Monday, April 28, 2008

Slots Parlor: Felix asked a great question in another thread, at the Burgh Report blog

Worthy read, in full. Pointer:
... Is anyone else disturbed by the fact that $150 million in funding for Don Barden's casino comes from the two troubled public pension funds of the City of Detroit?

Last week S&P rated Barden's Pittsburgh casino project at B- with a negative outlook -- that's quite bad, and his other Majestic Star operations (in Gary, Indiana; Tunica, Mississippi; and Colorado) were rated a nearly-insolvent CCC+. What on earth are two drastically underfunded pension funds doing investing in a project like that? Isn't it an obvious use of political favors by Barden in his home town of Detroit?

Am I crazy in raising these questions, which have garnered no coverage in the Detroit media from what I've seen, and bare-bones coverage here? Shouldn't someone be investigating and reporting on the deeper stories -- if any -- behind these pension boards' decisions? Did money or favors change hands, and if so, where?

This is not chump change, folks, it is $150 million in savings that are supposed to benefit long-serving city workers in a distressed Rust Belt city. It may not be our own city, but the guy who benefits from it is building a casino in our city with that money. Is there anyone out there with the time and inclination to look into this further?

Felix Dzerzhinsky

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