially true. Casinos are good for creating thousands of low- to middle-paying jobs. But gaming isn't a Route 128-style industry.

Massachusetts politicians would be foolish to count on casinos being fonts of always-growing revenue streams for the state. Casino revenues have been flat in Connecticut. The industry is not recession-proof.

Connecticut's experience also shows that there are other problems that casino gaming will bring to Massachusetts along with the jobs and the glitter. Casinos can be business-killers, in the words of Jeff Benedict, former president of the Connecticut Alliance Against Casino Expansion. The region around the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot casinos has seen restaurants and other small businesses bite the dust. Casino-bound traffic can bottle up a town.

Gaming will mean dire social consequences for those who can't control their gambling — in Connecticut, a surprising number of them trusted government officials, accountants, pillars of their communities — and their families. More bankruptcies. More divorces and broken homes. More kids at risk. More suicides.

Get ready, Bay State, to spend a lot of that new money on fixing new problems.

Atlantic City: Police stress importance of help from community residents in solving crimes

Police stress importance of help from community residents in solving crimes
By LYNDA COHEN, Staff Writer

Solving crimes takes more than just good police work, authorities insist. It takes witnesses.

"You can't expect law enforcement is going to get it all done themselves," Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel said. "The people have to come forward and assist."

Atlantic City's two most high-profile cases this year show that can happen.

Five days after Sunil Rattu, 28, was killed and his girlfriend wounded in a carjacking that began in the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort parking garage, three Camden men were in custody in the crime.

"It's an example of what can be done when people come forward," Housel said. "People came forward, some I believe anonymously. That makes a world of difference."

One of the biggest breaks in the deadly carjacking came when a Bally's casino dealer told authorities he remembered a strange altercation with three males hours before the Sept. 17 carjacking. It got so uncomfortable, he drove away - but not before taking down the car's make, model and license plate number. That gave investigators the suspects' vehicle - a car reported stolen from Haddonfield - and helped pinpoint where they may have been to help in tracking video of them.

In that case, however, both the victims and the suspects were from far outside Atlantic City.

"Atlantic City, in a very real sense, is a small town," Housel said. "People do know each other. A lot of times you get people who are the victims themselves who won't cooperate. That happens so often, it's pathetic."

On Sept. 8, 2010, a man and woman were gunned down as they talked on a Caspian Avenue stoop during daylight hours. The neighbors welcomed police and Prosecutor's Office detectives when they canvassed the area for help. But no one, it appears, came forward. Many residents didn't even want to give their names.

"Usually the main witness is the victim or the victim's family," Atlantic City Deputy Police Chief Ernest Jubilee said of the violence. "They fear there may be some retaliation."

Sometimes there is another motivation.

"A lot of times we have people involved in criminal activity shooting each other," Jubilee said "They feel they can handle it themselves as opposed to involving police. They want their own street justice."

Investigators know that was the case at least once this year. One victim of an unsolved homicide was the main suspect in the killing of another man about a month earlier. Housel would not name the cases.

"We can't prove it, so we can't bring closure to the family," he said. "Because people still won't come forward."

But people finally did speak out in the case of Nadirah Ruffin, 19, who was taken from her cousin's Back Maryland home at gunpoint, then later found dead in Philadelphia's Schuylkill River.

Almost immediately after her disappearance, there was a community-led effort that included rallies and people going door to door to encourage possible witnesses to come forward. After her death, the movement gained even more momentum.

"Nadirah Ruffin was a heinous, heinous crime," Jubilee said. "That just shocked the whole community. We've had marches and we've had causes raised, but Nadirah's murder had a lot of people in the community upset.

"She was thought to be the innocent person or innocent bystander affected by crime," he added. "I think that's what got cooperation of the people."

Things are getting better, Jubilee said.

"More people are cooperating this year as the bad things happen," he said.

There have been arrests in nine of Atlantic City's 14 homicides this year, the latest two of which happened last Sunday. Just three of last year's dozen killings are considered solved.

Those open include the July 13, 2010 killing of Eric Prater, 30, who was gunned down just a week after Saleem Tolbert, 26, was shot to death a half-block away, and more than a year after Prater's younger brother, Quintin, 24, was killed. All three killings happened in Atlantic City's Back Maryland section, the same area Ruffin was when she was abducted.

"To a certain degree there has always been some apprehension by some people to talk to police," said Jose Ruiz, a police captain in Pleasantville, which saw a drop in violence beginning with a spate of peace rallies last year.

The police are also getting involved, he said. They have been attending meetings of the community-led Pleasantville Watch and also have members on a newly formed county Stop the Violence committee, which includes Mayor Jesse Tweedle and has conducted two town hall meetings so far.

"We want to get the word out to everybody, there is a way of reporting crime anonymously where you don't have to leave a name or any information," Ruiz said. "You don't have to identify yourself, we just want to be steered in the right direction."

The message is getting out, he said.

"We've gotten more calls as far as suspicious activity," Ruiz said. "I think that's a result of us going out there and speaking to the public and us going out to these neighborhood watch meetings. We made it clear that it would definitely help if the community cooperated."

Atlantic City homicides in 2011
*Feb. 15: Charles Baker Jr., 22, Fort Myers, Fla.; shot at Hobart and Marmora avenues.

Feb. 16: Bruce Bowers, Atlantic City; found shot dead in Lighthouse Plaza

*March 26: Nadirah Ruffin, 19, of Atlantic City; abducted from Back Maryland apartment

*April 21: Deziree Vivian, 27, of Atlantic City; stabbed at store on S. Georgia Ave.

*May 2: Nyimah Janet Elain Burns, 4½ months; fatally shaken in N. Indiana Ave. home

May 26: Antwon A. Ward, 20, of Pleasantville; shot in 300 block N. North Carolina Ave.

*July 11: Ignacio Castro, 45, of Atlantic City; stabbed at Pacific and Florida avenues

July 23: Tajajuan Russell, 25, of Atlantic City; shot near church on Lexington Avenue

*July 29: Alfred Kessleski, 71, of Atlantic City; beaten outside apartment building

Aug. 18: Shamir Tirone Harper, 28, of Hamilton; shot inside My Place Deli, New York Ave.

*Sept. 10: Craig Giatto, 42, homeless; stabbed to death inside abandoned building

*Sept. 17: Sunil Rattu, 28, of Middlesex County; shot after carjacking from Taj Mahal

Nov. 20: Darren Holcomb-Tally, 17, of Atlantic City; shot in 800 block North Maryland Ave.

*Nov. 20: Corleone Hayes,29, of Atlantic City; shot inside 1330 Baltic Ave. building

*Arrests made

Saturday, November 26, 2011

NO THANKS this Thanksgiving to the short-sighted politicians

Advances in legalized gambling offer little to be thankful for

NO THANKS this Thanksgiving to the short-sighted politicians, blinkered to how insidious the disease of gambling will become once it is legalized in Massachusetts.

I offer sympathy to the upcoming generations who can look to chance and luck, a something-for-nothing lure, and the fate of recklessly abandoning self and family in place of creatively working to overcome financial hard times. Lawmakers and investors could not have timed it better, seeking personal gain and pleasure from those who are already vulnerable.

The fact is, legalization of gambling will result in more people gambling when casinos are accessible in this state.

I am from a long line of gamblers, and what many people don’t understand about this silent addiction is that, while the alcoholic staggers, the junkie slurs his speech, and the pedophile stalks, the gambler moves with the grace of a cheetah, deceptively.

Statistics have no way of knowing who among us will become a recreational gambler, a problem gambler, or a compulsive gambler. Unknown odds. What is known is that gambling is a gateway to crime and corruption, is morally irresponsible and socially destructive, and leaves a wake of medical expenses and family mayhem for addicts and their families.

Catherine O’Neill


Gambling corruption trial: Former Gov. pushed to testify

This sounds like the future of Massachusetts --

Gambling corruption trial: Former Gov. Riley pushed to testify
Written by Sebastian Kitchen

A defense attorney for VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor said former Gov. Bob Riley is the only potential witness fighting his subpoena to testify in his client's upcoming federal corruption trial and he believes there is a compelling reason.

"It has become more and more clear he has something to hide," said Joe Espy, lead attorney for the casino owner.

