More Dome/Casino stuff…

No great analysis, this time, just a few more snippets of information from various sources in relation to the whole Prescott/Anschutz saga…

First, from the Lords Hansard (26 Nov 2002), we have:

Lord Avebury: My Lords, was not an undertaking given by English Partnerships to provide 3,500 low-cost dwellings as part of the development of the peninsula? Can the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, say whether that is still the case and over what period those dwellings are to be provided?

Lord Rooker: My Lords, I have already stated that a planning application is due to go to the Greenwich local authority before the end of the year. Therefore, I cannot comment in detail on that matter. The application has not yet been submitted or published and I am not privy to it because I am not the planning Minister for the Dome. However, for some time the developers have been taking a road-show around Greenwich for the residents of the area. There are plans for approximately 9,000 to 10,000 homes, 3.5 million square feet of commercial property, a four or five-star hotel, a secondary school, open space and parkland, and 20,000 permanent jobs. Of course, negotiations and discussions will take place as to how many of the homes are affordable in the sense that we understand that term.

All of which confirms that the hotel development, which AEG are now apparently saying will no go ahead without a casino to go with it, was part of the overall plan from the outset, even though there is no mention of the a casino at this stage.

Interestingly, the next line in Hansard is this…

Baroness Hanham: My Lords, in view of the action taken by the Attorney-General of New York state, will the Minister say whether the Government are still satisfied as to the financial standing and probity of Anschutz Entertainment?

Which gets this response…

Lord Rooker: My Lords, English Partnerships deal with Meridian Delta Limited. It will sub-contract the operation of the Dome to Anschutz Entertainment Group. Therefore, the contract is with Meridian Delta. The full amount of due diligence has been

A bit of a dig around in the news archives turns up this story…

New York attorney general sues former WorldCom CEO

New York state attorney general Eliot Spitzer sued former WorldCom chief executive Bernard Ebbers and four top executives of other telecommunications companies on Monday for allegedly making millions of dollars in profits from hot initial public offerings.

Which goes on to state:

In the lawsuit, Spitzer named Ebbers, Qwest Communications chairman Philip Anschutz, former Qwest chief executive officer Joseph P. Nacchio, Metromedia Fiber Networks chairman Stephen Garofalo and former McLeod USA chief Clark McLeod.

And…

Spitzer claims Ebbers made more than 11 million dollars from several dozen IPOs in the late 1990s. Anschutz allegedly made 5 million dollars, McLeod more than 9 million dollars, and Nacchio more than 1 million dollars.

"The executives received huge perks from a vendor who sought their business," he said. "This clearly was unjust enrichment, andit violated the disclosure requirements of state law. Uninformed shareholders, meanwhile, lost millions of dollars when the stocks in the defendants companies crashed."

The detail of the suit filed by Spitzer, for any legal eagles looking in, can be read here (pdf)

As for the outcome of this case, well in 2003 Anschutz cut a deal and settled out of court…

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – The former chairman of Qwest Communications International Inc. is giving up $4.4 million he improperly received through IPOs doled out by Salomon Smith Barney, according to New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

Under the agreement, the former chairman, Phillip F. Anschutz, will give up the money to six law schools and non-profit groups in what Spitzer said is the first time an executive has parted with profits linked to the practice of IPO spinning.

Spinning — which involves allotting IPO shares to investment banking clients — is banned under a $1.4 billion settlement inked late last month between 10 banks and securities regulators trying to curb conflicts of interest on Wall Street.

The deal between Anschutz and Spitzer’s office comes eight months after Spitzer sued Anschutz and four other telecommunications executives, alleging they improperly profited from hot initial public offerings given in return for investment banking business.

What this tells us is that Anschutz has a fair bit of previous form for cutting under the counter deals, which the government were aware of at the time the deal for the Dome was going through – so why are we doing business with him in the first place?

What this may well explain, is why Anschutz are allowed to develop the hotel (and casino, if they get the licence) but not run it themselves, athough this could also just come down to AEG lacking a track record in the casino industry.

Not to worry, however, because Anschutz has cut a deal with a company called Kerzner International to rtun the casino, as we see here…

Millennium Dome, London

In June 2004, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister announced the successful completion of all commercial contracts and planning negotiations among the national regeneration agency, English Partnerships, Peninsula Meridian Delta Ltd., Anschutz Entertainment Group and the Greenwich Council. These arrangements are expected to lead to the regeneration of the Greenwich Peninsula, which will include extensive new commercial facilities as well as homes, schools, nursery and health provision, transportation infrastructure and the development of a world-class entertainment and sports arena within the Dome.

