Sunday, January 18, 2009

Operation G-Sting (aka Strippergate)

Hey check it out. Looks like there is a wiki entry for Operation G-Sting. Isn't it quite comical that this Las Vegas scandal had the name Strippergate in San Diego? I guess political scandals must have the term gate after them. Thanks a lot, Nixon.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


The map at left shows how all the players in the G-Sting scandal link together in a giant web. A lot of detail has been left out, but until you see the connections it is hard to believe that there is a systemic problem that goes far beyon titty bar bribery. Left click to get a higher resolution, then save and view in a better image viewer.


Who Orchestrates

Political Corruption In Las Vegas?

Recent headlines in Las Vegas about the so-called G-Sting scandal have promoted the theory that Michael Galardi, former owner of Cheetah's topless club, is at the center of bribery efforts which corrupted politicians Dario Herrera, Erin Kenny, Lance Malone, Michael MacDonald and Mary Kincaid. While Galardi has admitted bribery on a large scale, careful analysis shows that G-Sting was never central to political corruption in Las Vegas and is just a sideshow meant to distract attention from the kingpins who directed the big money bribery.

Indeed, there has been for many years a larger ongoing conspiracy by a triumvirate of political consultants as well as two central political figures which turned LasVegas politics into a lucrative payoff racket. Yet these insiders are presently positioned to escape unscathed from the G-Sting firestorm even though their actions clearly fall under the Racketeer Influenced andCorrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, Title 18, United States Code,Sections 1961-1968

As you trace through the stories of political corruption in Las Vegas, one finds disturbingly frequent threads to five central characters

  1. Kent Oram, OIZ Advertising : Political consultant to most of the characters involvedin the G-Sting scandal:
    • Erin Kenny
    • Lance Malone
    • Michael MacDonald
    • Mark James
    • Oscar Goodman
    • the sherifff's office and many others in law enforcement
  2. Sig Rogich, R&R Advertising and Rogich Communications Group: Involved in Treasures Strip Club, Republic Silver State corruption as their PR firm, close friend of Oram and backroom dealbroker.
  3. Billy Vassiliadis, R&RAdvertising: Partner to Rogich, friend of Oram, monopoly advertiser for Las Vegas Visitor and Convention Authority, political PRfirm
  4. Mayor Oscar Goodman: Well known mob lawyer, connected to political bribery in other states, connected to Oram and Paladin Advertising
  5. Senator Harry Reid: The Democratic minority leader in the senate and acknowledgedpolitical chess master, whose ties to the G-Sting scandal and many other corruptenterprises are little known.

While Michael Galardi is no doubt guilty of trying to bribe some politicians for business advantages for his topless bars (he has pled guilty to these charges), there is no evidence that he orchestrated widespread and continuous political corruption over a number of decades and regarding countless issues in the way the above characters have. Galardi had no incentive to bribe anyone on anything other than his topless business. However, it's clear Herrera, Kenny, Kincaid, James, MacDonald, Malone, Jan Jones and other politicians were being bribed not only by topless joints (including Treasures and CrazyHorse2 as well as Cheetahs), but also were taking under the counter money from developers like Jim Rhodes and Triple Five, and money from the trash hauler Republic Silver State. Galardi's sins were the promotion of a ten million dollar topless business, while the land developers and trash haulers represented billions of dollars of motivation. Moreover, the tale of political bribery by Las Vegas power brokers extends well beyond Las Vegas and San Diego to Kansas City and New Jersey.

If Galardi was only a bit player among many, one has to either assume that

1) each of the above tainted politicians (none of whom were ever known as bright bulbs) decided independently to take bribes from the same recurring sources all on their own initiative,


2) neophyte Lance Malone, former policeman and County Commissioner (hired as a lobbyist by Galardi), figured out on his own how to corrupt multiple politicians in Vegas and San Diego with little previous background in "the game" and no pre-preparation of the political turf.


3) that the political corruption was directed by some central organizing force, a conspiracy by the real powerbrokers who run Las Vegas, who were and still are after billion dollar deals and not penny ante titty bar ordinances.

