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Detroiter Builds Out-Of-State Casino Empire

21 April 2002

DETROIT -- As reported by the Associated Press: ``A Detroiter whose proposal for a casino here in 1997 didn't make the cut continues to make progress in building an out-of-state casino empire.

``Owner of the Majestic Star floating casino in Gary, Ind., Don Barden paid $149 million in December for three Fitzgeralds casinos in Las Vegas, Black Hawk, Colo., and Tunica, Miss.

``Because he is the only black man owning a casino in the U.S., people across the country are taking increasing notice of Barden as his empire expands, the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.

```There are very few African Americans among top management,' said John Edmond, a Las Vegas real-estate developer who was Nevada's first black baccarat dealer in the early 1970s. `Mr. Barden could have a serious impact on development.'

``At 58, Barden is optimistic. He said he is looking at expanding each of his properties. He continues to preach black empowerment, saying he is hiring blacks and women to run and supply his casinos.

``...Barden still badly wants to build in Detroit, and says his national chain disproves criticism from 1997 that he couldn't afford the kind of casino former mayor Dennis Archer wanted.

``...`We're getting so much less than what we are entitled to in Detroit, and so much less than what was promised,' Barden said. `It's very depressing that we have to settle for this. It's the biggest fiasco in the last 50 years in Detroit'..."

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