DeNaples no longer tied to northeastern Pa. casino
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The state gambling control board approved changes Wednesday to the ownership of Mount Airy Casino Resort, cutting ties between northeastern Pennsylvania businessman Louis DeNaples and the business he lost control of when he was charged with perjury.
The casino had requested that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board allow DeNaples to withdraw his gambling license and split ownership of the resort among his seven children. The board previously voted to allow daughter Lisa DeNaples to take over the resort as manager of a trust that would eventually expand to include the rest of the family. That expansion, approved Wednesday, put the casino in a better financial position, according to board officials.
"Family is first and foremost to my father and his vision for Mount Airy Casino Resort has always been to establish a business his children and grandchildren could own and operate together," Lisa DeNaples said in a statement after the vote. "From the very beginning, he has envisioned Mount Airy as a legacy for generations to come and today's events are the natural next steps in that plan. This has always been my father's intention not only for his family, but for our 1,300 employees and the communities we serve."
Louis DeNaples was charged with perjury in 2009 for allegedly lying to casino regulators about his relationship with reputed mob boss William D'Elia.
D'Elia pleaded guilty in 2008 to witness tampering and conspiracy to launder drug money. He later got nearly two years knocked off his federal prison sentence after the government said he provided "substantial assistance" in the investigations of DeNaples and another businessman.
The charges against Louis DeNaples were later dropped with the condition he relinquish control of the casino. A telephone message left for him Wednesday was not immediately returned.
The gambling board approved the corporate restructuring of the casino, in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, at their meeting in Harrisburg.
Casino regulators wanted DeNaples to keep his license while he was the guarantor of the casino's loans. But an agreement with J.P. Morgan Chase to reduce that debt from $271 million to $165 million means DeNaples is no longer the guarantor.
Under the motions approved Wednesday, Louis DeNaples' principal license will be allowed to expire and his renewal application will be withdrawn. Gambling board officials said the changes were important to the viability of the casino, which opened in October 2007.
Cyrus Pitre, the board's chief enforcement lawyer, said the changes put the casino in a better financial situation. Without them, he acknowledged, the viability of the license could have been at issue.
"I'm confident that it does put Mount Airy in a much better financial situation," Pitre said of the changes.