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Settlement resolves casino money cases

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

The six-year casino revenue litigation that sparked multiple lawsuits statewide, went to Indiana’s appellate courts multiple times, and led to legislative initiatives is coming to a close.

Under an executed settlement agreement, most of the litigation involving how East Chicago and various entities used the casino money will be resolved. East Chicago will receive $11.7 million originally designated for the for-profit East Chicago Second Century Inc. – which is now being dissolved. Payments to Second Century were halted by the Indiana Gaming Commission in 2006 after an investigation found the corporation was spending its small percentage of casino revenue on non-economic development, which went against the local development agreement enacted in the 1990s and was at the heart of this litigation.

Now, the 31 city properties that Second City owns will be transferred to the nonprofit Foundations of East Chicago, according to the settlement. The Foundations will receive $20 million, which is its share of the 2 percent of casino revenues under the 1994 Local Development Agreement. Those payments had been put on hold in 2007 after Foundations filed a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of that deal.

A new local development agreement enacted in June following a settlement in that suit gives both the city and Foundations a percentage of the casino revenues to be spent on economic development, infrastructure, or public safety.

Second Century attorney J. Lee McNeely will receive $1.2 million for his years of work representing the entity, the agreement states.

According to the settlement, a total of five pending lawsuits will be resolved – Foundations v. East Chicago, No. 9D13-0705-PL-019348; Second Century v. Resorts, No. 49D01-0504-PL-014394; Second Century v. Indiana Gaming Commission, et al, No. 49D01-0606-CC-025440; Second Century v. Resorts, No. 49D01-0706-PL-022673; and City of East Chicago v. Indiana Gaming Commission, No. 49D05-1106-PL-022283.

In the past two years, the lines of litigation have gone up to the Court of Appeals several times – including two pending appeals – and the Indiana Supreme Court has issued three decisions delving into these local development agreement and casino-revenue related issues - Zoeller v. Second Century in April 13, 2009, City of East Chicago v. Second Century in June 2009, and Foundations of East Chicago v. East Chicago and State in May 2010.

With this settlement, the only outstanding claim will be one brought by the Indiana attorney general. The AG praised the agreement and said all the blame for the years of court battles fall onto former East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick and his administration for allowing economic development money to be paid to the for-profit Second Century. This litigation is not directly connected to the federal civil racketeering suit against Pastrick that last year resulted in a $108 million judgment against the former mayor and his top allies, but how the casino revenue agreements and how that money was spent became a part of those court arguments and led the AG to push for legislation seeking more transparency in how local development agreements are reached.

Rehearing "Second Century suit can proceed" IL Nov. 10-23, 2010

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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