From the Daily News:
The Shinnecock Indians and their super-rich partners have spent more than $1 million to lobby state and federal lawmakers to let them build a "world-class" casino on Long Island - possibly at Belmont Park racetrack.
The impoverished Southampton, L.I., tribe doesn't have the money for the project, but their backers and development partners, Gateway Casino Resorts, has plenty to invest.
Gateway's principals are Marion Illitch who, with her husband, owns the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings, and Little Caesar's national pizza chain, and wealthy gambling czar Mike Malik.
Gateway's only stated business purpose is the Shinnecock casino enterprise, and Malik has made significant contributions to politicians who could turn the plan into reality.
The casino needs the approval of the governor, the Legislature and Congress.
The partners have hired Mercury Public Affairs, whose star lobbyist is Rodney Capel, a former top official in the state Democratic Party. Capel has also worked for Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rep. Charles Rangel, and Assemblyman Herman (Denny) Farrell.
Discussions on the project, some as recent as two weeks ago, have been held with Gov. Paterson, major state leaders, Rangel, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Schumer's chief of staff, Martin Brennan, said Capel, whose firm has been paid more than $200,000.
Tribal leader Fred Bess said, "We're looking to build a world-class facility" which would include a full complement of table games like blackjack and poker, plus slot machines, a big hotel and Vegas-style entertainment.
A casino would be a billion-dollar jackpot for the 1,066-member tribe whose desolate reservation is near Southampton's luxurious mansions.