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. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.