The leader of a campaign to build a new casino in the US state of Maine has been forced to submit the campaigns financial documents to US watchdogs investigating the campaigns funding sources.
Officials from the Maine Ethics Commission (MEC) are investigating a $4.2 million campaign organization run by Lisa Scott, called “Horseracing Jobs Fairness,” which gathered enough signatures to force a referendum on the question of building a casino in southern Maine.
The referendum on a proposed casino development in York County will take place in November with the winning bidder receiving exclusive rights to build Maine’s third casino.
Ms Scott is the sister of US Virgin Islands developer Shaun Scott, owner of Las Vegas based firm Capital Seven LLC.
In June the commission voted to investigate Scott following campaign disclosures in April that showed nearly $4.3m in funding previously attributed to the campaign was actually loaned to Scott by Capital Seven and a firm of consultants based in Japan.
The timing of these disclosures is under question, as under Maine law campaign entities who spend more than $5,000 are required to disclose this spending within a week. April’s disclosures all relate to funds donated to the campaign going as far back as 2015, in clear violation of this law.
Campaign backers have stated that all financials remain compliant; however officials from the Maine Ethics Commission have issued four subpoenas requesting communications, bank statements and financial records all relating to the casino bid.
Attorney for Lisa Scott, Bruce Merrill initially refused subpoenas from the MEC in June, but has now only agreed to comply with the commission on the condition that the document submission deadlines are pushed back for Scott and her campaign treasurer, Cheryl Timberlake.
Scott’s legal team now have until September 1st to provide documentation, while Timberlake is required to submit her documentation by July 31st.
Other subpoenas have been sent to Capital Seven LLC and Bridge Capital, both owned and operated by Shawn Scott, who remains a controversial figure in the US following several high profile deals involving gambling related properties.
In 2002, Scott bought the Bangor Raceway in Penobscot County for just $1 million. However a year later, in 2003, he funded a successful state referendum campaign to authorize slot machines at the track, which later allowed him to sell it soon after for $51 million all of which was done without Scott ever getting licensed by the state.
His company Bridge Capital was the subject of corruption investigations by the Laotian government in 2015 which resulted in the seizure of one of the companies casinos by Laotian authorities.
In 2016 a now failed casino campaign bid in Massachusetts were forced to pay over $125,000 in fines following allegations that they had violated several sections of state law by disguising $1.6 million in contributions from Scott-linked companies.
DISCUSS THIS ARTICLE