As one researches the last four decades of events, uncoordinated corruption of Las Vegas politicians becomes completely unbelievable. The fall guy for the corruption has come to be Galardi's middleman Lance Malone, but one would have to be incredibly naive to believe a former COP turned councilman like Malone could have set in motion all the bribery that occurred without some major players having plowed the fields of corruption long before him. To believe Herrera, Kincaid, McDonald, Kenny and others suddenly decided it was safe to take bribes without there having long been a climate of such activity is to believe in the tooth fairy.

However, if dim-bulb Malone wasn't the major organizer, and Galardi wasn't much of a kingpin (being preoccupied with his titty bars and not land deals), and the local politicians were too stupid to know how to tie their shoes much less coordinate large bribes, one is left with a much greater problem. Bluntly, one must conclude a core of political consultants coordinated the large scale long term corruption, meaning this larger conspiracy falls more under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act than small town crime.

In this scenario, Michael Galardi, Lance Malone, as well as perhaps some of the politicians, become pawns in a larger chess game played by Machiavellian masters of deception.

If Galardi and G-Sting wasn't the focal point of bribery, but a sideshow to Oram, Vasilliades, Rogich, Goodman and Reid, are there other cases which go beyond the realm of titty bar protection to major political corruption? Easy enough, here's a short list of some of the other games played by the Vegas Power elite, both in town and around the nation:

  1. Republic Silver State Disposal - benefited with a $3 billion 15 year monopoly contract. Republic contributed heavily to most of the politicians caught up in the corruption charges. Their political manipulations first worked to to drive other competitors out of business (see US Enviromed) and finally to secure their monopoly status.
  2. e-Ventures - Mayor Oscar Goodman was part of what can only be concluded was the bribery of Sen. Torrecelli of N.J. Senator Torrecelli's $5000 investment in e-Ventures online gambling startup quickly became $200,000. e-Ventures was run by Goodman and a corrupt programmer who IN 1985 had been involved in a $25 million Bank irregularity, and this was likely a prototype for money laundering from Belize. Torrecelli left office after multiple instances of bribery were uncovered.
  3. The Capitol Queen - The Beckers, formerly owners of Arizona Charlie's and business partners with Kent Oram, were attempting to start a riverboat gambling venture called the Capitol Queen in Jefferson City Missouri. Missouri Speaker of the House Bob Griffin ended up spending jail time on a variety of bribery charges. Griffin's consulting group was tied with Oscar Goodman and stood to benefit $6 million if the riverboat deal went through. The Capitol Queen deal collapsed because Missouri Gaming uncovered these details and the fact Goodman had represented mob boss Nicky Civella in Kansas City.
  4. Developer Jim Rhodes, who stood to gain millions through zoning near Red Rock, benefited a number of politicians with homes (Erin Kenny, Mark James, Harry Reid), and employed James as a lawyer. Kenny was hired by Rhodes immediately after her failed run for lieutenant governor. Mark James was not only on Rhodes' payroll, but that of Republic Silver Stateas well.
  5. Triple 5 developer, put $200,000 into a slush fund for Erin Kenny.
  6. Cheetah's Topless Club - Mike Galardi has admitted to paying money to Erin Kenny, Dario Herrera, Mary Kincaid Chauncey and Lance Malone to influence rules regardinG lapdancers and zoning.
  7. Treasures Topless Club - connected to Sig Rogich, Michael Mack and the creation of a church to prevent it's operation.
  8. Crazy Horse 2 Topless Club - Run by Rizzolo, with ties to Goodman, Joey Cusumano and the mob. Rizzolo has financed numerous campaigns, contributing not only to former mayor Jan Jones, but many councilmen and judges. To believe Rizzolo was not part of the system of bribery is absurd.
  9. Payoffs at McCarran airport, some involving Sharyn Brown (wife of Jay Brown, former partner of Goodman) for a coffe house franchise that involved Commissioner Yvonne Atkinson Gates, who coincidentally was being lobbied by Jay Brown at Galardi's request.
  10. Sweetheart land deals with county land. Airport land was sold mostly to Scott Gragson, son of the former mayor. Much more went on behind the scenes than is currently in the news.
  11. Harry Reid's connections through lawyer Jay Brown to Goodman, developer Rhodes, Indian gaming, development land near Searchlight Nevada - a web of connections to crime and bribery and land deals with county land. Reid has kept a very strange group of friends if he wishes to retain his holier-than-thou POLITICAL image.

