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State seeks contempt against East Chicago casino group

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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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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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