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Bird, Trump Compete for Indiana Contract

9 July 2004

FRENCH LICK, Indiana – As reported by the Associated Press: "Larry Bird, the beloved "Hick from French Lick," has competition these days on his home court, and it's coming from The Donald.

"Former NBA star Bird and billionaire Donald Trump are principals in investment groups vying for the state contract to build a casino near this struggling southern Indiana community.

"…For some in and around this community of 1,900 people about 60 miles northwest of Louisville, Ky., Bird is the sentimental favorite.

"…Others say Trump, who already owns casinos in Atlantic City, N.J., Gary, Ind., has the flash needed to put Orange County on the gambling map.

"The proposals from the Bird and Trump groups and a third applicant, Lost River Development, promise to bring thousands of jobs to the area. Orange County, population 19,000, had an unemployment rate of 9.3 percent in May.

"…Bird has said any money he makes in his partnership, Orange County Development, will go to a foundation he expects will generate more than $10 million for Orange County in its first 10 years. He also has proposed building a museum featuring his basketball memorabilia as part of the casino.

"…Trump's proposal includes a deli, a buffet and an entertainment lounge, and many believe he would spend the money to restore the historic West Baden Springs Hotel, known for its glass-and-steel domed atrium 100 feet high. At least $75 million is needed to complete its restoration.

"Trump has the added draw of Indiana golfer Fuzzy Zoeller, who announced in April that he would join Trump in the venture…"

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