Gary casino accused of not paying taxes

September 13, 2010 (GARY, Ind.)

Council member Roy Pratt is urging the Indiana Gaming Commission not to renew the two licenses to the casino and place them in receivership on Thursday at a meeting to be held in Indianapolis.

Casino officials argue the casino is not delinquent in its payments.

Pratt says they owe $27 million in overdue Lake County taxes and that Gary is entitled to a portion of that money.

"We're asking that the gaming commission that they remove the license from him, and give it to other companies," said Pratt.

Majestic Star officials says the two casinos were over-assessed and overtaxed and that the majority of its taxes are under appeal.

"The assessors indicated that he has to pay all of the funds other than that portion that was in appeal," said Pratt.

Majestic Star Senior Vice President and General Manager Larry Buck stated that "we are 100% up to date with taxes owed. Once the appeal process is complete, then we will know if we overpaid or underpaid."

Pratt has the support of other council members and says that Gary is in a distressed state and that their roads, police and fire departments, and city services are in need of the money owed to them.

"I don't care who it is, small business or big business, if you have taxes to pay, I have to pay my household property taxes, and how do you get away with something like that?" said Gary resident Dawn Daveneaux.

Pratt said that if on Thursday in Indianapolis state regulators decide not to renew the casino license, he believes the license will go for as much as $50 million, and he wants Gary to have a say as to who gets the license.

"They will issue the license - what we're saying is we would like to play a role in terms of the developmental agreement like we had with the 3 and the 4 percent," said Pratt.

Buck says he is confident that the gaming commission will vote in their favor on Thursday.

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