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AG opposes East Chicago settlement terms

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Indiana's Attorney General opposes a proposed settlement between the city of East Chicago and a developer regarding riverboat casino revenues because it would grant additional money to that developer at a time when the state is suing to open up the financial books.

East Chicago Mayor George Pabey announced Thursday he negotiated a settlement with East Chicago Second Century Inc. for all future riverboat casino revenues that would have otherwise been paid to Second Century to go directly to the city. East Chicago sued in 2005 to undo a local development agreement entered into by previous Mayor Robert Pastrick that gave a cut of casino money to the for-profit developer - approximately $1.5 million annually.

In 2007, the attorney general intervened, filing a counterclaim and cross-claim seeking imposition of a constructive trust for public benefit and an accounting of the money paid to Second Century. The trial court dismissed the AG's claims and the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed. The Indiana Supreme Court last year reversed and remanded for further proceedings, allowing the case to proceed.

That led to the AG last summer requesting in a separate civil suit against former Mayor Pastrick that a federal judge, as part of an ongoing federal racketeering case, allow the state to look into the developer's finances and what has been given to officials in East Chicago. Last year, the nonprofit organization Foundations of East Chicago, which also received casino money and is a party to all this litigation, filed a motion to intervene in the federal case. U.S. Senior Judge James Moody hasn't issued a ruling yet in that case.

In a statement released Thursday, Attorney General Greg Zoeller said he opposed any result that would allow additional funds be given to Second Century, which has refused any public review of how it spent more than $16 million it received over 10 years. Zoeller is not involved in the settlement.

The issue for the attorney general is opening the for-profit developer's books and providing an accounting so that the public can see how the money has been spent.

"Forward-looking disclosure is not enough; there must be disclosure going back to the founding of Second Century, created by the Pastrick organization during the period that is subject of our RICO investigation," Zoeller said.

In addition to Second Century relinquishing its claims to future revenues paid from the riverboat, the proposed settlement allows for the city and Second Century to jointly petition the court to distribute funds - approximately $8 to 10 million - held in escrow since the beginning of the litigation. Of the escrowed funds, 54 percent would go to the city and 46 percent would go to Second Century. The settlement agreement will be submitted to the East Chicago Common Council on Monday for approval.

As a result of this litigation, the attorney general supports language in Senate Bill 405 in the General Assembly this session that would create transparency for local development agreement companies and LDA nonprofits that receive casino money. If passed, the bill would require either a for-profit or nonprofit LDA to publicly disclose to the state how it spends the money and who is awarded the funding. SB 405 is currently under consideration by the full House.

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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