Tuesday, July 12, 2011

FBI Has Raided Mississippi Choctaw Gaming Facility

Silver Star Casino and Resort

Law-enforcement officials are on the grounds of two casinos in Philadelphia, Mississippi, as part of a federal investigation, multiple news outlets are reporting this afternoon.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians operates the Silver Star and Golden Moon casinos. The Choctaws reportedly funneled $13 million, through Republican lobbyist and felon Jack Abramoff, to help Bob Riley get elected governor in Alabama in 2002. Riley last year launched a series of raids against gaming facilities in Alabama, apparently in an effort to protect the Choctaws' market share. The Riley raids led to a federal electronic-bingo prosecution that is ongoing in Montgomery.

Is today's action in Mississippi an outgrowth of the Alabama electronic-bingo case? Could it help shine light on activities that helped turn Alabama into "ground zero" for prosecutorial misconduct under the Bush Justice Department? Could this be a sign that the Abramoff affair continues to generate scandal?

It's too early to have answers to such questions. But a report from television station WLBT in Jackson indicates big news might be brewing in Mississippi:

Law enforcement sources tell WLBT that federal agents have taken over the Silver Star casino in Philadelphia. We're told that federal agents are set up on the second floor of the Golden Moon Casino and are confiscating computer hard drives.

The Neshoba Democrat is reporting that the Tribal Council was informed this morning that the Pearl River Resort is under investigation.

The newspaper reports that the casinos remain open, but their status seems uncertain:

The FBI executed a search warrant Tuesday at Pearl River Resort, the Resort has confirmed.

"Representatives from the Department of Justice have executed a search warrant today at the Pearl River Resort," Maj. Gen. Paul Harvey, CEO of the Resort, said in a news release.

"The Resort is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities in their investigation. There will be no interruption in the operation of business at the Resort."

Updated at 8:05 p.m. CDT, July 12--A reporter from the Neshoba Democrat was asked to leave a meeting where the Choctaw Tribal Council was updated on an FBI investigation.

Emotions were running high at the meeting. Reports the Neshoba newspaper:

One Tribal Council member mentioned computer hard drives being taken before the Democrat reporter was dismissed.

Pearl River Tribal Council member Cyrus Ben asked the Democrat reporter to leave the meeting.

Ben told the Democrat Tuesday afternoon that he was just trying to protect the Tribe and its interests in case something negative was said. "I did not mean any harm," he said. Ben said he supports open government and transparency.

"We are in the dark as much as you are," he said of the FBI raid on the casino.

At the meeting Kevin Edwards was elected Vice Chief and Ben was elected Secretary Treasurer.

There was shouting and name-calling at the meeting.

The focus of the investigation remains unclear. A recent tribal election was hotly contested, including charges about efforts to "steal the election." That could be a focus for federal authorities, but it's not clear why they would raid a casino over possible election irregularities.


Max Shelby said...

Are we having fun yet LS?

Long-time Lobbyist Massey Admits "I Am A Criminal"
(for the past ten years no less!)

Anonymous said...

I just read this on al.com. Then searched all MS newspapers. You're right on the button with coverage. Nice job. This may have something to do with a contested tribal election last week but I do indeed hope it involves some political payoffs.

legalschnauzer said...


Thanks for your insights. I wonder why they would raid the casino over a contested tribal election.

On the other hand, I've seen no sign that the Obama DOJ is serious about justice matters in the South (or anywhere else), so I would not be surprised if this winds up being over a relatively minor issue.

Certainly would be ironic if the FBI looked into a tribal election, while ignoring the 2000 presidential election the 2002 gov's race in Alabama, the 2004 presidential election . . .

Robby Scott Hill said...

When it came to lobbying & skimming off the top, Abramoff was one bad mother f#c&e@. When I lost my job at EPIK Communications due to it being the 4th largest creditor of Enron, Jack Abramoff via then US Congressman Bob Riley was in the mix. When I discovered something fishy with the State of Alabama's contracts with Florida Gas Transmission Company, once again, Jack Abramoff was there. When it came to Riley's dealing with the Indians, Jack Abramoff was inside that deal too. When the Alabama Conservation Department issued the first offshore drilling leases in 10 years, there's good old Jack Abramoff & sidekick Gale Norton. When Gale Norton was forced to resign as Secretary of the Interior, Jack Abramoff was in the mix there too. All roads to corruption in the Bush Era ran through Jack Abramoff's office.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is an article about the contested tribal election mentioned by Anon1 above:


jeffrey spruill said...

@Robby Scott Hill: Think Jack might of ratted them all out?....

Again according to The National Journal, when Reed formed Century Strategies, he "decided to focus on political and business consulting, an arena in which he could apply his legendary talents for mobilizing grassroots drives, often with religious and other conservatives, to assist political campaigns and business interests. Early on, Reed discovered the potential for synergy between the business and political worlds. For instance, one of his first and highest-profile consulting jobs was for Enron, a client that he garnered in 1997, reportedly through his connections to Karl Rove, who later made Reed a consultant in the 2000 presidential campaign. Century Strategies earned more than $300,000 from Enron for mounting grassroots lobbying campaigns to help build backing for energy deregulation.Other clients have included the school-focused media company Channel One, Verizon and casino interests working with Reed friend Jack Abramoff in an effort to block Native American tribes from opening new, competing casinos.

choggs said...

I'm not getting my hopes up. Obama has done nothing for the persecuted.

choggs said...

Some reporter with the Neshoba Democrat was threatened with tresspassing charges.

choggs said...


yeah you see

jeffrey spruill said...

Grover Norquist.

Could you and Jack Abramoff have possibly used this tool to funnel money to Ralph Reed who then would funnel money too.....


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