Casinos to Sue former Illinois Governor
Four Illinois casino companies have filed a $267 million racketeering lawsuit against former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and a prominent racetrack owner over a controversial law that requires casinos to funnel part of their revenues to struggling horse tracks. This is yet another accusation the impeached Governor must now face. A federal affidavit alleges Blagojevich attempted to pressure John Johnston, whose family owns and operates several tracks in the Chicago area, for a $100,000 contribution. In exchange for this “generosity” the Governor would pass legislation to help the struggling horse racing industry. The legislation requires the state’s four top-earning casinos to give 3% of their gross adjusted annual revenues to the horse-racing industry.
Blagojevich received tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for passing such legislation. It isn’t the first round of trouble for the former governor of the state of Illinois. He has a hefty legal battle to manage through and this is just one of the issues he has to go through. The ousted governor is set to begin fighting his legal troubles in coming months. The question of bringing gambling into the state is not a new one. In fact, almost every state is toying with the idea of either bringing in gambling or expanding gambling. States are hard-pressed to bring in new ways of generating revenue. The recession was hard on the nation and almost every state is under a hefty deficit and has few ways of managing the huge budgets. So far, most are looking to huge cutbacks in education funding, development and expansion. Though the communities in the state are against cutbacks, without them there is no way the state has to manage its budget or even think of making a successful financial year.
The lawsuit filed by the casinos is just the beginning of problems for Blagojevich. His legal battles are many. Though since the beginning he has claimed innocence, it has yet to be seen how he is going to get out of the problem. His legal team is on double duty and without some hard negotiating, it seems the ousted governor may be in for the legal battle of his life.