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Argosy Fights $250,000 Fine

4 October 2002

MISSISSIPPI – As reported by the Kansas City Star: "Argosy Gaming Co. will fight a $250,000 fine by the Missouri Gaming Commission over a failed Wisconsin tribal casino deal that exposed what Missouri regulators called Argosy's `unsavory' business associations.

"Illinois-based Argosy, which operates Argosy Riverside Casino, paid a combined $125,000 in fines last year to Illinois and Indian gaming authorities related to the same deal.

"…In its long list of allegations, however, the commission did not name names, and a spokesman Wednesday said details of the state's investigative findings may never be made public.

"`We are being fined and we don't know what for,' Argosy senior vice president Virginia McDowell said Wednesday.

"…In its appeal, Argosy said state regulations regarding appropriate casino business relationships are `unconstitutionally vague' and may also violate the company's rights to free speech and association.

"Issues stem from Argosy's contract with Chicago-based Nii-Jii Entertainment, which collapsed last year amid the controversy. Nii-Jii was working for the Menominee tribe to win approval for a tribal-owned casino in Kenosha, Wis., that Nii-Jii and Argosy were to co-manage.

"According to news reports in Milwaukee at the time, Nii-Jii was founded by a former congressman from Illinois, Morgan Murphy Jr., who had ties to a Chicago labor leader with alleged mob connections.

"…McDowell said Argosy had about $1.9 million of a promised $40 million in financing tied up in the project. Argosy's role triggered investigations by casino regulators in five states where Argosy operates…"

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