|MAYOR BACKS AWAY FROM BETTING PLAN
Tuesday, October 31, 2000
By KEVIN FERGUSON
and JEFF SIMPSON
LAS VEGAS - Mayor Oscar Goodman said Tuesday afternoon
remove himself from any deliberations or City Council votes to
consider the fate of a proposed partnership between the city and an
Internet gambling site, so long as entrepreneur Bob Stupak is
Goodman said through a statement that he learned earlier
in the day
that his law office had represented Stupak - "an apparent future
investor in the Internet gaming venture" - in an unrelated May legal
The statement implied that Goodman learned of Stupak's
in vegasone.com after asking the project's lawyers at a Monday
council meeting for the names of all of the company's officer,
directors and shareholders.
Goodman later checked with his law office to see if it
represented any of those persons, a move that revealed Stupak's name.
"Upon learning of this and after consulting City Attorney
Jerbic, Goodman decided that his participation in the evaluation of
the project may present an appearance of a conflict of interest,"
read the statement.
Despite the statement, sources familiar with
the evolution of the
proposal said Goodman has been aware for months that Stupak is a
player in the proposal, a claim countered by the entrepreneur's own
"I commend the mayor for his courage and his vision to
project forward," Stupak said Tuesday night. "I have no financial
investment and at this time I am not contemplating a financial
investment. I wish the mayor and city council the best of luck on
this worthy project."
A frustrated Goodman spoke about the news in a Tuesday
"Over a stupid insignificant case, (Bob Stupak)
retained my law
firm's services in May," he said.
Goodman said he is scheduled to meet with Stupak
this morning to
determine his involvement in the venture.
"If he says he doesn't intend to be involved, then
I will go
forward like a speeding bullet," Goodman said. "I really want this
project to go forward."
When Goodman was asked if he would request that
Stupak step aside
he said: "I can't do that. That would be out of line. But I hope he
would voluntarily step aside."
Stupak offered a brief reply.
"You can't step aside until you step in," he said.
Tony Cabot, a lawyer for the proposed e-casino has
vegasone.com could generate $360 million a year, with $90 million
going to the city of Las Vegas.
The city's seal, its official name and a municipally appointed
regulatory body would give the site a competitive advantage against
the estimated 1,000 competing Web sites that target wary online
State and federal laws prohibit Internet betting
from within U.S.
borders. As a result, organizers of the vegasone.com venture have
said they would place the site's Web server overseas while erecting
barriers to prevent betting from within the United States.
Representatives of vegasone.com are scheduled to
appear before the
City Council at 9 a.m. today to say whether they're willing to
undertake a 90-day trial period for the betting site, a proposal
Goodman asked the group to consider Monday.
Las Vegas lawyer James Jimmerson, a vegasone.com board
Tuesday he was uncertain whether his board colleagues would support
the test run.
Hours before his surprising announcement, Goodman said
generated from the online gambling partnership could revolutionize
the way the city does business.
"The first year we can write each citizen a check
for $150," he
said. "The second year we can build better parks, and the third year
we can take care of the poor."
The Las Vegas mayor has been a key player in the
depending upon the source of information has numerous authors,
including Goodman, Stupak, local lawyers James Jimmerson and Tony
Cabot, or any one of the longtime casino executives who sit on the
board of vegasone.com.
Goodman has said that representatives of the venture,
includes former MGM Grand boss Larry Woolf and Caesars Palace boss
Dan Reichartz, approached him months ago with the plan.
Without Goodman's involvement, the project could be in
trouble, said one city hall source.
"That means another council member is going to have to
pick up the
ball and run with it," the source said. "There are some political
hurdles involved here, and it'll take somebody who is willing to take
the political risks."
A second city hall source said Goodman may be backing
away from the
proposal he wants consensus on the council.
"He doesn't want 4-3 votes," the source said. "He senses
will be opposition."
Councilwoman Lynette Boggs McDonald said numerous issues
"The issues that I've always had with the proposal are
issues," she said. "Can children be kept from betting and whether the
city should put the proposal up for competitive bid? Those issues
lasvegas.com Gaming Wire
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