But an attorney for Riley said McGregor's attorneys are creating a "sideshow designed for the media."
Matt Lembke, a private attorney hired by Riley, said McGregor's attorneys have not shown that Riley has information concerning the cases of McGregor and six other defendants.
Andrew Arrington, an attorney from the state attorney general's office, cited cases in which he said that requiring current and former officials to testify is "frowned upon."
While prosecutors allege that McGregor and the other defendants offered or took bribes in exchange for votes on gambling legislation, Espy said Riley was leading the fight against the legislation and made offers to people to block it.
"He was the leader of the no votes. He wasn't a soldier," he said of Riley.
Espy said that Riley offered campaign contributions and projects, but said he could not be more specific because the judge has sealed the information.
Lembke called that claim outrageous slander. He said Riley never offered anything to anyone during his eight years as governor.

Lembke and Arrington argued against Riley testifying. Arrington said that Riley and Col. Chris Murphy, former director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety, should have executive and law enforcement privilege.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel Jr. presided over the hearing about motions to quash the subpoenas and will issue a ruling. He said that having current officials testify is often discouraged because of issues with time and responsibility, but questioned whether that extended to former officials.

"They're not state executives," Espy said. "Governor Riley is a lobbyist."

Capel, who did not indicate when he would issue the order, also said it seems premature now to determine whether Riley's testimony would be material in the trial, which begins Jan. 30, and that they were asking the court to speculate. He questioned whether it would be better for the trial judge, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, to decide the issue.

(Page 2 of 3)

Arrington and Lembke said Riley should not be required to testify if other people have the same knowledge and can testify.

"They must have personal knowledge that cannot be gleaned from any other source," Arrington said.

Lembke said that if they can prove there is a need for Riley to testify, Riley will abide by the ruling and testify.

"They are not even close to reaching the standard to call a former governor to testify," he said.

Attorneys for both sides said that Murphy, who is now director of public safety for the city of Montgomery, did not object to honoring his subpoena even though the attorney general's office is trying to quash it.

Arrington said Murphy helped direct the task force that Riley created to shut down what he believed was illegal gambling in state. He said there is no connection between the state cases, which he said are pending, and the federal prosecution.
McGregor and the other six defendants will go on trial again because a jury could not reach a unanimous decision on all of the charges against them and the judge declared a mistrial on those counts.

The judges who handled similar motions in the first trial did not compel Riley and Murphy to testify, but said they should be available in case it became necessary.
Espy said that they found out new information during the trial, including an FBI agent saying that Riley was informed of the investigation. Since the trial, Espy said they have seen former lobbyist Jack Abramoff's claims that Native Americans directed money into Alabama to try to block the expansion of non-Native American gambling here. Espy said they are still trying to find out more information about those issues.

Riley has said he did not know about the federal investigation until legislative leaders told him, but a special agent said on the witness stand that the U.S.

Department of Justice was worried about the Legislature passing a tainted bill so they decided to inform legislative leaders and Riley about the investigation.

Defense attorneys argued that Riley appointed a key government witness, former state Rep. Benjamin Lewis, to a district judgeship in Houston County because he cooperated with prosecutors and voted against the gambling legislation. Lewis secretly recorded conversations for the FBI.

(Page 3 of 3)

Espy argued that there was one document turned over relating to Lewis' appointment that Riley would have critical information about.

Lembke said there were members of a committee that handled the appointment to the judgeship who could provide similar information.

Espy said Thompson already indicated in a motion that he thought Lewis was racially and politically motivated.

Espy also cited an email from Riley's office to Murphy in December 2009 that stated that Riley continued to ask questions about east Alabama, which the attorney said was a reference to VictoryLand, and wanted those questions answered before moving on to south Alabama, where Country Crossing was located.

"I do not expect him to order an operation until we have been rejected by the Department of Justice," Espy said reading the email from Riley's office. He did not identify who sent it.

Espy and other defense attorneys have alleged the prosecution was politically motivated, and said they want to know what the communication was between the governor's office and the Department of Justice.

Lembke said that email was sent from Riley's office, not Riley, and that someone else could speak to that communication.

Mount Airy Reducing Slot Machines Again

Mount Airy to cut another 200 slot machines
By Andrew M. Seder

PARADISE TWP. – Since it opened for business in Oct. 22, 2007, Mount Airy Casino Resort has received state approval to reduce its slot machine complement by nearly 18 percent.

With state gaming board approval Tuesday to cut another 200 machines from its gaming floor, the Monroe County casino will soon rank near the bottom of the state’s 10 operating casinos in terms of number of units.

In its application to the board, Mount Airy attorneys argued that the reduction in slot machines will not reduce tax revenue but will save the casino money in maintenance costs. “When market demand warrants additional slot machines,” the application states, “Mount Airy will … add additional machines to meet the demand.”

The board voted 7-0 to permit the latest reduction. In December, the casino requested the removal of 300 machines and the board approved half that amount. In previous requests, the casino asked for lesser numbers of machines to be taken off its gaming floor. Each request was approved.

Richard McGarvey, a gaming board spokesman, said the casino was arguing that the utilization of those machines wasn’t high enough to justify they remain.

The reduction will take place within 90 days, bringing Mount Airy’s slot machine total down to 2,070. At that number, Mount Airy will have just five machines more than Presque Isle Downs in Erie and 468 more than SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has 2,330.

An email to a Mount Airy spokeswoman seeking comment was not immediately returned on Tuesday. Neither was a phone message left with attorney John Donnelly, who handled the case for the casino.

In addition to the reduction in slot machines, the board approved requests by Mount Airy to relocate its poker room to the casino’s third floor and to relocate its high-limit slot machines to the area now occupied by the poker room. There are currently 22 high-limit slot machines in the room but the casino said it could expand that total by 42 in the new location that is four times the size of the current high-limit slots room.

Mount Airy has consistently ranked last in the state for gross slot machine terminal revenue. Each month this fiscal year it has ranked 10th out of 10, and in the past fiscal year it ranked dead last of the nine casinos open the entire year with $145.994 million.

When legislators can't do enough to protect the Gambling Industry: Mount Airy, Pennsylvania, Governor Rendell.

Fix is in for gaming panel

Well.....Howie Carr at least noticed that change in labels from "Destination Resort" to "Destination...." whatever and the "Gaming Commission" instead of "Gambling Commission," but regrettably, little else.

Senator Tucker called them "Slots In A Box." I prefer Slot Barns which is what Beacon Hill is really promoting.

Not one for heavy lifting, Howie, maybe you could do some research instead of simply slinging well-deserved mud? Surely the Boston Globe has provided enough fodder without you stressing yourself with too much research.

Fix is in for gaming panel
By Howie Carr

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz should be impaneling a new grand jury — on spec.

The Gaming Commission — the name itself is probable cause to suspect that a crime has been committed, or soon will be. Especially in Massachusetts, could any name be any ... gamier?

Why didn’t they just call it the Gambling Commission? Who did they think they were fooling? That wasn’t the only phony-baloney name they changed. They’ve stopped calling them “resort casinos” because really, is Milford a resort for anybody except drunken-driving illegal aliens from Brazil?

Now they are “destination casinos,” although after the game guys ’n’ gals on the Gaming Commission have made their picks, the more likely destination for all concerned is a federal pen. From jobs, jobs, jobs to jail, jail, jail.

There will, of course, be a stampede for the commission slots — $150,000 for the chairman, and $112,500 for each of the members. Nice way to round off an extinguished, I mean distinguished, career in the hackerama. Get those three highest years in and you’re looking at a $10G-a-month kiss in the mail for the chairman, and $90G a year for the members.

Commissioners should have a background in mathematics. They must be able to count to five, as in, “I’ll take the Fifth.”

For commissions like this, they always used to appoint a retired FBI agent. That’s no longer an option, obviously. And naturally we’ll need a minority hack — too bad Dick Arrington’s not around anymore, but maybe Skippy Gates is available.

But probably not. The reason the commissioners are going to make such big money is so they won’t need any outside income, above the table outside income, that is. The commissioners are supposed to remain, you’ll pardon the expression, virgins. This outbreak of virginity will make it even more imperative for every commissioner to have a bagman, er, aide.

When the investigations begin — triggered by the losers dropping a dime — the feds won’t even have to break a sweat. Start with Tuesday’s wonderful photo of the bill signing — Exhibit A, they’ll call it. Some day, everyone in it will fervently wish they’d been somewhere else that day. Just ask Mitt Romney about his 2006 Romneycare portrait in Faneuil Hall with Sal DiMasi and Ted Kennedy.

The luckiest hacks in the State House were state Senate President Terry Murray and state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg. They didn’t make it into the frame.

Then there were all those pens Deval used to sign the bill, like it was the Civil Rights Act of 1965 or something. If Deval handed you one of those pens, don’t lose it. If you do, in about three years you could be charged with destroying evidence. Opening question in the grand-jury chambers:

“Sir, on Nov. 22, 2011, did you happen to receive a pen, and if so, from whom, under what circumstances, and was it in return for something of value?”

