Park Place Had a Plan in Mind
Last Year, Says Lawsuit
By John Emerson
MONTICELLO May 9, 2000 -- Arthur Goldberg, Clive Cummis and Park Place Entertainment Corp. planned for months to take control of the proposed St. Regis Mohawk casino at Monticello Raceway, according to a lawsuit filed by the former manager of the tribes existing casino.
President R.C.-St. Regis Manage-ment Company, the management company that ran the small and unprofitable Akwesasne Mohawk Casino on the tribes reservation in Hogansburg, NY, is seeking more than $130 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The lawsuit claims Park Place and Goldberg reneged on a deal to take over management of the Akwesasne casino and include President in any ventures relating to the casino at Monticello Raceway.
The 36-page complaint alleges that Goldberg and Park Place came to Ivan Kaufman, a principal owner of President, asking for an introduction to the tribal leaders in the hopes that they could obtain exclusive rights to manage the casino in Monticello. The original meeting took place in the summer of 1999.
President readily agreed to meet with Park Place representatives but claims in the lawsuit that the introduction had to be based on Park Place investing in the existing Akwesasne casino. President and Kaufman were also to receive a piece of the action in the Catskills casino, whenever it opened.
As negotiations between the tribe, President and Park Place continued, it became clear that Park Places real interest was the Catskills casino, which at that time was waiting for federal approvals. The lawsuit claims that Park Place went so far as to send a letter in February stating that [its] willingness to take on the consulting agreement and then the management agreement of the Akwesasne casino was premised on our joining with the tribe in a venture in the Catskill region, in particular, a possible major casino at Kutschers [sic] in the Catskills.
Eventually, Goldberg, Cummis and Park Place circumvented President and Kaufman, making their own deal with the tribe that eliminated President and Kaufman, the lawsuit claims. The lawsuit says the agreement named Park Place as the exclusive developer and manager of casinos in the State of New York. It also states that the agreement between the tribe and Park Place acknowledge[s] the existence of [the] tribes agreement with Alpha [Hospitality, the original management company for the Monticello casino] but believe[s] that it is of no force and effect. Park Place agreed to indemnify the tribe against any litigation resulting from the tribe entering into an agreement with Park Place to substitute Park Place for Alpha.
The cost of the agreement to Park Place was $3 million, which will be paid back to Park Place only in the event that the tribe is unable to fulfill its agreement with Park Place.
It says a lot about the way they do business, said Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini after reading the lawsuit.
Attempts to reach Park Place for comment on the lawsuit were unsuccessful.