Anschutz Entertainment Group expects to develop a 20,000-seat entertainment andsports arena within the Dome, known as the "Dome Arena." The Dome Arena willalso operate as a fully flexible exhibition space. In addition to the Dome Arena, the Dome project will include entertainment, leisure and retailfacilities. We previously announced in September 2003 an agreement toparticipate in a development of this type. On July 13, 2004, we identified the project as the Dome. Pursuant to our agreement with Anschutz Entertainment Group, we plan to develop and operate an approximately $350.0 million resort casino and hotel.

Thsi information comes from a filing at the US Security and Exchanges Commission from March 2005, although the deal, itself, was reported as having been signed in July 2004, as below…

As reported by: Business Wire: — " Kerzner International Limited (NYSE:KZL) (the "Company"), a leading international developer and operator of destination resorts, casinos and luxury hotel properties, today announced that it has been appointed the preferred developer with respect to the development and management of gaming, hotel and entertainment facilities in two key markets in the United Kingdom.

The proposed sites for the projects are the Scottish Exhibition + Conference Centre (the "SECC") in Glasgow and Sportcity in East Manchester. Over the course of the next several months, the Company will enter into negotiations of binding agreements for both of these projects.

These developments are part of major regional regeneration projects supported by the respective council for each city. Each of these projects was the subject of a competitive bidding process with up to a dozen major U.S. and European gaming companies tendering proposals in each instance.

In addition, the Company announced that it has entered into a binding agreement with affiliates of Anschutz Entertainment Group for the development and operation of a casino and hotel resort facility at the Millennium Dome in London (the "Dome").

These three proposed developments, which are subject to the passage of gaming legislation in the U.K., are all expected to meet the ‘Resort’ or ‘Regional’ Casino’ criteria defined by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Parliamentary Joint Committee which recently reviewed the draft Gambling Bill. The three developments are subject to certain conditions, including the passage of gaming reform legislation and the receipt of applicable regulatory, municipal, regional or other approvals. If all of the necessary conditions are satisfied by 2005, the Company would expect these development projects to be completed during 2007.

The Company expects the total capital commitment for the development projects to be approximately $1 billion.

Notice that Kerzner has two other casino bids in the pipeline, Glasgow and Manchester, both of which made the shortlist for the one super casino licence on offer, as did the Dome. In fact it was almost four of the eight bid on the shortlist as Kerzner, at one point, looked set to take over Wembley – not the new stadium but the company that used to own the stadium and which still deals with dog racing, gambling, etc. – until political problems with the Lincoln Park Race Track in Rhode Island, which is now Wembley’s main asset, made them think better of the deal.

And while we’re on Kerznet, would it surprise you to know that the company just so happens to be incorprated in the Bahamas – corporate America’s number one favourite off-shore tax haven…

Getting back to Anschutz, the Graun, back in 2003, gives a reasonable run through several Anschutz related matters in which, for a billionaire businessman, the man looks positively teflon-coated…

…although one thing the article does do is shit on Prescott’s ‘it was all a done deal and I know nothing’ defence…

The dome disposal is being handled by John Prescott who inherited the process from Lord Falconer. Last night, the deputy prime minister’s spokesman confirmed the 24-month construction programme may not start until the 2005 calendar year. "Subject to planning permission being secured in early 2004, Anschutz and MDL aim to start work on the arena and proposed wider development in 2004-5," said the spokesman. "The build-out programme and opening arrangements are a matter for AEG."

However, it gets even more interesting when we come to the House of Commons Hansard for Feb 15th 2006 (this year, but long before the whole Anschutz business blew up)

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what responsibilities he has had for the millennium dome in each year since his appointment as Deputy Prime Minister. [49713]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Deputy Prime Minister inherited responsibility for the millennium dome in May 2002 when the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was created as a Department in its own right. Prior to that responsibility for the dome rested with the former Department for Transport, local government and the regions.

Now hang on a second here – Prescott’s line has been that the Dome deal was dealt with by Charlie Falconer.

But at the time, Falconer was the Minister for Housing, Planning and Regeneration, a post within the Department for Transport, local government and the regions, and the actual Secretary of State for that department was…

…see if you can guess who?

Yes, you got it – JOHN PRESCOTT.

Falconer may have been the front man on the Dome deal, as well as Tony’s best mate – but Prescott was, at the time the deal was being struck, Falconer’s boss…

What the fuck is this? It wasn’t me it was my underling – the reverse Nuremburg defence ‘I wasn’t giving orders’…

Or are we to be told that during the year that Falconer worked for Prescott, the only thing they ever discussed was William Wilberforce, cowboy films and farming sugar beet!

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