Monday, July 14, 2008

Some Lawmakers Want Casino License Revoked

Don Barden's license for the Pittsburgh casino should be revoked, say some state lawmakers. State Senators Jane Orie and Jim Ferlo have written to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, asking that it take the license away, since Barden now wants to own just a minority interest in the casino. Orie says the change in primary ownership would mean that Barden is not fulfilling the conditions under which the license was awarded.

Barden has asked that Walton Street Capital be allowed to take over as primary owner of the casino. One of its founders, Neil Bluhm, already has a stake in three other casinos.

Orie says because of Barden's history of financial troubles, the license never should have been awarded to him. And she says she's frustrated that documents relating to the potential change in ownership have been kept secret. Orie also says she has heard that if Barden is unable to fulfill his obligation to help fund the new Penguins arena, state taxpayers would be forced to pick up the tab. But she says that information has also been kept from lawmakers. She has written to the Sports and Exhibition Authority asking for details.

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