2014-10-30 / Community Blog

Unanswered Questions

Unanswered Questions

To the Editor:

At the end of a vigorous campaign and much public debate about the expansion of casino gambling at Newport Grand, we only know a few facts: Mr. Paolino and his real estate development partners say they intend to spend $40 million to renovate Newport Grand, and over $1 million in his political campaign. They propose to make Newport Grand an “entertainment center with casino gambling,” presumably because casino gambling is a dying industry and needs life support. In Atlantic City, four casinos have closed. Nearby Foxwoods has laid off numerous employees.

What we don’t know is alarming: We don’t know who will fund this extraordinary expensive project. We don’t know what will happen if the cost of this project exceeds $40 million or if the funds for it suddenly dry up. We don’t know if it will ever be completed. Because Mr. Paolino and his partners are real estate developers, not casino operators, we don’t know the ethics, business practices or even the identity of the person or corporation who will operate it or buy it. They won’t even tell us the sale price for the Newport Grand property. A major project of this kind needs transparency. Sadly, it’s lacking here.

So far, Newport voters have been deprived of their constitutional right to have casino referendum as a separate item on the Newport ballot. What other rights will we lose if Newport Grand has table games?

At the end of this campaign there are still too many major unknowns. Mr. Paolino has not made his case for an industry that is wrong for Newport. Instead, he has made many unenforceable promises. He has not convinced me and I am not buying his promises.

For the love of Newport I am voting NO on Question 1.

B. Mitchell “Tony” Simpson 

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