The LuLac Edition #408, Jan. 30th, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: OUTGOING PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES JOHN EDWARDS AND RUDY GIULIANI AND CASINO OWNER LOUIS DENAPLES.
Dan Flood and Joe McDade come to mind when I think of the DeNaples indictment for perjury today. If the government is out to get you, they're going to get you. The most troubling thing to me about all of this is that DeNaples is being hounded for something he did thirty years ago and getting nailed for testimony that had no bearing on life and death. We didn't indict a former President for lying to a Grand Jury, but we go after a self made man who worked his butt off to get where he is, who shared his wealth with his community and built a business without tax breaks to bolster his region's economy. It's a witch hunt and it's sad. Here's what it's all about, from the Times Leader:
Louis A. DeNaples, who opened Mount Airy Casino Resort in October with the blessing of state gambling regulators, was charged with four counts of perjury by the Dauphin County district attorney's office after a seven-month grand jury investigation. His company, Mount Airy No. 1 LLC, was also charged.
Prosecutors say DeNaples didn't tell the truth to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board when he talked about his relationship with four people.
The four are: William D'Elia, the reputed head of a Scranton-area organized crime family; the late Russell Bufalino, an organized crime boss; Ron White, a now-dead Philadelphia businessman accused of trying to trade government contracts for political donations; and Shamsud-din Ali, who is serving a seven-year prison term for using his political connections in Philadelphia to obtain dubious loans, donations and city contracts.
The gaming board, which vetted casino applications, awarded a license to DeNaples after investigating his background for organized crime ties, financial troubles and more.
Through a spokesman, DeNaples has maintained that he has no ties to organized crime. His lawyers have accused Dauphin County prosecutors of misusing the grand jury as a fishing expedition and a tool in a turf war over who should regulate the state's casinos.
More than two dozen witnesses, including D'Elia, appeared in front of the grand jury. D'Elia is in federal prison awaiting trial on charges of money laundering and conspiring to kill a prosecution witness.
Dauphin County prosecutors brought the case to the grand jury last year after reviewing information given to them by state police investigators.
DeNaples, 67, has business interests that span waste hauling, auto parts and real estate. He chairs a bank in which he is the biggest shareholder, and is a generous philanthropist and campaign donor.
DeNaples opened his casino and hotel on the site of the storied, but shuttered, Mount Airy Lodge resort with the promise of spreading economic cheer to northeastern Pennsylvania. Anticipating that he would beat a competing group to win the license, DeNaples had already razed the old lodge and broken ground on the new facility by the time the gaming board voted unanimously for him in December 2006.
For years, law enforcement agents have taken an interest in DeNaples, whose name has surfaced several times in state and federal intelligence reports on organized crime.
In 1978, DeNaples was fined $10,000 and placed on probation for three years after pleading no contest to a felony charge of conspiracy to defraud the federal government in a case involving government payments to clean up the aftermath of Hurricane Agnes.
John Edwards dropped out of the Presidential race today and it brought to an end a populist effort that in any other time had all the earmarks of a successful campaign. But Edwards' message was dwarfed by the two giants in the field, Senators Clinton and Obama who brought their own cosmetic credentials to the race. The first woman or first black nominee of the Democratic party. By that comparison, Edwards was just another good looking white guy trying to be heard. Many said he was too cute, too passionate, too phoney and too southern. Then there were some who said he lacked depth and experience. They're all right to some extent. But despite this setback, the Edwards story may not end. He's a young man, still has the ambition and may be around for years to come trying to get that brass ring. If he doesn'tmake it, it won't be for lack of effort.