Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Chicago Crime Commission Remains Concerned about Rosement's Casino Bid and the Illinois Gaming Board's Transparency

The Chicago Crime Commission remains unconvinced Rosemont is "clean" as the suburb - long the target of mob-influence allegations - tries to land the state's 10th casino again.

The Chicago Crime Commission Remains Concerned about Rosement's Casino Bid and the Illinois Gaming Board's TransparencyThe organized crime watchdog group, formed in the days of Al Capone, is coming out today to argue against giving Rosemont's bidder, Trilliant Gaming, the state's last casino license as it also urges gambling regulators to demonstrate more transparency.

"We certainly do not believe Rosemont has earned the trust and confidence of the public at large," said commission CEO J.R. Davis on Wednesday.

Rosemont was rejected by regulators after landing the license in 1999 following allegations of mob ties. The dispute led to years of legal wrangling.

This time, Rosemont officials have made an effort to distance themselves from the current casino bid headed by a former MGM executive.

Davis said Trilliant is led by "responsible business people," but he said he doesn't believe Rosemont has changed since it lost the Emerald Casino license.

Rosemont spokesman Gary Mack called the commission's allegations "nothing new" and he argued the village has been "transparent" in its attempt to land the license.

Trilliant bid $435 million for the license, and it is now being considered by gambling regulators along with bids from Waukegan and neighboring Des Plaines.

Trilliant's bid topped the next highest from Waukegan by more than $200 million.

"We have a new mayor in Rosemont. We have a new bidder," Mack said. "This is a completely different circumstance."

Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens, who succeeded his father after his death, has said he will pass laws banning village employees from working at the casino, village contractors from working for the casino and trustees from gambling at the casino.

Davis called Rosemont's assurances "superficial."

Additionally, Davis said the Illinois Gaming Board should release staff reports on all of the bids for the 10th license. The reports are not traditionally made public.

"The Chicago Crime Commission is gravely concerned with the dead silence of this process," Davis said.

Representatives from the Illinois Gaming Board declined to comment. The gaming board has already heard formal pitches from the remaining three bidders and is scheduled to hear public comment Monday.

Thanks to Joseph Ryan

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