Is it too early to make a bet? The over-under on politicians going to prison on this scam is five. I’ll take the over

Edgewater tops list of criminal incidents

Edgewater tops list of criminal incidents at province’s casinos

More criminal incidents such as assaults, cheating and thefts took place at the Edgewater Casino in Vancouver than at any other casino or gambling centre in the province between 2005 and 2010, according to data obtained by The Vancouver Sun.

The Edgewater, with annual revenues of more than $110 million and 3,000 to 5,500 customers a day, is one of B.C.’s largest casinos, located in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown entertainment district at the Plaza of Nations on False Creek.

Responding to the Edgewater’s top criminal-incident ranking, Paragon Gaming Corp. spokeswoman Tamara Hicks said the casino has a safe environment, a product of its advanced security and surveillance system and highly trained staff.

“Our security systems are very comparable, if not stronger, than a bank,” she said. “We track everything. The cameras are there. You can’t go to the bathroom without being watched.”

Hicks said because of its location – near BC Place Stadium, Rogers Arena and numerous bars — not all incidents reported by the casino to BC Lotteries Corp. are directly related to the Edgewater’s operation.

“People come into the facility to report crimes all the time. You have to take that into consideration,” she said of the casino’s number of criminal incidents.

As a condition of their licences, casino and gaming centres are required to report all types of suspicious incidents to B.C. Lotteries, which manages commercial gambling in the province.

Since the largest casinos are in the Lower Mainland, rarely does a casino in other areas of the province top a criminal incident category reported to B.C. Lotteries.

Police agencies in the Lower Mainland do not consider their responses to criminal incidents at casinos a drain on resources, however.

Through a request under B.C.’s Freedom of Information Act, The Sun obtained a database of incident reports from casinos and gaming centres from Jan. 1, 2005, to July 22, 2010.

The 292,562 reported incidents covered everything from lost chips, false fire alarms, assaults and unattended children.

Of the incident reports, 9,532 were categorized as criminal in nature.

The Edgewater had the most criminal incidents reported during the more-than-five-year period at 1,171, followed by the Cascades Casino in Langley (952) and the Boulevard Casino in Coquitlam (853).

Criminal incidents fall into 20 categories, including arson, assaults, bomb threats, disturbances, drugs, false identification, fraud, gambling cheats, harassment and indecent exposure. Also on the list are internal thefts, prostitution, robbery, thefts from the casino, thefts from others, threats, trespass, unattended children, underage patrons and vandalism.

The criminal incident reports do not cover suspected money laundering and loan-sharking activities, which must be reported under federal law to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, according to BC Lotteries officials.

During the five-year period covered by the database, the Edgewater topped the list in assaults (63), followed by the Cascades in Langley (58) and the River Rock in Richmond (49).

The Edgewater also topped the incident list for thefts from the casino (58), theft from others (420) and gambling cheats (68).

A gambling cheat incident is any attempt at cheating by a player. It could include adding or taking away bets or the use of a spectator to find out other players’ hands.

The Boulevard in Port Coquitlam led categories in fraud (21), vandalism (84) and harassment (26). The Cascades in Langley barred the most problem patrons from their site (3,802), followed by the Edgewater (2,365) and River Rock (1,598).

The total number of reported criminal incidents is spread among 40 casinos, six of which shut down between 2005 and 2010.

It means the average number of incidents each year in a particular category at a casino is often low.

For example, the Edgewater had an average of about one dozen assaults and cheating incidents reported annually from 2005 to 2010.

In the theft-from-others category, the Edgewater on average logged less than two incidents per week.

In a rare case of a smaller casino making the top of a criminal incident category, the Treasure Cove Casino in Prince George in northern B.C. had the third most reported drug incidents, at 102, during the five-year period.

The Starlight Casino in New Westminster reported the most drug incidents (213), followed by the Cascades in Langley (117).

The Treasure Cove, with an annual revenue of $45 million in the fiscal year 2010-11, is much smaller than the largest casinos like the Boulevard ($152 million), Starlight ($119 million) and the Cascades ($113 million).

The Great Canadian Gaming Corp.-owned River Rock, with $260 million in annual revenues, is the largest casino in the province, but it did not top any of the criminal-incident categories.

Among the large casinos in the Lower Mainland, it had the second most gambling cheats (48), third most assaults (49) and sixth most drug incidents (21).

Howard Blank, Great Canadian vice-president of media and entertainment, said he believes a relaxing environment, security that includes licence-plate recognition and staff training create an environment at the River Rock that defuses and discourages criminal acts. “I just think the people that are going to cause a problem are going to stay away,” said Blank.

The only criminal-incident category led by smaller casinos outside the Lower Mainland was children being left unattended, usually in parking lots.

Casino Nanaimo reported 86 incidents, followed by the Treasure Cove in Prince George (80) and Chances Terrace (58),

While the larger casinos almost always top the criminal incidents lists, taking the size of a casino into consideration changes that picture.

When a casino or gambling centre’s revenue is divided by the number of criminal incidents, the smaller ones generally have higher criminal incident rates than the large ones.

Gambling centres in Squamish, Terrace and Prince Rupert had the top three total criminal incident rates, according to a comparison compiled by The Sun using revenue data from 2005-2010.

The annual revenue at these small centres — Squamish ($4.8 million), Terrace ($9.9 million) and Prince Rupert ($8.4 million) — is dwarfed by that of the larger centres.

Of the casinos and gaming centres with the top 10 criminal incidents rates, only two were large casinos from the Lower Mainland — the Starlight at No. 8 and the Edgewater at No. 9.

Gambling centres in Langley and Terrace, and Lake City Casino in Kelowna, had the highest rate of assaults.

Not a single large casino made the list of the top 10 highest rates for unattended children, which was led by gambling centres in Squamish, Terrace and Abbotsford.

In an interview, B.C. Lotteries director of operational compliance Bryon Hodgkin said Lotteries BC had not noticed a higher rate of criminal incidents at smaller operations.

Hodgkin, a former RCMP inspector, also said he wouldn’t draw any conclusions from the incident report data, including why, for example, the Cascades in Langley barred from its site 3,802 people between 2005 and 2010, 40-per-cent more than at the Edgewater in second spot. (At the Cascades, the data show that 2,185 of the bans were alcohol-related, but in another 1,600 cases no reason was cited).

Hodgkin also said there were no conclusions to be drawn from the fact that more unattended-children incident reports took place at smaller casinos outside the Lower Mainland.

Hodgkin said a problem with interpreting the data is that it is possible different observers could mark incidents in different categories.

Hodgkin also said BC Lotteries’ database does not allow incidents that turn out to be unsubstantiated to be taken off the list, which means the incidents could be overstated.

He said it is making changes so incidents can be marked off as unsubstantiated, and there are plans to tighten up the categories.

Said Hodgkin: “I hope that three years down the road, I can say here’s what happened, and this is the trend.”

Simon Fraser University criminologist Rob Gordon said it makes little sense to collect the incident data from casinos and then say you cannot draw any conclusions from it.

Gordon, director of the school of criminology, said he suspects the data are simply not being analyzed to determine if there are problems at casinos.

For example, he said, the higher criminal incident rates at smaller casinos could be a result of bigger casinos being watched more carefully.

If the data was being analyzed, it should be reported publicly, and it would not be necessary to use the Freedom of Information Act to access it, said Gordon.

10-046 Settlement Record

Casino resorts? Braman says don’t buy the hype

Casino resorts? Braman says don’t buy the hype

I believe “destination resort casinos” are an assault on the quality of life of our community and must be well-scrutinized and defeated lest we lose the advantages our community has struggled to offer its citizens — and its tourists. One only need examine the promises that were made to other cities regarding casinos and gambling, and compare the results to those promises.

There is a reason they are called “destination” casinos: they maintain control of their patrons by virtue of “comps,” discounts and other incentives for their numerous on-site, casino-owned operations, including restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. They are loathe to see patrons leave their facilities even to have a meal. Thus, in Atlantic City most retail establishments, including restaurants, no longer are in business.

Jack Lowell, who wrote exuberantly in a Nov. 10 column in support for the Genting Group’s Singapore operations, leaves many questions unanswered. He has refused to identify the South Floridians who accompanied him on that Singapore junket and who paid for it.

On the subject of disclosures, shouldn’t Genting, which bought The Miami Herald and Omni properties, as well as the Las Vegas casino operators who want to open casinos here, disclose the names of the lobbyists they have hired, the amount of money they have pumped into campaign coffers of our legislators and what PACs these companies have established or contributed to in an effort to sway public opinion?