It would take a book to detail all that has happened, and that manuscript is in the works. The current trial of Herrera and Kincaid however has made clear that larger fish need to be held accountable, thus the need to put things in a more global context with this document. The object here is not to provide definitive proof of corruption on any one issue (that's the job of the FBI and law enforcement), but to show that there is a web of corruption in Las Vegas going far beyond Galardi and driven by a focal group of characters who have acted for decades.

So, G-Sting and the Galardi story is merely a diversion slowing the exposure of a larger premeditated organized network of corruption. In fact, because of the incestuous ties of the FBI, the police department and the media to the inside players and politicians who have escaped the tempest, one can argue G-Sting is actually being used as a firewall to save a number of people from prosecution. In this scenarion, Dario Herrera, Erin Kenny, Mary Kincaid, Lance Malone and others are the sacrificial lambs being thrown into the fire to stop the big boys from taking the heat. While this sounds at first unbelievable, there is an extensive amount of documentation that will be presented that shows links far beyond the petty political grifters all the way to the mafia.

Most notable of those being shielded are Senator Hary Reid, Kent Oram (OIZ Advertising), Oscar Goodman (mayor of Las Vegas and mob lawyer), and the political pawn Mark James (former state senator, lawyer who worked with Oram, Republic Silver State, and Rhodes), none of whom have taken any heat for misdeeds which far exceed those of Michael Galardi. Galardi's corruption is million dollar stuff, the big boys are involved with land deals and service contracts worth billions.

The reason these four are being so transparently shielded and tipped off is because if they crumble, ever larger circles of corruption will also be revealed. Unlike Galardi, these other layers have had their hands in multiple political scams, but as professional grifters they weren't stupid enough to use the phones and allow themselves to be wire tapped (they'd already gone through that fire drill back in the 70's and 80's, notably with the wiretaps of Tony Spilotro). While the big players don't leave billboards pointing to their corrupt acts like Galardi's amateurs did, they do leave a paper trail in the newspapers and public records which allows us to reconstruct how they manipulate Las Vegas politics for large sums of money. The only way to break the Gordian Knot of interlocking corruption is a global document such as this tying together the known facts. Heaven only knows what else has gone on that never hit the papers.


Of course,everyone knows Oscar Goodman was the mobs lawyer before he achievedhis current laundered position as mayor of Las Vegas. Since theearly 80's, Goodman's clients included Meyer Lansky; Nick Scarfo;Natale Richichi; Charles Panarella; Philip Leonetti; Jamiel Chagra;Frank Rosenthal; Allen Glick; "Tough Tony" Spilotro, withwhom he developed a special friendship; and the Civella crime family:brothers Nick and Carl "Cork"; Carl's son, Anthony "TonyRipe"; and Carl "Tuffy" DeLuna.

Apparently LasVegas has forgotten the addage, when you sleep with dogs, you wake upwith fleas. We've already shown Goodman had his fingers in theArizona Charlies/Capitol Queen fiasco and bribery which lead to thedownfall of Missouri Senate Speaker Bob Griffin, but has Oscar beeninvolved in other bribery schemes?

Inan article from Rick Pornello's August2002

Senator Robert Torricelli And The Mafia

According to aNewark Star-Ledger report, Senator Torricelli received a paper profitof $220,000 on an investment of only $5,000 in a 1998 initialinvestment in the Internet Telecommunications firm e.Volve TechnologyGroup. The value of this stock skyrocketed once the company wasacquired by eVentures Group, an Internet holding company. Among themain figures in eVentures Group were Kerry Rogers, who was convictedin 1985 for his participation in a $20 million bank fraud case in NewJersey, and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman. Before being elected asMayor of Las Vegas, criminal lawyer Oscar Goodman served for over 30years as the "mouthpiece of the Mob," representing Mafiafigures including Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, Meyer Lansky,Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, and Philadelphia Underboss PhilLeonetti. Goodman has flaunted his Mafia associations and portrayedhimself in the Mafia epic movie "CASINO."

