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Connecticut Casino Lawsuits to Proceed

2 April 2004

CONNECTICUT – As reported by the Hartford Connecticut: "Lawsuits that threaten to expose the cozy relationship between wealthy casino investors and Indian tribes seeking federal recognition will go forward in state court, a judge has ruled.

"The decision comes as Congress has begun to investigate whether outside investors intent on building casinos are inappropriately influencing the federal recognition of Indian tribes.

"The cases involve high-flying casino developer and reality television star Donald Trump and another investor, J.D. DeMatteo of Burlington, who contend that 'a small coterie' of competing investors 'hijacked' the Eastern Pequots with payoffs and other unlawful activities. In his suit, Trump says that Southport golf course developer David Rosow and Palm Beach millionaire industrialist William A. Koch coerced some Eastern Pequot leaders to dump him as the tribe's developer.

"Both Trump and DeMatteo say they have a binding contract with the tribe assuring them a role in the tribe's economic development activities, including a casino.

"…The ruling 'is a victory for us. We are very pleased,' said Robert Reardon, an attorney for Trump. 'I spoke with Mr. Trump yesterday and he is totally committed to this lawsuit. He lived up to his obligations under that contract.'

"…The millionaires are tussling over the right to serve as the casino developer for the Eastern Pequots, a North Stonington tribe that won federal recognition from the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs in 2002…"

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