Carlos Gimenez, Getting Cash From Genting and Magic City Casino, Tests His Loyalty

carlosgenting.jpg
Genting Americas President Colin Au and Mayor Carlos Gimenez
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez could soon be at odds with two major casino operators supporting his re-election run in 2012. That's because a pair of state bills that would pave the way for three destination mega-resorts with full-scale casinos benefits one company while freezing out the other firm.

Gimenez publicly supports Malaysian giant Genting's bid to bring a gambling resort downtown -- and he's taken thousands from the firm -- but the latest gambling bill in Tallahassee would help Genting at the expense of Magic City Casino, one of the mayor's long-time supporters.

Within days of beating former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina this past June 26, Gimenez was already twisting arms for campaign funds. Between July 1 and Sept. 30, the mayor raised half-a-million dollars for Common Sense Now, a political action committee Gimenez formed that conducts polls and runs ads on his behalf.

That included $10,000 apiece from Genting New York and West Flagler Associates. Genting New York is an affiliate of the Malaysian casino conglomerate that wants to build a multi-billion dollar resort with 8,400 slot machines and gaming tables on 13-plus acres of waterfront land that includes the existing site of the Miami Herald headquarters.

West Flagler is the holding company for Magic City Casino, the former dog track that currently operates slot machines and card games in the Flagami neighborhood of Miami.

Gimenez's backing of Genting will test his loyalty to the owners of Magic City Casino, Isadore Havenick and his mother Barbara, who two weeks ago co-chaired a fundraiser for Gimenez and who have shown an interest in expanding their gambling operation beyond Flagler Street.

That's because details emerged this week about Reps Erik Fresen and Ellyn Bogdanoff's bills to award exclusive gaming licenses at three South Florida locations. The bidders would have to pay $50 million for the right to compete for the licenses and would be judged on their ability to draw tourists from around the world.

The new casinos would pay 10 percent tax on net revenues -- significantly less than the 35 percent tax rate currently charged to pari-mutuels like Magic City Casino, which already cannot compete with the deep pockets of Genting, the largest casino operator in southeast Asia.

Translation: If this bill passes, Magic City would have a hell of a tough time getting a license and an even tougher time surviving if it doesn't.

What's Carlos going to have to say about it? We'll soon find where his loyalties lie.

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8 comments
scallan
scallan

The Mayor doesn't vote in Tallahassee - and he won't even take a position on this issue. The only thing he cares about is being able to tap into the largest money-laundering operation to ever hit South Florida so he can continue to keep taxes low for the rag-tag group of exiles who complain about taxes on Spanish talk shows.  Don't expect any firm principled leadership on this issue from County Hall.  It's all "show me the money."

FloridaTeaParty
FloridaTeaParty

The Genting Resort is a good project.   The mayor needs to focus on doing what is right versus who donates to his campaign.

seep
seep

Look, this is bullshit.  Corporations should not be allowed to give money to politicians.  Never.

Milz Lizardo
Milz Lizardo

He should take from all those guys!  That way, nobody gets an advantage.  Bleed um dry Carlos!

P_Nis
P_Nis

Frank, what do you think is going to happen to the Casino that's about to open up at Miami Jai Alai? There spending tons of money, I can't imagine anyone going to any of the paramutual casinos when the Genting circus opens up. The "racinos" will end up the way they were before, decrepit havens for deadbeat scumbags.

GuntherZorn
GuntherZorn

Corporations are PEEEEPPUUULLLL. They're PEEEEPPUUULLLL...

WakeUpFools
WakeUpFools

This is the big message of Occupy Wall Street.  The media needs to embrace this instead of fogging over the idea.

GuntherZorn
GuntherZorn

The media is owned by big business. They are no longer allowed to do investigative reporting.

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