*** The Illinois Gaming Board inexplicably remains insistent on the town of Rosemont as a viable choice for the state's only available casino license notwithstanding continued concerns by Attorney General Lisa Madigan about organized crime:
Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan immediately said she "remains concerned" about putting a casino in Rosemont. Four years ago, Madigan blocked the license from going to Rosemont, citing the village's alleged ties to organized crime and arguing the Gaming Board never explained how it became comfortable allowing a casino there.
"As the [Gaming Board] scrutinizes the bids, the attorney general expects that they will, in the most transparent way possible, fully explain to the public how they are addressing those concerns, including Rosemont's past conduct in the Emerald casino matter," Madigan spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler said in a statement.
The Gaming Board wasn't doing that Friday, declining to answer most questions or release staff analyses of the seven companies that bid anywhere from $60 million to $435 million for rights to open a casino. The dormant casino license is the same one originally slated for Rosemont in 1999 until questions about investors with organized crime ties scuttled the deal.
At a 2005 hearing to revoke the previously awarded license to Rosement an FBI agent testified that on May 29, 1999 the village's well-entrenched mayor Donald Stephens "met with five high-ranking organized crime figures to discuss what control the mob would have over contracts at the [Emerald] casino":
Sitting with Stephens at Armand's restaurant in Elmwood Park were reputed mob leader Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, who is being sought by U.S. officials; John "No Nose" DiFronzo; his brother Peter; Joe "The Builder" Andriacchi; and Rudy Fratto, among others, said John Mallul, head of the FBI's organized crime unit in Chicago.
Mayor Donald Stephens died in April 2007, and been replaced by his son, Bradley, and in September 2007 Joey "The Clown" Lombardo was convicted for ten murders in the so-called Family Secrets trial.
*** The Federal Election Commission has ruled that Rev. Al Sharpton -- who settled with the IRS earlier this year over millions in back taxes -- must pay nearly $500,000 in fines in connection with the financing of his 2004 presidential run.
*** Retiring Congressman Rick Renzi has been indicted on racketeering charges "related to previous charges that he funded his campaign with money he embezzled and used his position in Congress to commit extortion":
The Arizona Republican originally was indicted on corruption charges in February. Mr. Renzi, who owns an insurance agency, previously has pleaded not guilty. He is a three-term congressman who did not seek re-election this year. According to the indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, Mr. Renzi embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from insurance premiums paid to his company to fund his campaign and other personal expenses. His company specialized in providing coverage to nonprofit groups, and stealing the premiums led to a lapse in coverage or some groups for several months, according to the indictment. Mr. Renzi also is accused of telling two companies he would use his position in Congress to help them if they purchased land from James W. Sandlin, who is also under indictment. But the companies didn't know Mr. Sandlin owed Mr. Renzi $700,000, which was paid after the sale of the properties to the two companies, which are not named in the indictment. Mr. Renzi didn't include that money on his congressional financial disclosure forms, according to the indictment. Part of that money was used to pay back the money he stole from the customers of his insurance agency, the indictment states.