ApparentlyGoodman wasn't above bribing a Senator, much less associating with aknown bank fraud huckster. Reading between the lines, one cansurmise that eVentures was really setting up money laundering out ofBelize and needed support from Torricelli in the Senate. Nevermindthe details, we have Goodman again associated with a bribery schemewith known felons (Rogers and Toricelli). From the Newark Star edgerwe learn:

Torricelliadmits he changed mind on stock pledge


Among the keyfigures at The eVentures Group include Kerry Rogers, an individual

convicted inNew Jeersey of bank fraud in 1985 and now a controversial figurepioneering Internet gambling that has drawn the attention ofprosecutors and Congress. Other investors include Karl Lovell, aformer Las Vegas city attorney once charged with securities lawviolations, and Oscar Goodman, the current mayor of Las Vegas

The rest of theabove article details Toricelli's many Mafia connections and thebribery it engendered. Especially relevant is how the mobbed up NewJersey waste disposal people were involved in a way similar to whathappened in Las Vegas with Republic Silver State disposal. It is afun exercise to go through the campaign records to see who was therecipient of Republic contributions, politicians like Goodman, Kenny,Herrera, James make especially interesting reading.

Given all the mafia connections and at least the Missouri and New Jersey implications of bribery, how in theworld did Goodman become mayor? He obviously needed help, the arena was crowded withcompetitive candidates Jay Bingham, former mayor Jan Jones, and others. WasGoodman's entry all a last minute fluke? Or Machiavellian insidedeal? You decide.

Wednesday,January 13, 1999
Copyright © Las VegasReview-Journal

COLUMN: Jon Ralston

Why does this sound familiar?

Binghamdecided to enter the race after encouragement from Guinnites, such asspinmeister Sig Rogich and the governor's southern campaigncoordinator, Terry Murphy. Veteran consultant Kent Oram, part of theGuinn machine, and Steve Wark, the governor's grass-roots maven, willbe there, too.
This is hardlycoincidental. Whether or not Jones has worn out her welcome after twoterms, the mayor's no-holds barred cannonades directed Guinn's waywere not forgotten by him or some of his friends. Said one developerfamiliar with the attitude of some of the Guinnites: "There arepeople who want to bury her, not just beat her."

Although Oram is involved, nothing appears sinister here. But please note, Oram's offices at 2290 S. Jones are in FalconPark, which just so happens IS the same building tenanted by FalconConstruction Services I, 2290 S Jones Blvd Bldg. Falcon Construction Services is part owned by Jay Bingham, who kept offices in the office park in the same building as Oram.

Bingham hadlocked up most of the top political consultants and grassrootssupport. A popular leader before his retirement from the commissionin '96, Bingham longed to get back into political life. A successfulland developer, he missed the excitement of politics and wanted toget back into the action.

He announced his candidacy even before Mayor Jones decided towithdraw, forcing her hand and eventually compelling her to make adecision to leave office or face another potentially tough campaign.Early polls showed Bingham with respectable name identification andhigh favorables. He ran a double-truck newspaper advertisement twoweeks before the close of filing announcing his candidacy withtestimonials from prominent Las Vegans.

Only three other candidates with any public recognition joinedBingham on the ballot: Councilman Arnie Adamsen, developer Mark Fineand Goodman. All were immediately considered underdogs. Fine andGoodman had nothing even resembling a campaign in place when theyfiled. Goodman had waited until the last day of filing before jumpingin.

Then, two days after candidate filing closed, Bingham dropped abombshell. With the race all but won before it even began, heannounced he was dropping out due to health reasons. An old heartproblem had recurred and his doctor had advised him that the stressof a campaign could prove fatal.

Amazingly,Oscar Goodman had filed for his candidacy only a day beforeregistration ended. Where have we seen these kinds of tacticsbefore? Oh, that's right, they are the same as with the amazingentry of Mark James into the Commissioner's race for District F notthree years later. Oram obviously tipped Goodman that his good buddyBingham was going to withdraw, the only question is whether Goodman'sentry was forced on Bingham because of the needs of Republic SilverState and the needs of Crazy Horse 2 zoning problems, or whether thiswas just the easy path. Nevertheless, there are so many intersectinglines here that one has to wonder.


WhatOram learned to do long ago was to firewall his operations from assault, that's why he has links to the police, to key politicians to protect him and when there is political dirty work to be done, he often allows others to be at the front. And that's what Paladin Advertising does for Oram, serves as a front for things like last minute unsigned mailers and other skulduggery. How interlocked are OIZ and Paladin Advertising? It's hard to tell on a business level since Paladin's owners Mike Sullivan and Jim Ferrence do act independently from OIZ on accounts. But since both Paladin and OIZshare the exact same office suite, 2290 S. Jones, any difference between the two is academic (there are intimations that Oram may have some ownership interest).


Notsurprisingly, Oscar Goodman's campaign managers for for his critical novice mayoral racein 1999 was Paladin Advertising with consulting from Kent Oram

But Paladin has not only been involved in the shady Goodman orbit. For example"

Las Vegas Sun, December 08, 2003 CCSN report alleges political favors

....The report also looked at Cummings' expenses during the legislative session and his role in awarding CCSN's advertising contract, reportedly of $750,000, to Paladin Advertising. Cummings worked at Paladin before being hired in 2000 by CCSN.

But the affair at CCSN was a sideshow to Paladin's other incidents, apparently whenever Oram neededplausible deniability.

Agood example of this was Steve Miller's campaign against Oram's client Michael MacDonald. Michael Galardi in his April 6, 2006 testimony in the trial of Dario Herrera and Chauncey-Kincaid stated that he had delivered payoffs to MacDonald for a number of years. Steve Miller's primary campaign was disrupted at the last minute by a disgusting insinuation that he had used handicapped people to run his campaign. From the Sept 23 1999 Review Journal:

Republican club drops councilman from civil lawsuit

A Republican fund-raising club that sued Las Vegas Councilman Michael McDonald for defamation has dismissed him from the civil lawsuit saying evidence against him was lacking.
The Big Elephant Club and its founder, George Harris, sued McDonald and others in July. On Sept. 15, the councilman was dropped from the District Court case.
McDonald's attorney, Louis Palazzo, said there had been a failure to showMcDonald had anything to do with a controversial last-minute political advertisement mailed last spring against McDonald's chief political rival, former Councilman Steve Miller. . . . .
There are two lawsuits pending in Clark County District Court pertaining to the mailer criticizing Miller.
Miller has sued the Big Elephant Club, which was identified in the mailer as the group that paid for the mailer.
But Harris said he and his club had nothing to do with it and he sued the councilman, as well as James Tucker, owner of Passkey Systems, which mailed the piece; Larry Scheffler, owner of Las Vegas Color Graphics Inc., which printed the brochure; and Mike Sullivan, owner of Paladin Advertising Inc., which designed it.
The men and their businesses are being sued for damages for defamation, misrepresentation, invasion of right to privacy, and misappropriation of the Big Elephant Club's name.
The political ad landed in 21,500 Ward 1 mail boxes just before the May 4 primary and when the election was over, McDonald won with 63 percent of the vote, a large enough margin that he won outright without having to undergo the rigors of a general election in June.
McDonald's name was found on an invoice identifying Paladin as the company that paid for the mailer.
The sentence where Miller claimshe was defamed reads: "Steve Miller even became the first personever removed from the Opportunity Village Board of Directors. Millerwas found to be exploiting the handicapped to advance his campaign."He resigned from the board after starting his council campaign.
Both Harris and McDonald haveinsisted they had nothing to do with it.
Charles Bennion, the attorney for Harris and the club, said findingMcDonald's name on the invoice was sufficient to file a lawsuit, butafter realizing Paladin Adverting paid for it, he thought it wasappropriate to dismiss the case against McDonald.
"We've always felt Paladin was at the center of this."
Paladin's president contends thepiece was ordered by a member of the Big Elephant Club and thatprinter Steve Westmoreland told him to identify the mailer as beingsent by the club. Westmoreland denies that.

