Saturday, May 13, 2006

(5) THE CAPITOL QUEEN FIASCO

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?