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Gaming Guru

 

Gaming Control Board Faces Changes in New Year

7 January 2004

The end of 2003 brought with it the expiration of the terms of service for two Gaming Control Board members and left the Board with three vacancies that Governor Granholm will soon fill through appointments or re-appointments. Presently, there technically is not a quorum on the Board, so the appointments will likely be made in the very near future.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board consists of five unpaid members, not more than three of whom can be members of the same political party. The Governor is given the power to appoint the members with the advice and consent of the Michigan Senate.

Last year, Governor Granholm made her first appointment to the Board by appointing Damian Kassab. Mr. Kassab has served as the Chairman of the Warren Bank since 1997 and previously founded an investment bank. He brought to the Board a strong knowledge of financial transactional matters. His current term is set to expire at the end of 2004.

The other Board member whose term has not expired is the Honorable Michael Stacey, who was one of the five original appointees who was re-appointed in 2002 to a four-year term expiring December 31, 2006. Judge Stacey retired from the Wayne County Circuit Court in 1994, but remains active by assisting with alternative dispute resolution and by serving as a visiting judge.

The two Board members whose terms recently expired are the Honorable Roman Gribbs and Rich Davis. Judge Gribbs retired from the Court of Appeals in 2001 after a 46-year career in public service. He has been Mayor of the City of Detroit (1970-74), a Circuit Judge, the Sheriff of Wayne County and an Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor. Most recently, he has served as Chair of the Gaming Control Board.

Rich Davis is one of five original appointees. He is the former director of the Michigan Department of State Police and has a career in law enforcement which began in 1958. He now resides in Northern Michigan. He has done an outstanding job of bringing a practical law enforcement perspective to the Board.

In addition to the two gentlemen whose terms expired at the end of the year, last fall another member of the Board, the Honorable Gerald Bledsoe Ford, passed away. At the December meeting of the Michigan Gaming Control Board, Judge Ford was honored by her colleagues who adopted a resolution (Resolution No. 2003-06) acknowledging and commending her for her contributions. Judge Ford had a 46-year career in public service, and was the first African American female judge in the State of Michigan prior to her involvement with the Board.

Governor Granholm faces an enormous task in filling the shoes of these three distinguished Board members. All three took their jobs as Board members very seriously and performed well in assuring proper oversight to ensure fair and honest gaming. This is remarkable given that the position is unpaid and requires a significant commitment of volunteer time. I do not know if either Gribbs or Davis would be willing to serve again, but if they are, the Governor should carefully consider the value of the institutional knowledge that could be maintained by keeping them.

According to the Governor's spokesperson, Mary Dettloff, the Governor is carefully working on selecting the members of the Board. She is reviewing candidates of the highest integrity, with no ties to the casino industry, but with appropriate practical experience. The Governor has made great progress in her review of these matters and is "hopeful that all of the vacancies will be filled by the end of this month," Ms. Dettloff said.

The next meeting of the Gaming Control Board is scheduled for February 10th at the Board's office in Detroit.

David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com
David Waddell
David Waddell is an attorney for Regulatory Management Counselors, P.C. (RMC), which assists businesses in navigating the legislative, regulatory and licensing systems governing Michigan’s commercial and tribal casino industries. He is the co-author of The State of Michigan Gaming Law Legal Resource Book and one of the founders of The Michigan Gaming Newsletter.

David Waddell Websites:

www.michigangaming.com