"What's black and white and read all over?"

Monday, March 24, 2008
Posted 5:38 PM by

Pressure building in Slotsylvania House for DeNaples probe

Tad Decker (left), State Police Commissioner Jeffrey Miller
"It seems like we're not getting the truth here," state Rep. Curt Schroder (R-East Brandywine) told the Daily Local News of Chester County last week.

That's why Shroder and other Republican lawmakers are throwing in behind House Resolution 652. It reportedly calls for creating a select committee with subpoena powers to to examine the process that awarded a state license to indicted slots parlor owner Louis DeNaples.

I'd love to link directly to the resolution and tell you all about it.

But in typical Slotsylvania fashion, HR 652 still isn't posted online for the public to read. It isn't among a list of pending resolutions even though 12 others have been added since it was introduced last week.

That isn't what's supposed to happen when something controversial gets introduced in the Legislature. Just look at this example, which also happens to reference a fictional House Bill 652.

If passed by the House, HR 652 would reportedly create a select committee composed of 10 members, including the majority and minority chairs of the Gaming Oversight Committee, two appointments each from the majority and minority leaders, and four appointments by the speaker - two Republicans and two Democrats.

The committee would hold hearings, take testimony and issue subpoenas to compel testimony or produce documents, records or other information deemed appropriate.

Any person appearing before the committee would be put under oath or affirmation. Any person refusing to testify or produce requested records would be subject to penalties. The committee would have 90 days to complete its work.

That work is includes figuring who was telling the truth: State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller, who testified on March 4 that the state Gaming Control Board knew or should have known DeNaples was under investigation for perjury before he was granted a license, or former Control Board Chairman Thomas "Tad" Decker who has publicly stated they didn't.

The board unanimously approved a license for DeNaples on Dec. 20, 2006, ignoring DeNaples' near-three-decades old felony, a complaint that he sold a Hurricane Katrina-wrecked tractor trailer for hauling instead of scrap as well as his rumored ties to mob figures.

DeNaples was indicted Jan. 30 on four charges of lying to the gaming board about his relationship with two reputed Northeastern Pennsylvania mob bosses and two corrupt political fixers in Philadelphia.

He has denied any wrong-doing, but has been barred from his own $412 million Mount Airy Casino and its profits.

"I think we have to get to the bottom of this," said Shroder, a member of the House Gaming Oversight Committee. We can't just say, 'Oh, we'll do better next time.' We really have to restore the public's confidence in this whole operation."

Shroder could start by asking state Rep. Harold James (D-Philadelphia), the majority chairman of the oversight committee, why he hasn't called for hearings himself. Or ask James why the committee hasn't moved a single slots gambling reform bill in more than a year.

Ditto for state Sen. Jane Earll, an Erie Republican who heads the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee and has similarly stymied reform efforts there.

Earll also stopped an effort last October to put state police in charge of slot licensee background investigations, saying, "I don't see any glaring problems that have been brought to light by today's testimony that we need to rush to fix."

As The Citizens Voice of Wilkes-Barre said in its editorial on Sunday, "Finding the truth is a matter of accountability to the public."


For more about Louis DeNaples and to read my complete take on this long-predicted Slotsylvania snafu, click here.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

 |  1 comments  |  |  RSS Feed | Add to Technorati Favorites

This Week's Rants | The Daily Rant Archives

Creative Commons License
The Daily Rant by Dave Ralis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.