HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell today appointed Frank Friel as Chairman of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for a three-year term, the first of three gubernatorial appointments. Friel is a veteran of the Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit and nationally recognized expert in security, police procedures, investigative practices and organized crime. Friel is currently the Director of Security and Parking at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Frank Friel was made for this job - a respected law man with years of fighting organized crime under his belt," said Governor Rendell. "I can think of no one better to serve Pennsylvania on this Board. "Frank's integrity is unquestionable, and his commitment to upholding the law and expertise in the field of organized crime will be invaluable to the full Board and ultimately our citizens. The fact that he will serve as Chairman underscores the critical importance of integrity throughout this process." Friel, 62, spent more than 30 years in law enforcement. After rising through the ranks from Patrolman to one of the top homicide detectives in the Philadelphia Police Department, Friel became the Director of Public Safety for Bensalem Township. Friel is credited with directing investigations into Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra murders and successfully prosecuting more than 60 organized crime members and associates - including notorious mobster Nicky Scarfo and many of his henchmen, Harry "The Hunchback" Riccobene, Salvatore "Chucky" Merlino and Lawrence "Yogi" Merlino, uncle and father of current Philadelphia mob boss Joseph Merlino. Friel's work led to the establishment of a network of organized crime informants that still provides both historical and current information on La Cosa Nostra family illegal activities. "Working with the Legislature, we included serious anti-crime and anti- corruption measures in our state's expanded gaming laws," said Governor Rendell. "Frank Friel will help to ensure that the right people get gaming licenses and that the Pennsylvania gaming industry is not plagued by corruption and never will be infiltrated by organized crime." "I am gratified and excited by this appointment," said Friel. "My extensive experience with organized crime prosecutions will allow me to assist the Board in adopting and implementing rules, regulations and enforcement procedures that will ensure that expanded gaming is conducted in Pennsylvania openly, honestly and without corruption of any kind. I look forward to working over the next months with the Governor's office and other stakeholders - including my fellow Board members - to be in a position to begin the substantial work of the Board early in the Fall." The Gaming Control Board will oversee all licensing and operations of gaming venues. The Board will: -- Issue, deny, renew, revoke or suspend issuance of any license or permit. -- Enforce the provisions of the bill by, among other things, examining witnesses and issuing subpoenas and document requests. -- Develop and implement an affirmative action plan. -- Require that licensees submit financial reports. -- Make sure that slot machines are properly inspected and certified. -- Require that anyone under 21 years of age not be permitted to use slot machines. -- Ensure that the Department of Revenue and Pennsylvania State Police use their full enforcement powers to protect our citizens. -- Conduct open proceedings in accordance with Pennsylvania law. The Pennsylvania State Police, with the assistance of the Attorney General, will conduct extensive background checks on any person investing in, managing or being employed in any of the gaming facilities. In addition, these same background checks will be conducted on any person serving on the Gaming Control Board. Friel's appointment is subject to completion of a successful State Police background check. CONTACT: Kate Philips, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor, +1-717-783-1116.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor