CAMP SPRINGS, Md., June 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement from the Prince George's County Contractors and Business Association:
It's not surprising to learn that officials from National Harbor have chosen to partner with a casino operator, MGM Mirage, which reportedly by the news media was forced to divest its casino interests in Atlantic City by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission because of its alleged ties to organized crime.
On February 1, 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported "For years, New Jersey regulators have raised concerns about the suitability of casino company MGM Mirage's business partner in China, Pansy Ho. Now, MGM Mirage has an answer: cash out of Atlantic City." MGM did just that! They sold their share of Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa for a more lucrative deal in Macau, China in lieu of facing further allegations of being linked to organized crime.
Dating back to 2005, the esteemed New Jersey's Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) lead investigations into MGM Mirages' Macau joint venture with Ms. Ho and were unconvinced that MGM Mirage's Macau partner, Pansy Ho, could operate independently from influence of her father, Stanley Ho given his ties with Asian organized crime and letting gangs operate in his casino's VIP rooms according to a special report dated May 18, 2009 of the Division of Gaming Enforcement to the Casino Control Commission on its investigation. Facing the impact of such charges, along with public inquires, and the potential ruling that the company wasn't fit to do business in the state, left MGM Mirage with no other choices but to break an agreement with the New Jersey Casino Control Commission to sell its interests in China or leave Atlantic City. They chose the latter.
MGM Mirage chose to continue its business arrangement with mob-connected business partners and surrendered its casino license in Atlantic City. On, May 18, 2009, in a Special Reports of the Division of Gaming Enforcement to the Casino Control Commission on its investigation of MGM Mirage's joint venture with Pansy Ho in Macau, Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China, the following was noted:
- Pansy Ho had no prior experience in gaming before the joint venture with MGM Mirage, bringing to the partnership primarily opportunities and influence provided by her business and personal relationship with her father.
- That Pansy Ho's susceptibility to her father's influence and issues of personal suitability render the joint venture and MGM vulnerable to improper associations and influences and compromises MGM's suitability as a New Jersey licensed entity.
- The authorities concluded that criminal enterprises closely associated with the Ho family, including organized crime, operated and thrived at Ho's casinos in Macau and Pyongyang, North Korea. Drug use, prostitution, loan sharking, racketeering, and more frequently occurred in the 48 VIP rooms of Ho's casinos.
What is surprising is Mr. Peterson's decision to consider partnering with MGM at the proposed National Harbor casino. This boldly contradicts his past comments to the Washington Post, where he stated, "this guy ain't now or ever will be in gambling. I don't know if I have to put it in blood." On June 15, 2012, the Peterson Companies and MGM Resorts International announced that they have entered into an agreement for MGM Resorts to develop a world-class destination resort casino at National Harbor.
"It is just unthinkable that Milt Peterson would consider bringing to Prince George's County a company previous investigated in New Jersey for its links to organized crime, stated Joe Gaskins, Chairman of the Prince George's County Contractors and Business Association. We have been hoodwinked, bamboozled… The minority contracting community has never benefited from the National Harbor and now he wants to bring a company tied to the Chinese, North Korean, and Russian mobs into our community?"
Chief among other discussions by legislators is the tax rate that would be imposed on a Prince George's casino. Maryland currently has a 67 percent of casino proceeds at four of its casino locations. This same amount should be shared by the State and Prince George's County. However state and county legislators and officials from MGM are suggesting a rate of 52 percent.
"How can this same group consider giving a 15% tax cut to billionaire casino owners, stated Arthur Turner, Community Activist and Leader. Why raise taxes on us and give tax breaks to the big boys? We have to really watch this and how our senators and delegates vote. Who is keeping score? Are they with Maryland residents and their constituents or are they with the billionaires whose company is not even based in Maryland?"
"While it may be rather tantalizing to envision an MGM Casino facility at the National Harbor, I think this is, quite premature," stated Arnold M. Jolivet, Managing Director, Maryland Minority Contractors Association. It is important to remember that one of the fundamental and unwavering "conditions" for granting any slots license is the requirement under Maryland's gaming Law to compete a presumptive sixth slots casino license location in a fair and open selection process, devoid of traditional politics and favoritism.
"There are many reputable operators in the country to choose from yet Mr. Peterson chooses the one with the most questionable background. The State of New Jersey asked MGM to leave and the State of Maryland should stop them at the door, as well," stated Gaskins.
SOURCE Prince George’s County Contractors and Business Association