Michael McDonald was Kent Oram's client, but MacDonald's name was found on the invoice that Paladin Advertising paid for. Mike Sullivan at Paladin Advertising had designed the mailer, and then sent it care of the Big Elephant Club. Typical dishonest, low, dirty tricks from the Oram camp showing they would stoop to anything. Of course, why would they go to any means to defeat Steve Miller in a race for a low paid Commissioner's race? Steve Miller knew why, as revealed in a Friday, October 08, 1999 Review Journal Article:

Votespurs foe to seek ethics ruling

FormerCity Councilman Steve Miller asked the state Ethics Commission onThursday for an opinion on Councilman Michael McDonald's July vote togrant a garbage company an exclusive 15-year contract extension.

McDonalddates Jennifer Simich, who does government affairs work for Republic.He is a close friend of both the company's president, Steve Kalish,and its general counsel, former Henderson Mayor Robert Groesbeck, whopleaded guilty in September to charges of disorderly conduct andresisting arrest for his drunken behavior Sept. 3 at Mandalay Bay'sFoundation Room.

McDonalddid not disclose the relationships before the vote. He also did notreveal that Republic and its related entities donated $36,800 to hisspring re-election campaign, which made the company his largestcontributor.

Thecontract was approved 3-0, with Mayor Oscar Goodman and CouncilmanLarry Brown abstaining.

Oram'sclient was obviously goosed in because of theRepublic Silver State vote. And innocent little Goodman, who hadjust received $15000 in donations to his mayoral campaign fromRepublic, didn't even need to vote because there were already threelined up.

Thiswasn't the last time Paladin Advertising struck using dirty tacticsto help MacDonald. MacDonald was beaten in 2002 by Janet Moncrief,who was then subjected to police harassment as part of a pettypayback vendetta using insiders in the police department. AfterMoncrief beat Michael McDonald (Oram's candidate), a dispatcher namedCynthia Thomas from the police department attempted to set Moncriefup by claiming she was drunk driving. Ms. Thomas' husband was aformer police colleague of McDonald's and had worked on hisre-election campaign, implicating OIZ and Paladin. While Moncriefapparently had her own ethical lapses, we'll revisit this issue laterin the section on police department involvement.

Sofar, we have just been presenting isolated events, so the question iswhether we can begin to tie some of the actors together in a largerconspiracy, one that doesn't involve Michael Galardi and G-Sting. Most interesting is a Sunday, October 31, 1999article in the Review Journal that ties together many of the partnersin crime:

Thepolitical wake at Paul Christensen's house on Election Night '96would have had to cheer up to be mournful.

HisCounty Commission colleague, Erin Kenny, was lachrymose -- she hadpoured her soul into saving her friend's seat. Campaign consultantKent Oram was bellicose -- he would return in four years to teachChristensen-killer Lance Malone a lesson. And Paladin Agencyprincipals Mike Sullivan and Jim Ferrence were morose -- they madetheir money but they were on the losing side. . . I wonder if anyof those folks thought about that evening this week as some of themgathered in Oram's office for a meeting of the 2000 campaign team for... Lance Malone. The meeting would have been impossible had Kennynot put Malone together with Oram about a year ago in his South Jonesoffice, near where the Paladin boys -- who were eventually broughtonto Team Malone, too -- also work.

So,it wasn't Michael Galardi who connected the littlerat's nest of MacDonald, Kenny, Malone, James and Goodman together, butKenny through her good friends Oram and Paladin Advertising workingout of their offices at 2290 S. Jones. And this leaves us the big question: Why has Oram and Paladin never been brought into the investigations? Oram was no doubt caught multiple times on the wiretaps, so either he is

1) as clean as the driven snow

2) turned state's evidence after having been tipped off by George Knapp and Sheriff Young

3) the beneficiary of investigative incompetence.