It is not in Miami’s best interest to become another Las Vegas, with an unemployment rate at 14 percent and a leader in housing foreclosures. Compare those facts with Lowell’s statements about Singapore’s so-called “economic boost,” and contrast it with Miami-Dade County, where, without big-time gambling, hotel occupancy is booming.

Moreover, supporters of casinos ignore the huge costs we will have to bear for infrastructure improvements and ongoing public safety. Miami does not need to become a magnet for the type of undesirable individuals who are drawn to a gambling community, where crimes such as murder, prostitution, robberies and drugs become more prevalent. According to the Detroit Free Press, several communities near casinos reported more child neglect and spousal abuse.

We have made great strides over the years. We have become a destination for regional and hemispheric bank headquarters and financial institutions from all over the world and are on the cusp of establishing a viable bioscience presence. These types of businesses, which create quality positions paying significant salaries, are non-existent in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

When casino supporters speak about jobs, they fail to state that the average salary of these “thousands of jobs” (many of which would be transferred to Miami from their other casinos) would average $33,000 a year, as Genting’s President Colin Au told me. That is hardly enough to buy a home or educate one’s children. This is not to denigrate our hard-working residents or any job. I know how tough times can create difficulties for our people. I merely seek to compare businesses and the potential futures they offer. Research has shown that more local businesses and jobs are lost to a community as a result of destination resort casinos than are created.

Miami benefits from world class culture. Art Basel Miami Beach, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, is universally recognized as the premiere art fair in the United States and will bring to our community 40,000 visitors from all over the world. The new Miami Art Museum now is under construction and the Museum of Contemporary Art has announced a major addition. Our Miami Science Museum will be built soon. Miami also has gained greatly from all the events at its world-renowned Adrienne Arsht Center, including becoming the winter home of the Cleveland Orchestra, one of the five great orchestras in the world.

And who can forget the wonderful addition of the Frank Gehry New World Center, which recently opened in Miami Beach to heralded acclaim or the Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony Orchestra, both of which are recognized worldwide. None of our civic and cultural achievements is compatible with a Las Vegas/Atlantic City/ Singapore gambling mecca. The Genting Group’s Singapore casino is located on an island and there are major restrictions on residents from entering the casino. Monte Carlo has become a refuge for tax evaders and a haven for white-collar criminals.

Lowell and others protest South Florida’s Indian gaming, store-front “games of skills” enterprises and pari-mutuels as being unregulated and frequented only by locals. Their cure? Bring in big-time gambling for well-heeled tourists! This is a non-sequitur. Why isn’t enforcement of existing laws the cure for any illegal local gambling, if it exists?

If we accept the reasoning that three casinos will generate $6 billion of investment plus 30,000 jobs, why not have 10 casinos to generate $18 billion of investment plus 90,000 jobs? Why stop at three? What are we afraid of? If it is the destruction of our quality of life, as I suggest, then shouldn’t we prohibit big-time gaming casinos entirely? Our state legislators should not risk destroying our community.

I fear that passage of legislation sponsored by Rep. Erik Fresen and Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff not only will transpose Miami into another Las Vegas and our state into another Nevada. It will create a malignancy that will attack our wonderful, culturally diverse community that we have worked hard to create. Sure, we have a way to go to strengthen and protect it. We are working on that. However, we must guard against any supposed quick fix.

Norman Braman is a businessman and civic leader.

Vikings stadium: The high price of rolling the dice

Vikings stadium: The high price of rolling the dice
Gambling’s toll obscured in stadium push
By: Patrick Condon, Associated Press

VADNAIS HEIGHTS, Minn. — Quarter by quarter, Randy Ringaman incessantly fed the casino slot machines and numbly nourished a gambling addiction that drained his nest egg, jeopardized his home and nearly cost him his life.

Now the retired pharmaceutical worker watches with alarm as Minnesota lawmakers eye a raft of expanded gambling options as a way to pay for a new Vikings football stadium. While stadium plan sponsors see a way to raise hundreds of millions of dollars without general tax hikes, Ringaman is part of a competing chorus singing the ills of gambling as anything but pain-free.

His own addiction started innocently enough, playing pull-tabs with friends at a neighborhood bar. Later it escalated to nearly daily casino trips. Rock bottom came on Feb. 29, 2004 when Ringaman swallowed a bottle of pills only to be discovered by his wife, whom he begged not to call an ambulance.

“I purposely did it on Leap Year because that way nobody would have to think about me except every four years,” the 65-year-old recounted recently from the basement of a suburban St. Paul home he refinanced three times to stay on top of his gambling debts.

Financial centerpiece

In recent weeks, the Vikings’ two chief legislative allies — Sen. Julie Rosen and Rep. Morrie Lanning, both Republicans — affirmed that expanded gambling revenue is likely to be a financial centerpiece of a stadium funding bill they could unveil next month.

The Vikings are seeking up to $650 million in state money to help build a replacement to the Metrodome, with the total price tag likely to fly north of $1 billion.

With general tax increases an impossible sell at the Capitol these days, stadium supporters see gambling as the path of least resistance. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is on board, disappointing fellow liberals who have seen him as an ally in pursuit of social justice.

“In a democracy, a free society, people get to choose what they want to spend their money on,” Dayton said earlier this month when asked whether he was concerned that gambling could fall hardest on people of modest means. “That’s why people work, is to have disposable income they can use for whatever entertainment or social activity they choose.”

State lawmakers are mulling a menu of new gambling options: allowing bars and restaurants to upgrade their pull-tab offerings to an electronic version of the game; authorizing two Twin Cities-area horse-racing tracks to install 2,000 video slot machines each; or letting a Minneapolis real estate developer open a brand new casino in that city’s downtown. The state’s cut would come through taxes on the gambling proceeds or licensing fees.

All three ideas potentially offer enough new revenue to fund the state’s stadium share; the latter two proposals would likely leave money to spare for other priorities.

Backers of all three proposals will get a chance to make their pitch directly to lawmakers at the Capitol Tuesday, when two Senate committees hold a hearing on stadium financing options.

Nothing new

Proposals to expand gambling are nothing new at the Capitol, and tapping such revenue to help build a football stadium is not a fresh idea either. But it took on new life in recent weeks, thanks to Dayton’s vocal backing of the Vikings’ stadium push, and fears the team could leave Minnesota when its Metrodome lease expires at season’s end.

Previous efforts have met resistance from an eclectic coalition of casino-owning Indian tribes, religious and social advocacy groups and others who frown on state reliance on gambling dollars for any purpose.

“We think the social costs definitely outweigh any benefits,” said Tom Prichard, president of the conservative Minnesota Family Council. “It encourages indebtedness, family problems. You’re really targeting a narrow range of people who do a significant amount of the gambling.”

Experts on compulsive gambling said there’s no proven link between greater gambling options and increases in the number of compulsive gamblers, which is pegged at 1 to 3 percent of adults. At the same time, Don Feeney, research director at the Minnesota State Lottery, said it’s “intuitive that availability and addiction go hand in hand.”

Paying for the problem

Minnesota currently spends $2.2 million a year on problem gambling treatment, funded by state lottery proceeds. Wealthy, casino-owning tribes like the Shakopee Mdewakanton also donate to such programs.

Ringaman first sought treatment for his own gambling compulsions in the early 1990s, but had a hard time taking it seriously. Over the years, he shifted from playing pull-tabs with friends after work, to playing alone nearly every night, then to trips to the casino once a week or so, to multiple casino trips per week.

For a while his wife joined him, and he learned a trick that convinced her he was uncommonly lucky: “She’d be on a slot machine and losing, so I’d point to the other side of the room and say, ‘Why don’t you go try over there?’ She’d leave, and I’d run to the cash machine and take out a couple more twenties. When she came back, I’d say, ‘Look, I won!”

Besides the home refinancing, Ringaman amassed credit card debts and raided his retirement fund. The suicide attempt came when he started to think about cashing out his 401(k) entirely, knowing he and his wife would be wrecked for good.

After his wife thwarted that February attempt, Ringaman went back to treatment and she took control of their finances. But she didn’t know he was expecting a work profit-sharing check.

“That was the end of April,” Ringaman said. “I went one more time, and the suicidal thoughts came right back. That’s when it finally bothered me enough to go really seek help. And that was the last time.”

Today, Ringaman serves on the board of directors for the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance, funded by state treatment dollars. He said he’s not anti-gambling. But, asked what he thought of the state using gambling money to pay for wish-list items like a stadium, he had a harsh appraisal.

