GAMBLOR: The Empire Strikes Back!

BY JEFF SHIELDS INQUIRER STAFF WRITER — The fight over development of two casinos on the Philadelphia waterfront turned nasty yesterday, as SugarHouse Casino claimed “widespread andcasino_royale_art.jpg pervasive fraud” in the petition drive to ban slots parlors from Delaware Avenue.The allegations are contained in a complaint that casino lawyers said will be filed today in court. A copy was provided in advance to The Inquirer.

SugarHouse lawyers, led by two attorneys who are investors in the project, Richard Sprague and William Lamb, accuse activists of forging signatures and circulating petitions with two different versions of a proposed ballot question.

John Miller, a spokesman for SugarHouse, said Sprague and Lamb would not comment, but confirmed the complaint will be filed today.

Jeffrey Rotwitt, an attorney for the city’s second proposed casino, Foxwoods, said SugarHouse and Foxwoods have “been in collaborative mode” to prepare the complaint.

The complaint contends that fewer than 25 percent of the 27,254 signatures submitted last week can be validated. If true, that would leave anti-casino groups far short of the 20,000 signatures of registered voters required to start the process of putting a ballot question before voters in the May 15 primary.

It would ask voters to approve a charter change that would ban casinos from within 1,500 feet of any home, school or church. If passed, the measure would likely halt casino construction for months, years, or permanently, and potentially void the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s Dec. 20 decision to license SugarHouse and Foxwoods over three competitors.

INQUIRER: There Was A Time When The Super-Lawyer Would Be Working For The People Not The MAN, And His Integrity And Moral Compass Would Be Applauded, And As Such, His Profession Would Be Admired, But That Was A Long, Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away

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