Casino VLT Payoff Amounts to Extortion
By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
Michael Corleone:? “Now, Johnny is my father’s godson.?? So my father went to see this big-bandleader and offered him $10,000 to let Johnny out of his contract.?? But the bandleader said no.?? So the next day, my father went back, only this time with Luca Brasi.?? Within an hour, he had a signed release for a certified check of $1,000.”
Kay Adams:? “How did he do that?”
Michael: “My father made him an offer he couldn’t refuse . . .? Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured him that either his brains – or his signature – would be on the contract.”????
—The Godfather (movie), 1972
??? “After more than a year of negotiations, Atlantic City’s casinos have finally wrapped up an agreement with the NJ horseracing industry. . . . The agreement . . . requires the casinos to pay the tracks $90 million over the next three years in exchange for a moratorium on VLT’s (slot machine-like video lottery terminals). . . .?? Corzine signed the no-VLT legislation months ago, but final details for the subsidy agreement had to be worked out between the Governor’s Office, the Casino Association, and the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority. . . .”???
—Press of Atlantic City, August 28, 2008.
??? In New Jersey today, you do not need a cold blooded killer like Luca Brasi to do extortion.?? All you need is control of state government.
??? Two years ago in July, Governor Jon Corzine shut down every casino in Atlantic City to show that he, not Republican Bill Gormley, was their boss.?? Last year, Corzine whacked the Tropicana for not showing respect for his UNITE-HERE union friends.
??? New Jersey casino owners and executives got the message.?? They have loads of money, private jets, and fancy houses.?? But they know that state politicians can ruin them any time they feel like it.
??? In Nevada, casino executives like MGM Mirage CEO Terry Lanni routinely speak out on public issues.?? They support and oppose candidates, and keep their government somewhat accountable.
??? But in New Jersey casino owners and executives like Donald Trump, Joe Corbo, and Mark Juliano are barred by the NJ Casino Control Act from running, supporting, or opposing anyone for state public office.?? They can not freely speak to anyone, not reporters, not even their own employees, about public issues affecting their business.?? And so they keep their mouths shut and pay their protection money.
??? But why $90 million to the obsolete and failing horseracing industry??? Because Senate President Richard Codey has personal ties to it.?? His brother, Donald Codey even runs the Freehold Raceway.
??? The NJ Senate President alone decides which bills come up for a vote, and which do not.?? Not a law can be passed and not a dime can be spent by New Jersey government unless Richard Codey lets it come up for a Senate vote.?? Dick Codey gets what he wants.
??? “A person is guilty of criminal coercion if, with purpose unlawfully to restrict another’s freedom of action to engage or refrain from engaging in conduct, he threatens to. . . (4) Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action . . . Criminal coercion is a crime of the fourth degree unless the threat is to commit a crime more serious than one of the fourth degree or the actor’s purpose is criminal, in which cases the offense is a crime of the third degree.”?
—New Jersey Criminal Code:? 2C:13-5
??? The attorney general or any county prosecutor could easily indict Senate President Richard Codey, Governor Jon Corzine, and half the New Jersey Legislature for “criminal coercion.”?? All they need for evidence is last week’s newspaper.?? And the crimes would be 2d degree with no pretrial intervention because the threats involved “action AS AN OFFICIAL.”?
??? Will New Jersey’s Attorney General and county prosecutors indict their friends who appointed them in the first place??? If not, will U.S. Attorney Chris Christie bring federal charges??? (Christie did decide that a $5,000 payoff in Pleasantville was a “federal” crime that affected “interstate commerce.”?? What about this $90 million bribe!)
??? Our daily newspaper should demand second degree indictments against Senate President Codey and his co-conspirators.?? But its editorials demand that treatment only for Atlantic City Councilman John Schultz.?? Why??? Schultz never acted “as an official.”?? At worst, his crime was 4th degree – one that entitles him to pretrial intervention.?? Does someone want Schultz out of the way before Atlantic City’s council votes on Bader Field?
For more information, visit www.libertyandprosperity.org or contact Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman at email@example.com?or 609-927-7333.?? Seth Grossman hosts a two way talk radio program every Saturday from 8am – 9am on WVLT Vineland, 92.1 FM.