..BanBuster Games Spread Slowly As Former Sweepstakes Cafe Owners Take A ‘Wait and See Approach..
Columbus – Former Internet Sweepstakes cafe owners have proclaimed that the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland started the push to put them out of business in Ohio, and attorneys for the cafe industry say they are working on leaking further details to prove the accusations were true.
Horse Shoe Casino in ClevelThe owners and their lawyers point to emails and testimony documenting personal contact between a casino lobbyist and two people, a prosecutor and investigator involved in criminal charges brought against a company that supplies software to the cafes.
Cuyahoga County Assistant Prosecutor James D. May and state investigator Robert Boldin testified earlier this year in Columbus in favor of a House Bill that would have regulated the controversial cafes.
May sent Boldin an email the night before they went downstate, identifying casino lobbyist Leah Pappas Porner as their “contact” for a Senate committee hearing.
According to the transcript from a court hearing in the criminal case, Boldin testified that he sent Porner an advance copy of remarks he planned to make before the Senate committee. He also testified that Porner was present when he prepped for the committee meeting with his superiors from the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
In Washington DC, defense lawyers handling the criminal case filed a motion Monday in Common Pleas Court, asking Judge Deena Calabrese to remove May from the proceedings. Attorney Mark Schamel declined to comment, but the court filing says the email is evidence that May is “aligned with the casino.”
Cafe owners believe casinos are out to stifle competition, though they deny that their operations involve gambling from a technical standpoint.
Besides being in contact with casino representatives, lawyers are upset that May and Boldin traveled to Columbus during a two-day hearing on defense motions. The trip delayed the proceedings until in the afternoon of the second day and while Bodin still was under oath.
Casino Industry Corruption
May cannot discuss the case, said Maria Russo, spokeswoman for Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty. In a statement released late Monday, McGinty discounted the complaints made by lawyers for the owners of the software company, New Jersey-based VS2 Worldwide Communications.
“Take a minute to think about what they are doing,” McGinty said. “The purveyors of these gambling dens want to punish the prosecutor who testified with the Attorney General’s Office before the Legislature that their totally unregulated mini casinos, using rigged video slots to bilk little old ladies out of their pensions and pin money, are absolutely wrong and illegal under Ohio law.” The Ohio lottery has just introduced new “raffle machines” to bilk little old ladies out of their pensions.
“Leah is a lobbyist for us,” Kulczycki said. “She was involved in our support of the bill, but I can’t comment on ‘He said, she said.’ ”
Joe Andrews, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, said May asked Boldin to testify at the Senate Committee meeting. Andrews said he had no indication that Boldin or other department officials acted improperly.
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