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AG wants disclosure of riverboat casino money

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Non-profit and for-profit companies that receive riverboat casino revenue through economic development agreements should have to disclose how they spend the money, the Indiana Attorney General told lawmakers at a legislative committee meeting on Monday.

At its third meeting of the year, the interim Gaming Study Committee met to discuss several issues relating to gambling in Indiana, including a topic that ties in directly with ongoing litigation in both state and federal courts. Where riverboat casinos operate, state law requires that a local development agreement be set up so a portion of casino revenue is set aside and directed to fund local economic development projects to boost tourism. But disclosure for how that money is spent isn't currently required.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller testified before the 11-person committee about his continued push to require public disclosure by any corporation receiving this revenue through a statutory agreement. Deputy Attorney General David Miller also appeared. The AG's support for the transparency stems from the case of East Chicago Second Century, in which a for-profit company received 0.75 percent of the revenue from the city's riverboat casino - or $16 million over 10 years. The 1995 agreement was put in place by former East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick, who is no longer in office.

New leadership in East Chicago canceled the Pastrick-era local development agreement, and the AG's office reports that approximately $6.3 million in revenue remained in escrow at the end of 2008. In the Pastrick case and the ongoing Second Century case in Marion Superior Court, the AG's office is trying to force open the books and impose a constructive trust over the corporation to create accountability.

Second Century got the case dismissed at the trial court and Indiana Court of Appeals levels, but in April the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state and revived the case, sending it back to Marion Superior to decide whether Second Century must make a public disclosure of how it spent casino revenue. "Beyond asking the trial court to impose a constructive trust on the Second Century organization and reform its operation, we are trying to pry open the long-closed financial books to find out who benefited from the $16 million Second Century received," Zoeller said. "We are asking the trial court to do that with Second Century, and we are asking the legislature to require that same public disclosure wherever casinos have Local Development Agreements with outside entities, not just in East Chicago."

A disclosure provision was inserted into House Bill 1514 during the General Assembly's regular 2009 session, but it was removed during conference committee negotiations in the final days of the session last April. The committee didn't take a vote on Monday, but AG spokesman Bryan Corbin said Zoeller hopes to see the disclosure language introduced again during the upcoming session.

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  1. OK, now do something about this preverted anacronism

  2. William Hartley prosecutor of Wabash county constantly violates people rights. Withholds statement's, is bias towards certain people. His actions have ruined lives and families. In this county you question him or go out of town for a lawyer,he finds a way to make things worse for you. Unfair,biased and crooked.

  3. why is the State trying to play GOD? Automatic sealing of a record is immoral. People should have the right to decide how to handle a record. the state is playing GOD. I have searched for decades, then you want me to pay someone a huge price to contact my son. THIS is extortion and gestapo control. OPEN THE RECORDS NOW. OPEN THE RECORDS NOW. OPEN THE RECORDS NOW.

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  5. Out here in Kansas, where I now work as a government attorney, we are nearing the end of a process that could have relevance in this matter: "Senate Bill 45 would allow any adult otherwise able to possess a handgun under state and federal laws to carry that gun concealed as a matter of course without a permit. This move, commonly called constitutional carry, would elevate the state to the same club that Vermont, Arizona, Alaska and Wyoming have joined in the past generation." More reading here: http://www.guns.com/2015/03/18/kansas-house-panel-goes-all-in-on-constitutional-carry-measure/ Time to man up, Hoosiers. (And I do not mean that in a sexist way.)

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