Having established that the G-Sting scandal is a secondary event, it's instructive to skip back a few years to 1994 hen the local casino Arizona Charlie's, then owned by the Becker family, attempted to expand operations with a riverboat gambling venue in Jefferson City Missouri. The deal failed, but not without being touched by our corruption maestros Kent Oram and Oscar Goodman.

The public relations firm for Arizona Charlies was of course none other than OIZ Advertising headed by Kent Oram, and the Beckers were long term personal friends. The Beckers were also investors in 1993 in TV39 Telemundo along with Oram, so the ties are well established. Oscar Goodman comes into the picture because of his close ties to Kansas City (namely through Nicky Civella, a mafia figure Goodman represented there, and other Civella relatives famously involved in skimming at the Tropicana in the 80's). Of course, what do upstanding citizens like the Beckers need when trying to do a riverboat gaming venture but some legislators to bribe to grease the skids, and someone to “consult” for them in making it happen.

Mother Jones magazine put what happened next this way in an article in June 9, 1997 :

With lotteries, bingo, pari-mutuel betting, and riverboat casinos operating under local jurisdiction on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, Missouri has gone for gambling whole hog. Riverboat gambling became legal in November 1994 when voters approved Amendment 6 to the state Constitution. That same year the Kansas City Star started digging into gambling dirt and soon found that two casino companies had promised $22 million -- including part ownership in one of the casinos -- to a group of unregistered lobbyists, all closely aligned with former Speaker of the Senate Bob Griffin, payable only when the casinos were licensed and open. As a result of this reporting, all the deals fell through and the speaker was forced to resign; the participants are now awaiting a jury's decision on charges of bribery, racketeering, and fraud..

Well, one of the gaming entities was of course Arizona Charlies, but who was the bagman for the money? The Review Journal fills in some details in Tuesday, November 18, 1997 :

Arizona Charlie's plans recovery

The company's problems began after Missouri regulators denied the Las Vegas casino operator a license for a planned riverboat at Jefferson City, the state capital.

Further, Missouri gaming regulators didn't seem inclined to approve a license even after a Missouri court ordered them to reconsider.

The company reported $63 million in assets and about $77 million in liabilities, including bonds sold to finance the Capitol Queen &Casino riverboat and an expansion of Arizona Charlie's. The company has completed the expansion of its casino on Decatur Boulevard in Las Vegas but has been unable to sell the gambling boat in Missouri, Becker said.

It has paid half of the $40 million in bonds obtained for the riverboat, Becker said.

Missouri regulators required applicants to build a boat, obtain financing and secure a site before approving licenses, Becker said.

The Missouri Gaming Commission rejected Becker Gaming's license application. The state regulators claimed Becker failed to disclose a promise to pay $6 million to a group of lobbyists and lawyers. The group included Las Vegas attorneys Oscar Goodman and David Chesnoff, as well as Kansas City, Mo., lawyer Byron Fox, all of whom have represented alleged organized crime figures.

Of course, who would have seen the need for juiced political connections in Missouri better than Oram, though this isn't in the records. And what better guy to juice things than Oscar Goodman, lawyer to the Civella crime family. Some more details from the Sept 29 1994 St. Louis Post Dispatch:

The Gaming Commission voted unanimously Wednesday night to reject an application to operate a riverboat casino in Jefferson City because the applicant had failed to disclose plans to pay $6 million to those who helped in the application process.

The commission agreed with its staff recommendation that Becker Gaming Group Inc. of Las Vegas had deliberately concealed its agreement to give a Kansas City lawyer 20 percent of its Missouri operation if Becker got a state license.

And this Published on May 4, 1996, Page C3, The Kansas City Star

Source: JOE STEPHENS Staff Writer
The Missouri Gaming Commission was right when it threw Becker Gaming out of the state, the state appeals court has ruled. The court said the commission followed proper procedure when it banned the Las Vegas company, even though the commission did not first make an exhaustive investigation. What the commission already knew, the court said, was bad enough. The ruling overturned a decision last year by Cole County Circuit Judge Byron Kinder, . . .

So, what we have established is a connection between Goodman and Oram, and a pattern of political bribery that starts in 1994 well before G-Sting. This pattern hardly stops here, nor did it start here, there just isn't time to go into Goodman and the mob and Orams earlier conquests. So, are there other ties between Oram and Goodman and political corruption?


