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Politicians’ families profit from the North Carolina Tribal Casino, report finds

Publish Date: 08/02/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

One of the shareholders in a company that profits from one of North Carolina’s new tribal casinos is a politician’s family. This raises concerns about federal regulations and potential conflicts of interest.

Shares were distributed to family members of prominent politicians during the project’s federal approval process, according to a Wall Street Journal report published on Sunday.

The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) is currently investigating the situation. However, the ongoing investigation into the Catawba Two Kings Casino in Cleveland County approval may cause the project’s construction and opening to be delayed.

NIGC, according to reports, is focusing on the Catawba Nation’s proposals for a $273 million casino near Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Catawba have benefited from a close relationship with South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. He introduced legislation to pave the way for the resort, which was co-sponsored by Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

Patti Sollis Doyle, a Democratic political operative, is among those with ties to the investigation. According to the Journal, shares were also received by the husband of former Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Haley’s attorney, Butch Bowers.

NC House Speaker Tim Moore, a Cleveland County attorney, has also represented developers involved in the project, though he has previously recused himself from the General Assembly debate on the Catawba.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that a number of people with political ties now own shares in the Two Kings Casino Resort via subsidiary Kings Mountain Equipment Supply. The firm receives 20% of the casino’s revenues.

For years, the Catawba and Cherokee tribes have been at odds over casino development.

A $273 million, a 17-acre project in Cleveland County is at stake. The Catawba Indian Nation has been working on the resort for seven years. It intends to build gaming tables, 1,300 electronic game machines, and restaurants, which it claims will benefit the tribe and the surrounding area economically.

When completed, the Two Kings Casino intends to create 2,600 permanent jobs and offer approximately 1,800 gaming machines. For over a year, the tribe has run a temporary casino on the site where the permanent casino will be built. Initially, the tribe and Catawba’s gaming partner Delaware North hoped that the permanent casino would be completed in about a year. However, the project has been put on hold.

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