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Howard Stutz

Nevada not investigating Lee, Pinnacle

16 November 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander said there are no plans for the state to open an investigation into Pinnacle Entertainment following the sudden resignation of chairman and chief executive officer Dan Lee.

Missouri gaming authorities said they were investigating Lee and the Las Vegas-based regional casino operator after an incident between Lee and a member of the St. Louis County Council earlier this month. Lee expressed his displeasure with a rezoning vote that could place competition near Pinnacle's under-construction casino complex in suburban St. Louis, verbally threatening the political career of the council member.

Lee's resignation was announced Monday after the Missouri Gaming Control Board said it was looking into the matter. Pinnacle also operates the $507 million Lumiere Place casino in downtown St. Louis.

Neilander said Nevada gaming authorities had been in contact with members of Pinnacle's compliance committee about the matter. Pinnacle operates the Boomtown Casino near Reno, it's only Nevada property.

Neilander said Nevada would only look at the incident if criminal charges were filed.

Meanwhile, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it will cost Pinnacle more than $2.8 million to severe its relationship with Lee.

Lee is entitled to cash payments totaling $2.8 million, payable in installments over a three-year period, according to the filing. Lee is also entitled to receive his 2009 salary through his Nov. 7 resignation date, along with a bonus of $395,000.

Lee also has a year to exercise stock options that became vested on the date of his resignation.