“Geez, I did that same thing. When I did win, I would buy electronics, jewelry for the wife,” Ringaman said. “I don’t see a difference. I think our state has a gambling problem. I think our country has a gambling problem.”

Corruption in Mexico's casinos reaches across U.S. border

Corruption in Mexico's casinos reaches across U.S. border
By Tim Johnson
McClatchy Newspapers

WATERSMEET, Mich. – Hard times have been a constant for most members of the Chippewa Indian tribe known as the Lac Vieux Desert Band.

Nestled in a wooded corner of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the tribe owns a modest casino, a hotel and a golf course. But the complex is far off the beaten path for tourists or gamblers, and many of the tribe's 600 or so members find that steady work is as unlikely as winning a jackpot.

So when a Mexico casino czar named Juan José Rojas-Cardona offered the tribe the chance to invest in Mexico's booming gambling industry, it seemed like a godsend.

But rather than a big payout, the disadvantaged Lac Vieux tribe got swindled. Its multimillion-dollar "investment" disappeared, adding the tribe to a list of victims that included a mammoth hedge fund in London, an Australian manufacturer of gaming machines, an Arizona investor and two Mexican textile tycoons.

Rojas-Cardona, however, has gone on to build one of the biggest gambling empires in Mexico. Relying on a silky sales pitch and apparent close connections to Mexico's top politicians, perhaps including presidents, Rojas-Cardona holds 60 permits to operate casinos in Mexico – even though gambling remains technically illegal there.

A horrendous act of violence on Aug. 25 first exposed the dark underside of Mexico's casino industry when gangsters firebombed the Casino Royale in Monterrey, Mexico's industrial northern hub, killing 52 people. Those arrested later confessed that they were pressuring the casino owners for payoffs on behalf of Los Zetas, one of Mexico's two biggest crime groups.

But a McClatchy probe in the months since has found evidence that the corruption in Mexico's gambling industry goes much deeper than a shakedown by drug gangs. Indeed, the entire industry appears to be deliberately opaque, designed by political barons as a way for them to hand out licenses as favors, tap casino coffers for cash, and let casino operators flout the law.

The Mexican system is so corrupt and unregulated that U.S. casino companies refuse to enter the Mexican market. That, however, has not kept Americans from being victims of the corruption.

It's unclear what, if anything, the U.S. government has done to warn investors of the risks or to help prosecute alleged scammers such as Rojas-Cardona, whose criminal record in the United States includes the dismissal of a drug charge in New Mexico.

Rojas-Cardona's life in Mexico includes a near-assassination in 2007 that was laid to drug barons or rival casino operators.

Ironically, gambling in Mexico has thrived under the National Action Party, or PAN, which swept into power in 2000 promising an end to the corruption and cronyism that had flourished in Mexico during the long reign of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

The PAN's candidate in 2000, Vicente Fox, was the country's first non-PRI president in more than 70 years, and his successor, current President Felipe Calderón, a fellow PAN member, won the post in 2006 in one of the most closely contested races in Mexico's history.

In a dizzying inconsistency, Fox's government in 2004 issued regulations that essentially ignored Mexico's 1947 law that bans gambling. Even though that law remains in effect, Mexico's Supreme Court allowed the new regulations to go forward.

In the ensuing years, first Fox's administration, and then Calderón's, issued licenses allowing 867 gambling venues, permitting some bingo, sports betting and slot machine parlors to expand into poker, roulette and craps without explicit legalization.

Calderón's office declined to comment on whether the president knows Rojas-Cardona.

Hundreds of full-fledged casinos now dot Mexican cities, and scores, if not hundreds, more operate off the books or under court protection from friendly judges who provide legal relief. Politicians balk at enacting new laws legalizing the current situation for fear that under-the-table payments may dry up and that global gambling companies could move in and dominate.

Rules ignored

Mexican regulators couldn't seem to bend the rules fast enough once they were in place. For example, Mexico's assistant general director of gambling and lotteries, Roberto Correa Méndez, issued permits for 41 new casinos on the day he quit in 2009.

"You visit any of these establishments, and most have games with dealers, card games, baccarat, and this is prohibited," said García Coronado, who's a member of the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party.

The corruption and favoritism rampant in the Mexican gambling industry served as an incubator for the rise of Rojas-Cardona, 44, a man who spent much of his adolescence and early adulthood in Iowa, where his parents had immigrated from Hidalgo, a state in central Mexico.

From early on, Rojas-Cardona displayed a knack for winning friends. At the University of Iowa, Rojas-Cardona was elected president of the student senate.

After studying economics for five years, Rojas-Cardona left in mid-1990 without getting a degree, the university says. A small cloud followed him. The Iowa state auditor demanded that Rojas-Cardona and other senators return nearly $2,000 in "extravagant" spending on hotels, alcohol, rental of two Cadillacs and double-billing for meals.

Rojas-Cardona, known to one and all as Pepe, ignored the demand.

Rojas-Cardona was charged with a far more serious crime two years later when Border Patrol agents staffing a checkpoint at Orogrande, a remote New Mexico outpost less than an hour from the southern border, saw a white Buick with no license plates approach, then turn south shy of the checkpoint. It was 12:50 a.m., Feb. 11, 1994.

Court records retrieved by McClatchy from a federal records facility in Denver tell what happened next: Agents gave chase and when they stopped the car, they found a "very nervous" Rojas-Cardona. A Border Patrol dog grew excited, and when agents searched the vehicle, they found 17 pounds of marijuana.

Rojas-Cardona signed a plea agreement on the felony trafficking charge in June of that year, but by September he'd skipped bail and vanished.

In late 1998, federal prosecutors asked a judge to quash the arrest warrant and lift the indictment, a practice that sometimes indicates a defendant has become a federal informant. McClatchy could not determine if that was the case with Rojas-Cardona.

Permits granted freely

Rojas-Cardona's criminal past was of no apparent concern to Mexican regulators, who gave enthusiastic endorsements to him and his brother Arturo and their Las Vegas-based partnership, Emex Holdings LLC, one of a web of companies they set up.

Within a few years, Rojas-Cardona and his brother would hold a winning lottery ticket: federal permits to operate 60 casinos and gaming venues.

Just how Rojas-Cardona won the permits is far from clear. But he boasted of friendships with the highest-level politicians and even the primate of Mexico's Roman Catholic Church.

Rojas-Cardona had cast a wide net for foreign investors, sending a Louisiana intermediary to query U.S. Indian tribes if they wanted in on action south of the border.

His trump card: legal Mexican casino permits.

The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa was a perfect target. While some U.S. tribes had prospered since Indian gambling became legal in the United States, the Lac Vieux were not among them.

When Rojas-Cardona's U.S. agent came calling in early 2006, the tribe's leaders liked what they heard and saw a chance to take a ride on a gambling juggernaut.

Moreover, the Rojas-Cardona brothers insinuated that they had backing from the highest politicians in Mexico.

Claims of bulletproof political connections were stock in trade for Rojas-Cardona. William A. Graven, an Arizona investor, said in an interview in Phoenix that Rojas-Cardona claimed to need foreign funds because he was using his own profits to fill the campaign coffers of powerful politicians in national elections in 2006.

While some foreign investors claimed they were getting stiffed, Rojas-Cardona larded politicians, giving a small helicopter in 2007 to the mayor of San Nicolas, site of his first gambling club, Bella Vista. To angry investors, Rojas-Cardona pointed to his high-level political connections and told them to forget about their money.

"He gave the impression that he was Teflon," said Richard J. Verri, an attorney from a Chandler, Ariz., law firm representing the Lac Vieux Desert Band in a lawsuit against the Rojas-Cardona brothers.

Today, the Rojas-Cardonas operate 22 casinos under the Palmas brand and an untold number of others, making them among Mexico's biggest operators.

Angry investors such as the Michigan Indian tribe say they are frightened to come to Mexico to file a criminal complaint. The Rojas-Cardona brothers are "powerful, dangerous men, connected to the highest levels of the Mexican political establishment," Verri, their attorney, wrote in an email.

James Williams Jr., the former tribal leader, still ponders what went wrong, and why both the Mexican and U.S. governments refuse to take action against Rojas-Cardona.

U.S. federal law treats stealing from Indians harshly, requiring that non-Indians guilty of the theft repay twice the value of what was taken.

"What do we do? Do we just say, well, it's over? I can't accept that, especially when you've taken from 600 tribal members," Williams said.

Is casino driving deep cuts in Chuckchansi tribal rolls?

Democracy and Due Process don't exist in Tribal Governance.

