I-892 being funded by foreign corporations

Eye on Money: Developments

Permanent Defense has learned that Initiative 892, Tim Eyman’s more gambling for lower taxes initiative, is being funded largely in part by a foreign corporation.

Information from C-3 reports filed with the PDC list show Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, a company which owns six casinos in British Columbia, as a top donor, with $25,000.00 paid directly from the company to Eyman’s Just Treat Us the Same political committee.

Great Canadian has recently been investing in Washington casinos and gaming businesses. In 2002, the company bought Big Al’s Casino in Everett for $5.8 million dollars.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, “the actual purchaser was Pair O’ Dice Investments LLC, which is 90% owned by Great Canadian’s subsidiary, Great American Gaming Corp.”

Great Canadian already owns a 50% stake in Tukwila’s Grand Central Casino.

The Puget Sound Business Journal also reported in September of 2002 that Great Canadian has “big casino plans in the Puget Sound area” and that it planned to have “four Puget Sound-area casinos operating” by September of 2003.

Great Canadian Gaming Corporation’s long arm reaches not just throughout British Columbia and Washington, but abroad.

The company previously invested in a cruise ship over in the Far East which later was taken over by a Taiwanese man who turned the boat into a haven for prostitutes.

Great Canadian’s partner in the venture, Allegiance Capital of Texas, last year filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging Great Canadian had violated the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

The lawsuit charges Great Canadian and its executive officers committed fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion and conspiracy.

Not only did Great Canadian Gaming, a company with a questionable reputation, contribute $25,000 directly to Eyman’s Just Treat Us the Same, it also contributed another $25,000 in two payments through one of its subsidiaries, Evergreen Entertainment Corporation, bringing the total to $50,000.

Eyman’s campaign committee currently has about $150,000 or more in funds, meaning a third of the initiative is being financed from out of the country.

Permanent Defense Chair Andrew Villeneuve called the revelation “a disgrace. Once again, here’s Tim Eyman, promoting his “grass roots” support, and he’s taking a $50,000 donation from an out of state, foreign corporation which has set its eyes on building casinos up and down the I-5 corridor, and pocketing the profits.”

“It’s an outrage. It’s one double standard after another.”

“Eyman has a consistent history of skirting around the law and skating on thin ice when it comes down to his rhetoric of “grass roots”, let alone reporting campaign finance.”

“Eyman is so desperate to get on the ballot that he’ll take anybody’s donation, including money from a foreign gambling corporation which has a questionable reputation.”

Not only is Great Canadian Gaming funding a majority of the initiative’s budget, but it is also planning to add more casinos in the area.

The end result is that profits from Great Canadian’s casinos will be going towards paying off a state property tax cut, through a tax on electronic slot machines.

But since when are profits guaranteed in a business? If gambling revenue falls, so will the tax revenue.

Chair Andrew Villeneuve likened it to betting in a casino, saying, “We don’t know where this initiative is going. It’s just like placing a bet: we don’t know that gambling revenues will sustain a property tax cut.”

He also called attention to the fact that money from Great Canadian’s casinos would be funding the money displaced from the state property tax, which now funds public education.

“It’s simply ridiculous that gambling revenues are going to be paying for the education of Washington’s one million students. It’s shameful that profits from electronic slot machines will be paying for teachers’ salaries.”

The out of state, foreign funding should come as no surprise, though. Eyman has never been about what he preaches.

Taking money from a corporation which invested in a cruise ship full of prostitutes is typical behavior from a man who lied and stonewalled his fellow citizens about pocketing $50,000 himself and planning to take another $150,000.

For Eyman, just like Great Canadian Gaming, the fun is in the profit.

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