Saturday, October 29, 2005

If There Is A 'Slot Fix,' Who Is Looking Into It? - Channel 4 Action News - If There Is A 'Slot Fix,' Who Is Looking Into It?: "Mayor Tom Murphy caused a stir on Thursday when he insinuated that the process of issuing slot machine licenses may be corrupt.

Pennsylvania's Gaming Control Board will award one slots license to Pittsburgh.

1 comment:

Mark Rauterkus said...

I could not get the video on the site to play on the Mac.

Several groups are trying, and the board will begin accepting applications on Tuesday.

But the mayor hinted that somebody has already tipped the odds in their favor in some kind of unfair backroom deal.

If Mayor Tom Murphy's words prove true, they have the potential to lift the lid off what could turn into a major scandal.

Millions and millions of dollars are at stake in the licenses.

Murphy believes if the competition isn't fair, Pittsburghers will be the losers because the development deal won't be the best for the region.

Murphy continues to dare the media to probe what he claims is "scuttlebutt" all over town -- that the "fix is in" for who will win the slots casino license in Pittsburgh, even before the state starts taking applications.

When asked by Channel 4 Action News reporter Bob Mayo if he had notified the district attorney and the U.S. attorney and if they shoud look into the situation, Murphy answered, "I'm not really going to talk (about) that -- who I have notified. Some authorities, and I'm not going to talk about it any further."

When asked by Mayo if he thought the situation warrants a criminal investigation, the mayor responded, "I don't know that. I'm not a lawyer."

Channel 4 went to District Attorney Steve Zappala to ask if he intends to investigate, but he declined a formal interview.

Zappala said he "won't give credence" to the mayor's comment by discussing it on camera.

The D.A. said if the mayor has information, he should submit it to authorities and they'll look at it.

"By raising this issue, I am trying to represent the best interests of the city. And I encourage you to work hard," said Murphy.

Pennsylvania's Gaming Control Board has seven voting members, four appointed by Republican and Democratic leaders in the state House and Senate, and three appointed by the governor.

Its spokesman said it takes five votes to approve who gets Pittsburgh's slots license.

"I just believe very deeply that we all need to work very hard to make sure that this is an open and honest competition," said Murphy. "I won't name any names. I will encourage you to pursue it."

Channel 4 Action News asked Pittsburgh Penguins senior consultant David Morehouse if he believes a fix is in that will shut the Penguins out of a slots license.

Morehouse said, "This is too important to the city to fall victim to backroom deals."

In the end, said Morehouse, "this will be decided on the merits."

According to Morehouse, the Penguins will submit a proposal "so good it will be the best by far."

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan is in Washington and not available for comment on whether her office will probe Murphy's claims.