Is casino driving deep cuts in Chuckchansi tribal rolls?
By Marc Benjamin - The Fresno Bee

The Chukchansi tribe disenrolled 57 members last month -- including a former tribal chairman -- and sent 200 more disenrollment notifications last week to thin the tribe's ranks further.

Disenrollment not only means loss of Indian identity, but also the loss of much-needed financial allowances that stem from Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino revenues.

The Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians has cut more members than any of California's 106 tribes, said Laura Wass, a Fresno-based representative for the American Indian Movement.

Chukchansi has cut 800 people from its rolls in two other purges in the past 10 years, Wass said.

In recent years, more than 2,500 Californians either have been dropped from Indian rolls or denied membership on the basis of bloodlines, said Wass, who has closely tracked the issue.

Ancestral bloodlines are cited, but the real motive is money, Wass said.

"There was no such thing as disenrollment before casinos," she said.

But an attorney representing the Chukchansi tribe said the only motivation is to make sure that only those people who are eligible by ancestral connection are on the tribal rolls.

There's no doubt that disenrollment can be costly, however.

Those cut from the Chukchansi tribal rolls lose a monthly check of $287. Elders lose a food allowance worth more than $300 a month. Members also lose clothing and educational allowances for their children.

College students lose scholarships, and senior citizens lose utility allowances if they are disenrolled.

Chukchansi isn't the only local tribe to challenge claims to tribal membership. Table Mountain Rancheria rejected claims from about 160 people on the basis of bloodlines, Wass said. The tribe's size was reduced to about 80 members about 10 years ago, she said.

Chukchansi once had more than 1,800 members, bolstered in the late 1980s and early 1990s by a federal policy that paid tribes more money for services provided by the tribe on a per-capita basis, Wass said.

In the years before casino revenues, about the only way someone would be disenrolled would be for disgracing the tribe, such as committing a major crime, she said.

The most recent letters from the tribe's committee that oversees disenrollment were dated Nov. 15. The next day the tribe announced plans to restructure the terms of $310 million in bank notes that paid to build the casino. Rob Rosette, the tribe's attorney, said the two issues are unrelated.

Rosette also denied that Chukchansi members are being disenrolled so others might gain financially.

Disenrollment occurs when a tribal council decides people don't have bloodlines that are specified in their tribal constitution, he said.

It's not something the tribe takes lightly, Rosette said.

"They are following their written law to a tee," he said. "It's not arbitrary. It's objective, and it is well-founded in the law."

Tribal documents say that a person can be disenrolled if it "is more likely than not that the member is not eligible for enrollment under the tribe's constitution."

And Chukchansi disenrollments are final, Wass said.

Some tribes have an appeals process through the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, but Chukchansi isn't one of them, she said.

The family of longtime tribal member Jack Roan was disenrolled in October.

"We submitted documents that Jack Roan's daughter was full-blooded and spoke fluent Chukchansi, but they refuse to acknowledge her," said Nikah Dondero, 32, a descendant.

In her comments at her disenrollment hearing, Dondero said: "I know this disenrollment is wrong. We are taught to take care of our elders, children and youth, not to disenroll them!"

The October disenrollments passed by a 4-3 vote. Remaining Chukchansi tribal members will decide in December whether to re-elect four tribal council members, two who favored the disenrollments and two who opposed them.

Another disenrolled Roan descendant, Gilbert Cordero, was formerly a tribal council chairman. His son, Nolan Cordero, said he knows the most recent disenrollments will not be the last.

"The people who are our friends and are still members need to vote for the right people so this doesn't keep going on," Nolan Cordero said.

Disenrollment is a political tool used to remove enemies from the tribe, said Kenneth Hansen, an associate professor at Fresno State and an expert in American Indian politics.

"It's just about politics, and the people selected to get the boot are perceived to be troublemakers or vote against a tribal chairman," he said.

Many people lose out financially, Hansen said, but the financial losses are less important than the identity and traditions the disenrolled lose after being part of the tribe their whole lives.

"Disenrollment is a civil rights violation," he said. "You are exiling dozens of people because they live on the wrong side of the hill or you say they were never an Indian."

But U.S. civil rights laws don't extend onto Chukchansi tribal land, which is a sovereign nation, he said.

"The way this is done doesn't reflect due process in any meaningful way," Hansen said.

"One family representative gets a short period to argue their case. It's a kangaroo court."

Sometimes, A Tribal Agreement Isn't

For what it's worth: Too many of Indian Gambling disputes have taken many years to resolve and require major investments in legal expenses and appeals.

Our view: City, band both benefit from casino cooperation

The Fond du Lac Band may have prevailed this week, mostly, in the latest twist of the ongoing tussle with the city over tribal-run gambling in downtown Duluth. But the issue remains far from resolved, and that’s good.

The Fond du Lac Band may have prevailed this week, mostly, in the latest twist of the ongoing tussle with the city over tribal-run gambling in downtown Duluth. But the issue remains far from resolved, and that’s good. That means there’s still time — plenty of it, in fact — for both sides to see and to embrace the mutual benefit of working together rather than butting heads, with millions of dollars at stake.

A federal judge ruled this week the band no longer has to make payments to the city for the right to operate the downtown Fond-du-Luth Casino. The band had been making the annual, multimillion-dollar payments since striking a deal with the city in 1986. The deal allowed the casino to open. But the band stopped making the payments in 2009, taking advantage of a window of renegotiations to argue the deal was unlawful.

The judge also ruled that the band must pay the city for those missed payments since 2009, so there’s the band’s “mostly prevailed.”

And here’s the “far from resolved.”

First, another court will decide just how much the band owes in missed payments since 2009. Thrown around has been $14 million, but the court will settle “an accounting dispute,” in the words of Duluth Mayor Don Ness, that could change the number.

Second, watch for both the city and the band to appeal this week’s decision, the city to the 8th District Court of Appeals.

“We have to appeal,” Ness said in a meeting with News Tribune editorial board members this week (Tribal Chairwoman Karen Diver declined to comment for this editorial). “It doesn’t make sense that a political appointee can invalidate a contract approved by the federal courts. There had been 10 other (prior) decisions by the federal courts (and) we prevailed on all 10.”

Before this week.

“It’s very confusing to us,” the mayor continued. “The court put a tremendous amount of weight on an opinion by a political appointee.”

It’s easy to see why the city would fight this week’s ruling and why it’s eager to negotiate a compromise and a new deal. The city has been receiving 19 percent of revenues from Fond-du-Luth Casino, totaling about $6 million a year, money it has been using mostly to fix streets.

But the band should want to negotiate, too. If the 1986 agreement becomes null and void what would stop the city and state from negotiating with another tribe to put a casino at the bayfront or at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. Either location would promise to be a huge draw — and hugely detrimental to the bottom line of Fond-du-Luth Casino.

The band and city both stand to benefit from working together.

“I’ve always been open to that, to finding a true win-win,” Ness said. “We’ve demonstrated our willingness to be flexible and creative and to think outside the box. I haven’t seen a similar willingness from Fond du Lac.

“I don’t want to take a punitive approach to this,” the mayor continued. “We need to protect the interests of taxpayers. And we need to protect the interests of the city.”

The band, it would seem, has similar interests to protect.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gambling corruption trial continues to have impact

Gambling corruption trial continues to have impact
Sebastian Kitchen

In a hectic week in Ala­ bama politics, the inves­ tigation into corruption at the Alabama State House claimed two more people, one of whom was supposed to be a star wit­ness.

Former state Rep. Terry Spicer was never accused of being a party to trying to take bribes to vote for gambling legislation, as some current and former state senators were in the corruption case, but two people who have pleaded guilty in the case rolled on Spicer and shared testimo­ny about him taking cash, a ski trip and other bribes in exchange for his help.

Former Country Cross­ing developer Ronnie Gilley and his former lob­byist, Jarrod Massey, rolled on Spicer once they began cooperating with the FBI.

Some people have been curious if Spicer, with them believing he was be­ing let off easy, was going to turn on other people. But his attorney said, aside from the gambling corrup­tion trial, that he did not expect his client to testify in any other trials. Some people are shocked, after Spicer's admissions of tak­ing about $100,000 in brib­es over the better part of a decade, that prosecutors allowed him to plead to just one count.

But, in his case, prose­cutors would have had to rely on the testimony of Gilley and Massey, which did not appear to be overly effective in the gambling corruption trial of Victory­Land owner Milton McGre­gor and eight other defen­dants. There were no convictions following that 10-week trial.

