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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. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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