Thursday, September 28, 2006

Casinos in Canal Fulton?

Apparently, the Shawnee are pretty confident that they’ll be able to extort casino operating rights in Ohio through the courts. Confident to the extent that they appear to be laying the groundwork for a casino near Canal Fulton.

It’s also serious enough that the Mayor Grogan and council feel compelled to attempt to bully Paul Bagocius, a member of the town’s preservation committee into silence.

The most interesting part of the story is Councilman Colaianni’s statement in the Beacon Journal:

“Colaianni said he sought Bagocius' resignation after Bagocius submitted a letter by e-mail to a local newspaper, accusing city administrators of holding secret meetings with representatives of the Eastern Shawnee tribe, which has proposed a casino for nearby Lawrence Township.

`Let's be real here: When people hear about secret meetings, some people think they are illegal,’ said Colaianni, who received calls from constituents questioning the meetings after publication of the letter.

‘Nothing illegal has taken place, period.... ,’ he said. `’I agree with many of his points in opposing this casino. But when it gets to the point of distorting the facts and accusing people of doing things that are illegal, that's crossed the line.’”
This is amazing stuff.
1. Bagocius sends a letter to the newspaper, alleging secret meetings.
2. Colaianni doesn’t deny the meetings, or that they were intended to remain secret, he merely denies that they were illegal.
3. Colaianni then claims that because some people believe that secret meetings are illegal, that Bagocius is accusing him of illegal activity.

I don’t have a copy of the letter, but if Bagocius had actually accused the council or mayor of illegal activity, I’m sure that would have been responded to directly. If you are going to accuse people of crimes, you better have evidence to back it up. Merely accusing the council of holding secret meetings, on the other hand, is merely alleging unethical or shady behavior, especially so in the case of a highly charged issue such as casino gambling. Which, given the shady and unethical behavior, as well as increases in crime that follow casino gambling, isn’t that far fetched an assumption.

So, absent a specific denial that the meetings took place, it seems safe to conclude that either the mayor or council of Canal Fulton has had meetings with the casino interests. Given the hysteria that seems to have gripped the mayor and council, it’s not unreasonable to assume that they are in the process of selling out the town to the casino.

A lot of this could have simply been avoided if the councilman had simply admitted to a few exploratory meetings, given a brief status, and dropped the ‘I am not a crook’ bit.

But I’m sure it will be packaged as a community development project, money for schools, etc.