Making the News

Toledo Blade

Originally Published:Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cleveland casino's license approved

By Jim Provance
Toledo Blade

Steve Ingis of commission consultant Spectrum Gaming Group LLC generally praised Penn National's positive financial outlook, stability, and integrity as he recommended issuance of Ohio's second casino license.

"Penn National enjoys a stellar reputation for business integrity among the gaming and business communities," he said. "There are no material issues that surfaced pertaining to Penn National's record of regulatory compliance, its dealings with its vendors and business partners."

He recommended the issuance of a license despite red flags again raised about New York-based Fortress Investment Group LLC, which owns a small piece of Penn.

Mr. Ingis questioned how open Fortress was about Mr. Mudd, noting his resignation took effect a month later than the commission was led to believe and that Mr. Mudd continued to draw his salary during that time. He noted that, on top of his salary, Mr. Mudd walked away with $1.25 million in cash and stock options worth $14 million.

"Spectrum is particularly troubled by Fortress' apparent lack of forthrightness and candor in failing to properly and timely apprise the commission of the full details and circumstances pertaining to Mudd's employment status and the ongoing situation with the SEC ...," Mr. Ingis said.

"We would expect that a public company such as Fortress would be more cognizant of its communication responsibilities in dealing with licensing and regulatory agencies," he said.

Mr. Ingis told the commission that Fortress and its board were fully cooperative after Mr. Mudd's resignation. "If they had not, we would have noted that and emphasized that, and our recommendation would have been different," he said.


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