Column: Wall Street firms fund anti-North Fork casino efforts

Wall Street firms are funding a campaign to block an off-reservation casino for the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians:
It’s called Keep Vegas-style Casinos Out of Neighborhoods, and it’s fronted by Cheryl Schmit, an anti-gambling activist who operates a one-woman nonprofit, Stand Up for California, from her home-office in rural Penryn.

Schmit seeks to gather 504,000 signatures of registered voters to place the referendum on the 2014 ballot so she can overturn a compact authorizing the North Fork band of Mono Indians to open what would be a lucrative casino in Madera.

It appears to be the sort of underdog undertaking that would warm Hiram Johnson’s heart, except it’s not. Wall Street, hardly a bastion of direct democracy, is financing the campaign, along with a rich tribe that owns a nearby casino and could lose market share if the North Fork band opens a casino.

Brigade Capital Management, a secretive investment house, dumped $261,100 into the campaign to qualify the referendum earlier this month. Two other New York investment firms chipped in $89,000. Table Mountain casino, a 30-minute drive from Madera, gave $350,000, the start of a campaign that will cost millions.

Get the Story:
Dan Morain: Wall Street firms spend to block competing casino (The Sacramento Bee 8/28)

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Table Mountain Rancheria donates to anti-gaming committee (08/12)

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