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Saturday, February 16, 2008
Posted 10:29 PM by

DeNaples' perjury appeal headed to Slotsylvania Supreme Court

Louis DeNaplesHere's where the fun(house) begins.

Lawyers for indicted slots parlor owner Louis DeNaples have appealed his perjury charges to the state Supreme Court, the same cast of characters - minus one, former Chief Justice Ralph Cappy - that rubberstamped the Legislature legalizing slot machine gambling in the first place despite clear violations of the state Constitution in the way the law was passed.

This after DeNaples, a Dunmore billionaire, spread at least $679,375 and possibly more than $1 million in political contributions around among the state's governor, top prosecutor, key lawmakers, judges and party groups to get slot machine gambling legalized and to obtain a slots parlor license.

Somebody save me a ticket to this well-scripted and choreographed show. The dancing alone should be spectacular.

Is it any wonder that DeNaples' appeal was filed last Monday and the press didn't find out about until Friday night?

I've long figured three things might happen at this point:

1. DeNaples's attorneys argue the merit-worthy jurisdictional question. What right did the Dauphin County prosecutors have to empanel a grand jury about what is essentially state business? If state Attorney General Tom Corbett had thought DeNaples perjured himself before the state Gaming Control Board, he would have empaneled a statewide grand jury, which he didn't.

There's one flaw with that logic. While Corbett had authority to investigate DeNaples, he chose to permit Dauphin County District Attorney Edward Marsico to pursue him because the county prosecutor had already begun delving into other gambling-related matters.

However, Corbett also had a clear-cut conflict of interest. He accepted at least $35,000 from DeNaples in political contributions when he first ran for attorney general.

Did he let a jurisdictionally questionable prosecution occur knowing it might eventually protect his benefactor?

2. The DeNaples' camp runs a smear campaign against Marsico, arguing prosecutorial misconduct and claiming both grandstanding (which they've already alleged publicly) and possibly selective prosecution.

3. The attorneys take the long-term approach of dragging things out so that when DeNaples, 67, finally dies, his estate can sue to reclaim its ownership of Mount Airy Casino Resort and his half of the profits since the charges would never have been proven.

Looks like DeNaples and his lawyers are about to take a number one and number two all over the passe ideas of truth and justice in the state of Slotsylvania. Not that the high court, Corbett, the Gaming Control Board, the Legislature and the Governor haven't all taken turns soiling those ideas already in this giant, corrupt circle jerk.

Kevin Feeley, a spokesman for DeNaples, told the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre that the appeal renews DeNaples' argument that Marsico overstepped his authority and the grand jury that issued the indictment was not properly empanelled.

Attorney Richard Sprague of Philadelphia previously tried to make the same argument before the high court, but the justices refused to hear its merits after ruling in December that the appeal was premature because, at that time, no indictment had been issued, Feeley said.

Now that the grand jury has indicted DeNaples - finding on Jan. 30 that he lied to both the them and the Gaming Control Board about his alleged ties to mob bosses and corrupt Philly fixers based partly on FBI wiretaps - the court can hear the merits.

Feeley told the TL that DeNaples remains confident the charges will dismissed before the case ever gets to trial. "Next week, you will begin to see phase one of our defense. There are going to be some very aggressive steps taken to make people understand this prosecution is outrageous and ultimately doomed to fail,: he said.

Although DeNaples has been banned by the gaming board from his own slots parlor - and its profits - until the perjury charges are settled, the casino still remains profitable. The week after DeNaples' indictment, gross terminal revenue at Mount Airy was up more than 13 percent to $2.7 million. Betting totaled $41.5 million, up more than ten percent over the previous week.

The question now is for how long, considering I've never heard of a casino with bad credit before?

Mount Airy defaulted on more than $400 million in debt when DeNaples was arrested, leading two national credit rating services to downgrade the slot parlor's credit rating this week, the Citizens Voice of Wilkes-Barre said Friday.

While there is no indication that lender JPMorgan Chase will foreclose on the debt, Mount Airy has lost direct access to a $25 million revolving line of credit with the investment bank and now has to ask JPMorgan Chase permission to tap it.

Also, Standard and Poor's downgraded ratings for the corporate bonds issued to fund the construction of Mount Airy from "B", meaning a "speculative investment", to "CCC", indicating "a strong likelihood of default in the next year," Craig Parmelee, a managing director for Standard and Poor's credit rating service, told the newspaper.


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

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