While state Sen. Scott Beason was a witness for the prosecution in that cor­ruption trial and wore a wire to record conversa­tions for the FBI, defense attorneys roughed him up while he was on the stand with them claiming he was politically and racially mo­tivated. The judge who presided over the case agreed.

Beason, who at the time was chairman of the pow­erful committee that de­termines which bills come to the Senate floor for de­bate, recorded many more conversations than he needed to and somehow managed, when taping himself and fellow Repub­licans, to refer to support­ers of a west Alabama casi­no and dog track as "Aborigines."

He apologized after the trial and the Republican leadership in the Senate left Beason in his key post, arguably one of the most powerful in the Legisla­ture.

But, last week, the lead­ership voted during a con­ference call to remove Beason from the post, which surprised some peo­ple since the lawmakers had previously left him in power despite pleas for him to be removed.

While the Republicans have a large majority in the Senate, their superma­jority, which has allowed them to run over Demo­crats and push through their agenda, is not as large and an agitated Bea­son and an ally or two could cause some problems for the GOP.

One of Beason's key leg­islative accomplishments, the state's tough law to fight illegal immigration, could have had a better week, also. Opponents of the law have claimed it could hurt economic devel­opment in the state and de­ter some large internation­al corporations from selecting Alabama to ex­pand their business, de­priving the state of much-needed jobs here. They questioned what would happen when an executive for Mercedes-Benz, Hyun­dai or ThyssenKrupp -- or one of their spouses -- was picked up for somehow vi­olating the law.

Republican leadership, including House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, shot down that ar­gument Wednesday and said they had seen no evi­dence of the law hurting economic development.

Well, that likely changed that same day, when Tus­caloosa police arrested a German executive with Mercedes-Benz for not having proper identifica­tion, according to The As­sociated Press. The police chief there said the execu­tive would not have been arrested without the law.

With a colleague retriev­ing his passport, visa and other documents from his hotel, police released the executive.

While his stay was not long, executives with other companies cannot look fa­vorably at the arrest or the thought of having one of their executives arrested while here on business.

Many Republicans have not been moved by repeat­ed protests and have said they will refuse to make any changes to the law even with opposition from farmers, some business groups, some religious leaders and from the state's Hispanic popula­tion. But this arrest, espe­cially so soon after the law went into effect, could help change some minds be­cause of the potential for the arrest to hurt the per­ception of the state in the eyes of the business world.

That executive was like­ly not a threat to national security and was not tak­ing a job from an Alabami­an. His company instead has created thousands of good-paying jobs in the state.

Jackpot winners can lose

As long as patrons are losing, 'Casinos' can ignore the self-exclusion list.

How many Gambling Addicts on the self-exclusion have been prevented from Gambling? This effort is more 'fluff' than substance by the Gambling Industry.

What would happen if 'Casinos' were forced to refund 'lost' funds to the state?

Jackpot winners can lose
Written by WAYNE PARRY
Associated Press

ATLANTIC CITY — If, as rocker Tom Petty puts it, even the losers get lucky sometimes, then the reverse is also true in Atlantic City, where even the winners end up as losers sometimes.

Casinos have seized nearly $70,000 in jackpots won in recent months by gamblers who signed up for the state’s self-exclusion list, requiring the casinos to keep them out, usually because of a compulsive gambling problem.

But the gamblers sneaked inside anyway, gambled, won, and got caught, only to see the casinos seize their winnings. Casinos could be fined each time it happens.

“The Division of Gaming Enforcement continues to enforce compliance with the regulations to prevent individuals from gambling if they appear on the self-exclusion list,” said David Rebuck, the division’s acting director. “Individuals who have placed themselves on the list have signed an agreement that all winnings are subject to forfeiture. By removing the incentive to gamble, the division supports the efforts of self-excluded persons to address their gambling problems.”

The biggest case involved a player who won a jackpot of nearly $54,000 at Bally’s Atlantic City in April. The patron, identified in paperwork filed by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement only as “GSD,” signed up for the state’s self-exclusion list in January 2003, requesting to be banned from the Atlantic City casinos for life. That prompted the state to notify all Atlantic City casinos that GSD was to be kept out of the casinos, and was ineligible to win anything.

On April 17, GSD played poker for three hours, and ended up winning a jackpot that, together with the gambling chips in his or her possession, totaled $53,933.

Due to the size of the jackpot, Bally’s security asked for identification, and quickly determined GSD was on the self-exclusion list, and therefore ineligible to win the jackpot.

A similar instance happened at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in February, 2011.
A patron identified only as “YZ” had signed up for the self-exclusion list for a period of five years starting in September 2007. All the city’s casinos were notified.

(Page 2 of 2)
On Feb. 19,, “YZ” played Baccarat for four hours before being flagged by Borgata security as a self-excluded gambler. They seized $13,228 in chips that YZ had.

Bally’s also faces a second accusation of allowing patron “MS” to gamble on May 23, 2011, winning $675. But MS had signed up for the self-exclusion list for one year on Aug. 11, 2010, and thus was ineligible to win anything.

MS had been betting $200 to $300 per hand at blackjack, and had used a credit card to obtain four cash advances to buy gambling chips.

MS also had an additional 10 requests for cash advances on the credit card rejected before being detected by casino security.

The casinos face possible monetary fines for failing to prevent the self-excluded gamblers from playing in the casinos.

Joe Lupo, the Borgata’s senior vice president of operations, said the casino supports the self-exclusion law and does its best to make sure people on the list are kept from gambling. But with the thousands of people that pass through each day, it can be challenging to ensure that no one ever violates the law, he added.
Bally’s did not respond to a message seeking comment.

The money seized from the gamblers will now be split between programs to treat compulsive gambling, and a state fund that helps pay for transportation and prescription drugs for senior citizens.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Food Fight Begins!

Prospective New Bedford casino developer files suit against Gov. Patrick
By Kyle Cheney
State House News Service

NEW BEDFORD — A prospective casino developer eyeing a site in New Bedford filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Gov. Deval Patrick, contending that an expanded gambling law he signed hours earlier was unconstitutionally tilted in favor of Native American tribes seeking a casino in the southeast region of Massachusetts.

“The casino gaming law signed by the Governor today denies us the opportunity to compete for the Southeast license in a fair, open and competitive licensing application process,” argued Andrew Stern, managing director of KG Urban Enterprises, in a statement accompanying the lawsuit.

“More importantly, the law illegally denies the people of New Bedford and southeastern Massachusetts an opportunity equal to the one afforded citizens living in western Massachusetts and in the Greater Boston region. Accordingly, we have been left with no choice but to challenge the legality of the law’s Tribal carve-out provisions in Federal court.”

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday afternoon, contends that the new law violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. KG Urban Enterprises is seeking an injunction to delay the law’s implementation while the suit is in progress.

“The Act is riddled with explicit, race-based set-asides that give federally recognized Indian tribes a categorical advantage over all other applicants in seeking a gaming license in Southeastern Massachusetts,” according to the company’s complaint. “There is no Indian gaming exception to the Equal Protection Clause.”

The new law temporarily reserves a casino license marked for the southeastern region of the state for a Native American tribe. Lawmakers had included those provisions because they feared that a tribe might otherwise obtain land from the federal government and build a casino without state approval and without guaranteeing any casino revenues to the state.

Eight members of the 11-member New Bedford City Council signed a statement sympathizing with the arguments put forward by KG Urban Enterprises, contending that the new law “deprives the local officials and citizens of that region of the opportunity to support the best gaming proposal on the merits.”

The lawsuit provides an immediate test for the new expanded gambling legislation, which sanctions up to three, regionally disbursed casinos in Massachusetts, as well as a competitively bid slot parlor. The administration has argued previously that the bill “does not create an exclusive licensing process for federally recognized Native American tribes in the state's Southeast region.”

“The legislation describes the federal process for federally recognized Native American tribes who are legally entitled to conduct tribal gaming on tribal lands,” a spokesman for the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development said last week. “Any casino built under this process would be a tribal facility, subject to a compact between the tribe and the Commonwealth which would include revenue sharing along with jurisdictional and regulatory rules determined as part of the compact negotiations, and would not be subject to the jurisdiction of the newly created Massachusetts Gaming Commission.”

Similarly, Cedric Cromwell, chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, has rejected the contention that the casino bill gives the tribe an unfair, unconstitutional advantage.

