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East Chicago casino case still alive

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A years-long court battle over millions of dollars in East Chicago casino revenue remains alive after a Marion County judge vacated an earlier dismissal of the civil suit and blocked the release of $8 million in disputed funds that had been part of a settlement.

Marion Superior Judge David Shaheed on Thursday issued the latest decision in City of East Chicago and State of Indiana v. East Chicago Second Century Inc., No. 49D01-0504-PL-014394. He agreed with Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller that approximately $8 million in casino-revenue funds should not be released while the litigation is ongoing. He decided July 15 to set aside his earlier ruling in April that had dismissed the suit, because the city and for-profit organization known as Second Century didn’t include the AG in settlement negotiations.

The case dates back more than a decade to the administration of now-convicted former Mayor Robert Pastrick, who set up the casino money and local development agreement with Second Century and similar organizations. But the AG’s office has tried for years to delve deeper into that financial transaction to determine how that money has been spent once received.

In February, Mayor George Pabey announced he had reached a deal with Second Century, a for-profit economic development organization that would redirect $1.5 million in annual casino revenue from Second Century to the city. In return, the city would release its claim to approximately $4 million in payments intended for Second Century that have been delayed since 2005 while the lawsuit was pending.

But Zoeller objected to the settlement because he claims Second Century has not adequately shown how it has spent some $16 million in casino revenue it has received over the years.

The settlement was approved April 8, but Judge Shaheed's latest ruling stops the settlement from proceeding and permits the attorney general to participate in the revived lawsuit.

"From the beginning of the Second Century case, the goal of the Indiana attorney general's office has been to ensure that funds intended to benefit the citizens of East Chicago actually do so," Zoeller said in a statement. "The public needs assurances that these funds are not squandered or diverted back to political cronies or to an administration under investigation for corruption."

Pabey was indicted by federal officials in February on charges he conspired to embezzle city money and unlawfully used city workers for personal projects. His trial is scheduled for September.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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