An govt from Seminole Hard Rock casino reportedly despatched a brazen “pay to play” e-mail solicitation urging associates to place their chips behind Kathy Hochul’s marketing campaign to be elected governor — because the agency makes an aggressive push to win a license to function a playing parlor in New York Metropolis.
“Group, as we put together for the ultimate stretch of our course of for the third New York Metropolis on line casino license, Seminole Arduous Rock ask that you simply think about the hooked up reception occasion and donation. … Hoping we will rely in your assist for Governor Kathy Hochul and Glad Father’s Day!” stated the current e-mail from the Arduous Rock honcho, in keeping with the gaming weblog playny.com.
Explicitly asking for donations in change for a specific authorities motion may very well be construed as a quid professional quo, or bribery in legislation enforcement parlance, if consummated.
“They’re throwing some huge cash round and clearly attempting to get Hochul’s consideration,” a on line casino trade supply stated of Arduous Rock.
One authorities watchdog group stated the blatant e-mail attributed to a rep from the on line casino operator exhibits that “New York authorities is on the market.”
“The notion is Gov. Hochul put out an indication that that claims, `New York is on the market,’” stated John Kaehny, govt director of Reinvent Albany. “It’s pay to play. That’s the best way donors view it and the Hochul marketing campaign is cashing in on that notion.
“The e-mail reads like a quid professional quo. They’re anticipating to get one thing in return for his or her contributions,” added Kaehny.
Arduous Rock, in a press release to The Publish Tuesday, stated it has launched an investigation into what it claims was an unauthorized e-mail whereas acknowledging it hosted a giant fundraising bash for Hochul on June 20 at its new hotel in Occasions Sq..
“Arduous Rock hosted a fundraising occasion for Gov. Hochul on June twentieth on the new Arduous Rock Lodge in New York Metropolis. Individuals had been invited to that occasion by way of invitation that was permitted by our compliance attorneys and despatched by the President of Arduous Rock Help Providers with no reference to a on line casino or on line casino licensing course of in New York,” the corporate stated.
“With regard to the alleged different e-mail, Arduous Rock Worldwide takes these allegations very severely and instantly initiated an inside investigation to find out whether or not anybody in our group violated firm insurance policies associated to political contributions.”
Donors related to Arduous Rock have given Hochul greater than $100,000 in donations this election cycle, in keeping with a NY Occasions current analysis of Hochul’s $34 million in marketing campaign donations
Seminole Arduous Rock chairman Jim Allen gave $25,000 to Hochul on June 20 — the day of the fundraiser and the date listed within the e-mail.
Different donors had been requested to kick in $25,000 to be a co-chairs for the Hochul marketing campaign occasion.
Seminole Arduous Rock is claimed to be a contender for a possible partnership with New York Mets proprietor Steve Cohen for a on line casino challenge subsequent to Citi Area in Willets Level.
Lobbying data additionally present that Seminole Arduous Rock is searching for assist from Mayor Eric Adams.
The agency’s reps just lately met with Frank Carone, the mayor’s chief of workers, lobbying data present.
Cohen, the Mets proprietor and hedge fund mogul, donated $1.5 million final yr to an excellent PAC that backed Adams’s profitable marketing campaign for Metropolis Corridor.
The state later this yr will open a aggressive bidding course of to award licenses for as much as three casinos within the downstate area that may very well be sited within the the Massive Apple and /or the encompassing suburbs.
Two existing slots parlors, Genting’s Resorts World at Aqueduct race observe and MGM’s Empire Metropolis at Yonkers Raceway, are also vying for a license to supply desk video games.
The state is anticipated to obtain $500 million from on line casino operators per license.
The Hochul marketing campaign declined remark.