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State seeks contempt against East Chicago casino group

May 23, 2013

Principals of a politically connected East Chicago group that received $16 million in casino revenue intended to benefit the city should be held in contempt if they continue to fail to disclose what happened to the money, the state argued in court Thursday.

Marion Superior 1 Judge David Shaheed heard the motion from the attorney general’s office and several other motions during a hearing in Indianapolis, the latest chapter in long-running litigation over money collected from the Lake County casino.

Defendant East Chicago Second Century received millions of dollars under a riverboat casino license that contained a unique provision: Second Century, a private corporation, would receive 0.75 percent of casino revenue. Its principals, Michael A. Pannos, a former Indiana Democratic Party chairman, and Thomas S. Cappas, a Lake County Democratic Party activist, were longtime allies of former Mayor Robert Pastrick, whose administration crumbled in a separate corruption scandal from which the current case arises.

The casino license was granted during Pastrick’s tenure.

“Once again the state emphasized to the court the importance of obtaining Second Century’s financial records regarding their expenditure of gaming funds received for purposes of economic development for the City of East Chicago under the local development agreement,” Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement. “The Attorney General’s office has sought transparency and accountability of the $16 million and will continue to be persistent in asking the court to order discovery of this information.”

Shaheed is expected to rule on motions at a later date. The trial on claims for unjust enrichment and for constructive trust is set to begin Oct. 20, 2014.
 

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