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 May 15, 2005
Developing Story
Lincoln Park officials charged with scheme to make payments to law firm, block Narragansett Indian Casino
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Eyewitness News has learned that Lincoln Park and corporate officials are charged with a scheme to make illegal payments to a local law firm.

We're told the Illicit payments were allegedly proposed to facilitate approval of additional slot machines and to block legislation for a Narragansett Indian casino

A federal grand jury in Rhode Island has charged the company that operates Lincoln Park dog track, the company's CEO, and the CEO of its parent corporation with engaging in a scheme to make illegal payments to a law firm to facilitate approval for additional slot machines at Lincoln Park. Another objective of the alleged scheme was to prevent approval of a Narragansett Indian casino.

The Office of the United States Attorney, Kenneth W. Kaiser, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Colonel Steven M. Pare, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, jointly announced a 22-count indictment, which was returned today in U.S. District Court, Providence.

Charged in the indictment are Nigel Potter, the Chief Executive Officer of Wembley, PLC, the parent corporation of Lincoln Park; Burrillville Racing Association, the former name of the entity that owns Lincoln Park; and Daniel Bucci, at one time Lincoln Park's General Manager and now the CEO of Lincoln Park, Inc. A summons will be issued for the defendants to appear in U.S. District Court for arraignment.

The defendants allegedly proposed to pay McKinnon and Harwood, a Pawtucket law firm, a multi-year, multi-million dollar payment intended as a bribe but disguised as legitimate payment for legal services. The indictment does not charge the firm, or its principal partners, Daniel F. McKinnon and John B. Harwood, former speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, with any criminal offenses. It names the firm, however, as the intended recipient of the payments.

 According to the indictment, the defendants wanted Harwood and other public officials to use their influence to obtain approval from the Rhode Island Lottery Commission for additional Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) at Lincoln Park. The Lottery Commission has nine members, six of whom are appointed by legislative leaders. The defendants also allegedly wanted to forestall state legislation facilitating a Narragansett Indian casino.  Watch for live coverage of this major story tonight on Eyewitness News.

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