Ethics Questions Surround Maine Casino Funding

A prospective York County casino may be facing some unwanted scrutiny as the leading bid to head the project seems to be funded in a not so transparent way. According to the Portland Press Herald, a $4.2 million bid that has existed since 2015 is said to be tied to offshore companies which are in direct dealings with a somewhat controversial land developer.

Documents filed with the Maine Ethics Commission this week revealed that a very shady grouping of entities, all of which are directly linked to US Virgin Islands-based developed Shawn Scott, will be the beneficiaries of the casino license if and when it is ever issued. Though the casino question is not scheduled to be put up for a vote until November, these very serious questions have raised some eyebrows about the project for all the wrong reasons.

Ethics Commission to Take a Closer Look

Horseracing Jobs Fairness is the main group behind the push for a York County casino in Maine, and up until very recently it looked like the entity had raised more than $4 million, and that Lisa Scott was the only contributor of that money.

Earlier this week, however, it was revealed that Lisa Scott was not, in fact, the only contributor to the project. In addition to Scott, a company from Miami and another from the island of Saipan joined forces to register with the state of Maine as a political committee. Almost immediately, the newly-formed committee reported that it would be handing over $4.2 million in loans to Horseracing Jobs Fairness.

It was then revealed that perhaps Lisa Scott was not acting alone, and that perhaps her brother was pulling strings from behind the scenes. After all, the loan money was found to have originated from 2 sources—Japan-based Regent Able Associate Co., and Capital Seven LLC, which is based out of Las Vegas. The latter of the two companies was used by Shawn Scott more than 13 years ago, when he campaigned to open what is now Hollywood Casino in Bangor, Maine.

The problem with this whole situation is not necessarily where the money is coming from, but rather, how the funding was concealed. According to the law of Maine, any organization or individual that is going to spend more than $5,000 in an attempt to sway an election one way or another must register with the state within a week’s time of exceeding that $5,000 mark. Being that the loans in question date back more than 2 years, and the filing of a committee is something that was done very recently, it seems like a fairly cut and dry case. What makes all of this even worse is the fact that the shadiness of the funding and who was behind it is just now coming to light.

Shawn Scott has been involved in many casino projects the world over, and almost all of them have been marred by their fair share of controversy. Though it is tough to say whether the casino referendum scheduled for November will be called off or not, we can say, with some degree of certainty, that Horseracing Jobs Fairness may very soon be subjected to large fines. This much will be something we continue to follow over the course of the coming days and weeks.