Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rendell: no politics, just merit

Gov. Rendell was all about showing the love earlier today when speaking to reporters about the gaming board's decision.

The governor said he thought the board did "a great job," adding that he believes the choices it made were chosen based on merit, not politics.

He said he was surprised by a few of the winners, including the selection of Detroit-based casino developer Don H. Barden -- the underdog for Pittsburgh's slots license.

He was also surprised by Trump's loss in Philadelphia.

"Donald Trump is one of the biggest names in the industry," said Rendell, pointing out that Trump was also a good friend of his and that he never tried to influence the board about his application.

The governor did appear to get a little testy when Patriot News reporter Charlie Thompson questioned his statement about how political connections did not play a role. Thompson asked Rendell whether he was disappointed, for instance, that Louis DeNaples, an applicant with a felony conviction, got a casino license.

"Is he more politically connected than Ron Rubin [of Foxwoods] or the group that was proposing to build at the incinerator site [Riverwalk]" Rendell asked, later adding that DeNaples has been certified by various federal and state agencies as fit to do business. "Almost every application ... had tremendous political connections."

((Just to set the record straight: Rendell's comments aside, Ron Rubin himself is not an investor in Foxwoods. The Rubin family has set up a charitable trust that is in an investor, and plans on turning over its portion of profits to charity)).

--A.C.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

The fact that Trump gave Rendell $32,000 over the last 5 years, close to the legal limit per year, probably helps Rendell consider Trump his friend, but does lend credibility to Fast Eddie's statement that politics didn't play a role.

A Big Fat Slob said...

Well, maybe Trump should have ponied up more if money is what it takes.

Denaples gave Rendell & committees associated with him nearly $200,000; he handed Mellow & his committees almost $300,000.

All told, Denaples doled out over $1 million in advance of his slots application.

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