“We applaud the care with which the legislature and Governor Patrick's administration has approached this legislation. They understand that, as a federally recognized Indian Tribe, we are treated as a sovereign political entity by the United States of America,” Cromwell said in a statement to the News Service. “Constitutional and Indian law experts nationwide agree that this treatment does nothing to violate the Constitution, and is fully in line with federal law. The legislation respects these facts and creates a process through which the Tribe and the Commonwealth will be treated fairly. We look forward to working with the Commonwealth to build a first-class destination resort casino that will bring thousands of jobs to southeastern Massachusetts.”

And we’re off to the races

And we’re off to the races
By Brian McGrory

There are undoubtedly Puritans who are rolling over in their graves today, but times change and the state has to change with them.

And so it was that Deval Patrick signed the state’s new gambling legislation yesterday with a tone that bordered on indifference. After the cameras were turned off and the crowds had left, the governor leaned casually against the doorway to his office looking like a guy who had just sold an heirloom that never mattered much to pay some bills that mattered a lot. “I’m not taking this lightly,’’ he said. “You can’t do this without defining who we are.’’

The truth is, Massachusetts, in this new era of gambling, is not that different from the Massachusetts that studied, argued, and negotiated this thing to within an inch of its birth. We’ve had the most successful lottery in the nation for decades. Your neighborhood 7-Eleven is already a minicasino unto itself. There’s keno down the block and Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun about two hours away.

Now it’s about to get a lot more interesting. Specifically, don’t bet the house yet on Suffolk Downs being a lock for one of the licenses. Every prognosticator says that the formidable ownership team of Richard Fields and Joe O’Donnell, along with operating officer Chip Tuttle, in conjunction with Caesars Entertainment Corp., makes it a guarantee. But look to the governor’s appearance on WTKK-FM yesterday morning for evidence that may not be the case. “Personally, I’d rather see them outside of cities, and you have to get to them, because it may moderate the human impact,’’ Patrick said. He told me later, “I have ideas of what locations will be good and which are not.’’

Now’s a good time to point out that the governor appoints the head of the five-member gaming commission and picks two other commissioners with state Treasurer Steve Grossman and Attorney General Martha Coakley. Grossman and Coakley each get their own pick.

Maybe Suffolk, located in East Boston and Revere, does get the nod. Maybe they turn a pockmarked parking lot in the midst of an urban neighborhood a chip’s throw from the airport and convention center into the most lucrative casino complex in America, reviving the state’s horseracing industry in the process.

If not Suffolk, who? The most obvious choice is Milford, where developer David Nunes has a swath of land not far from the Massachusetts Turnpike, as well as the apparent support of the town. I know Nunes well enough to know he’s smart, above board, and has been quietly working at this for a long time.

Everyone with a brain is waiting for other competition to surface. Bob Kraft has been cagey about his land across from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. NFL rules prevent him from building his own casino, but he could lease the land. Which brings us to Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson, two of the most successful casino operators in the world. Both have been paying big sums to top-shelf lobbyists, and Adelson is a Boston native. Stay tuned.

Overall, it’s an oddly fair law, thanks to Brian Dempsey, the House Ways and Means chairman, and Joe Wagner, the House chairman of the Economic Development Committee, who played pivotal roles.

Two last thoughts: The Wampanoag leadership used to have all the sophistication of the Hekawi Indians on F Troop, but now that they’ve partnered with the Genting Group of Malaysia, they are a force to be reckoned with.

And best to keep George Carney, owner of the Raynham dog track, and Gary Piontkowski, the Plainridge Racecourse chief executive, apart. They would probably kill each other for the slots parlor license, which wouldn’t be a good start to this new era.

Illinois: Overstated Revenue Projections

Much as in Massachusetts, the rosy revenue projections have been overstated in attempts to address long-standing flawed fiscal mismanagement.

There's a limit to the amount of discretionary income that can be sucked from the local economies.

Ill. gov report doubts hefty gambling revenues


Gov. Pat Quinn's office touted a new report Monday that concludes Illinois wouldn't get much extra money through a massive expansion of gambling, a finding that seems to support the governor's call for a more restrained approach.

The report says an initial gambling expansion bill passed by lawmakers would bring in about $160 million in new annual gaming revenue for the state and not the extra $1 billion they say some have claimed. That bill was never sent to Quinn, who threatened to veto it because it included slots at racetracks, which he opposes. It did include five new casinos, including the first one in Chicago. Illinois currently has 10 casinos.

Chicago also would benefit more from gambling expansion if casino-style gambling with slot machines at race tracks isn't allowed, said a summary of the report by the New Orleans-based Innovation Group.

"A lot of these racetracks with casinos are going to be on top of other casinos. They will dilute the amount of gaming, so that will cause lower amounts for other casinos," said Jack Lavin, Quinn's chief of staff.

The Illinois horse-racing industry has said it needs slots at tracks to survive and compete with other states. [The dead horse racing industry seeks taxpayer bailouts across the country.]

The report studied not only the original gambling bill also two other scenarios that excluded slots at tracks and had fewer gaming positions at the casinos. Quinn's office said the report was commissioned in September and cost less than $20,000.

Democratic Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie, a sponsor of the gambling expansion measure, said estimates can be low when it comes to gaming revenues. But even if the governor's report underestimates how much money a gambling expansion would bring in, it's still new money for the state, even if it's less than proponents have suggested.

"Who else is proposing $160 million new dollars to the state of Illinois," Lang said, adding that opening casinos would also create new jobs.

Lang said he's unsure whether lawmakers will try again to advance a gambling expansion bill when they return to Springfield on Nov. 29. Lawmakers are due back in session to try to hash out a tax incentive deal to try to keep several big companies that are threatening to leave the state and at the same time offer broader tax relief to Illinoisans.

If gambling does some up, Lang said he feels confident he has the votes to pass a bill despite failing earlier this month to pass an improved version of the original expansion bill that was never sent to Quinn.

Lang said he remains hopeful that Quinn, who has laid out a framework for the kind of gambling bill he might accept, will sit down and negotiate with lawmakers.

"My door is open, my phone rings, I'm prepared to meet, I'm prepared to do it right," he said.

Lavin said the new study gives the sides a place to start in negotiations.

"We need to look at the whole picture of what are the real numbers," he said.

Top 10 Things Gambling Promoters Are Thankful For

No Casinos offers its suggestions for why casino promoters are thankful
We are a push over for cleverness, especially when it's wrapped in holiday twist. So we offer you this from John Sowinski, head of the Disney-backed No Casinos:

With Thanksgiving upon us, we’re asking the question:
What are the Top 10 things casino promoters are thankful for this year?

NUMBER 10: Genting is thankful that the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms was not at last weeks’ Committee meeting when Genting President Colin Au etched his name in Florida history by becoming the first person to use the word “bull$#!*” , not once, but twice in formal testimony.

NUMBER 9: The rest of the casino lobbying gang is thankful that he didn’t drop the F-bomb while he was at it.

NUMBER 8: Las Vegas Sands lobbyists are thankful that they haven’t yet had to explain to Floridians why the company is the object of an ongoing federal investigation, and why, exactly, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Justice Department are trying to find out if the Sands violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

NUMBER 7: Wynn lobbyists are thankful that nobody from their company is currently using obscenities in front of legislative committees or under investigation by the feds.

NUMBER 6: Genting is thankful that land is cheap, and the dollar is low so that even if the legislature rejects casinos, they still got a good deal on some prime real estate.

NUMBER 5: Bill sponsors are thankful that most Floridians are cordial people with enough self-control to not laugh out loud when they claim that Florida has to expand gambling in order to control it.

NUMBER 4: All gambling promoters are happy that memories are short, so very few people remember that last time there was an effort to legalize mega-casinos in Florida, the sitting Speaker of the Florida House wound up on the payroll of a casino company and went to federal prison for, among other things, failing to pay taxes on the cool $250,000 in casino money he was paid.

NUMBER 3: Casino kingpins are thankful that nobody’s bothered to tally the social costs tied to expanding gambling in Florida—including the cost of regulation, crime, business destruction, counseling and treatment of addicted gamblers, support for destitute families, lost productivity, etc, etc, etc.—because once those numbers come out, it will be clear that taxpayers will be picking up the tab when casinos cannibalize existing businesses and drain millions out of the Sunshine State’s economy.

NUMBER 2: Gambling interests are thankful that Florida’s economy is really bad right now, so that they can try to pass off mega-casinos as a boon for our economy, even though Nevada leads America in the unemployment rate (30% higher than Florida’s), foreclosure rate (400% that of Florida’s) personal bankruptcy rate, auto theft rate, assault rate, suicide rate, and on, and on, and on.

AND THE NUMBER ONE THING Casino promoters are thankful for: having a chance to prove PT Barnum right on his famous words: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Posted by Mary Ellen Klas