Mark James is in fact a prime example of the corruption going on behind the scenes. In 1993 he partnered in founding the Law Firm ofJames, Driggs, Walch, Santoro & Thompson. Driggs became the primary lawyer in a television station (TV39) purchased by a consortium including Oram and notably the Beckers of Arizona Charlies (this Becker/Oram connection will become important later). Among the clients of the James, Driggs, et. al. law firm are also Rhodes Homes (later accused of bribing Erin Kenny), and Republic Silver State Disposal (who James oversaw as a State Senator on the Natural Resources Committee, and received donations from –) a clear conflict of interest.

Here's where the Machiavellian machinations of Kent Oram become apparent. Five weeks before the District F filing date ends in 2002, Mark Jamesmoves to a Spanish Hills rental while a house is built for his family in the commission district. [likely a Rhodes home, but not confirmed]. The home is in Erin Kenny's district. Kenny was supposedly running for re-election to the commission, but 30 minutes before the May 20 5 p.m. filing deadline, she announces she is instead running for lieutenant governor. Coincidentally at the ready, James steps in that last half-hour to fill Kenny's spot on the ballot. Sen. Mark James immediately resigns from the Legislature and sends a certified letter to Gov. Kenny Guinn on Monday, May 20, 2002 making his resignation official. Rumor long had it that Kenny had been hired by Rhodes to facilitate the Blue Diamond Hill purchase. Of course, James was also involved with Rhodes as a legal representative, so what appears to have happened is that Rhodes needed a patsy on the commission and since Kenny was trying to move up to lieutenant governor, they needed a quick replacement.

Of course, who was James' campaign manager and Erin Kenny's former campaign manager/great friend but Kent Oram. Earlier, in October 2001 in an interview, Kenny said about her potential run for the governorship that the fact Kenny Guinn had Oram working for him played a role in her decision. "Kent is more than just a consultant, he's a close friend, so obviously it plays a significant role." So, what this establishes is an incredible growing tumor of incestuous relationships between Oram, James, Kenny, Rhodes, Republic Silver State, and a list of others who saw elected office as a piggy bank.

Even more interesting is what Oram had to do next to anoint James to the payola commissioner seat. Unexpected competition in the Republicanprimary came from well respected lawyer Tim Cory, who with a clean campaign and Mormon support looked ready to bump Mark James out of the position. Four hundred Democrats in the Culinary Union suddenly switched to Republican before the Aug. 3 registration deadline and voted for former state senator James, sending bankruptcy attorney Tim Cory to defeat by 227 votes in the GOP primary. Of course, why would the Culinary Union care one whit about a Republican primary? Obviously there was a substantial payoff involved somewhere to move that many votes. Sadly, while the FBI can go after gullible amateur Galardi, they seem unable to connect the dots on the much larger pink elephant of across the board corruption involving Oram, his other political cronies, and fat cats like the land developers and Republic Silver State who together make the Galardi deals look like chump change.

Yet, even here we haven't done justice to the possible levels of corruption, because the one person who seems to have been orchestrating the musical chairs of Dario Herrera to Congress, Rory Reid to commissioner, Erin Kenny to Lt. Governor, and Mark James to commissioner, could have been none other than Senator Harry Reid. So, Reid must have implicitly been involved in talks with Oram about these moves, which we know were calculated because James had to physically change residence months before. Now, Herrera and Kenny have either been convicted or admitted to bribery, and James history is completely tainted, so the fact none of this mud has stuck to Oram or Reid is just damningly suspicious.

The George Knapp, and Mark James stories show that the G-Sting scandal is but the tip of a much larger iceberg, much of which we hope to outline in the following pages. The difficulty in describing this landscape is that the web is so involved that merely listing events chronologically doesn't do justice to the underlying racketeering structure. But now that we have shown the reader that there is at least one central focal core in Kent Oram, and that there is a coverup underway abetted by leaks via the media and police to protect central figures, the reader should be mentally prepared to open Pandora's box and see what else is rolling around inside,