Folks, I knew from the first time I saw the picture of former County Commissioner Eddie Holbrook, former County Manager David Deer, Bill Harris, the Catawba Indian Chief and the gambling guru all together at the proposed Catawba Indian casino site, that something sneaky, and likely corrupt an illegal, was going on. That was probably five years ago now. But the sneaky and corrupt folks involved are still on the job of pulling the wool over the eyes of Cleveland County citizens, voters and taxpayers. I suppose we deserve what we get since we, no-YOU, didn’t, in the meantime, make all the changes that were necessary to bring this casino issue to the light of day.
First, all the lies. 4,000 jobs and big tax revenues off the development. However, once the Catawbas get permission to bring their casino property into their “satellite Reservation,” it become a separate and independent “Indian Nation” and Cleveland County cannot tax them.
Second, remember that sneaky sales tax increase referendum the Commissioners put on us at the last election? An off-year election with an extremely low turnout. And the referendum was overwhelmingly defeated!! Did you ever wonder why the commissioners never put support for the casino on a referendum so citizens could have their say about the casino? For or Against. They have had years to do that, but have not done so.
Nope! That never happened. The commissioners never cared what the citizens of Cleveland County thought about the casino. Did you ever wonder why?
Well. No matter what you might wonder about the casino or anything else, the nitwit and sneaky commissioners are going to do what they please. As they always have. And they just did!! At the January 21, 2020 Commissioner’s meeting.
On the Commissioner’s meeting agenda for most every meeting, there is this thing called a “Consent Agenda.” It is supposed to be for simple and very minor items that are self-explanatory. Usually ALL of the items on the Consent Agenda are approved by one single vote with no discussion whatsoever. But more and more the commissioners have the County Manager Brian Epley sneak things into the Consent Agenda that are controversial of pretty “big” to the point these commissioners want to do some covering-up. No discussion and a quick vote before anybody catches on. This time they were “super sneaky.” They listed this Catawba casino issue as last on the Consent Agenda. And titled it “IGA.” Only people like me would ever wonder enough to check out something unusual like “IGA.” I didn’t have a clue what IGA was, but I found out. And what a surprise. You will be surprised too when you read the rest of this article.
IGA stands for “Inter Government Agreement.” Read on for a big surprise. Maybe “shock” would be a better word to describe what the Commissioners have just done to Cleveland County and Why???
At the end of this article, you will find two things:
1. An IGA Staff Report. A simple and one-page document drawn up by the Commissioner’s “Staff” Attorney Elliot Engstrom. If you wonder where the County Attorney Tim Moore is on this? You should know that Tim was the Attorney for the Catawba Indians when this Casino stuff first got started and maybe still is. That is another story that perhaps Tim Moore will speak to in his re-election campaign in this 2020 Election.
2. A 39-page County Commissioner RESOLUTION and Agreement the Commissioners entered into with the Catawba Indians. This document says the County will support the Catawba Indian Casino in Cleveland County in EXCHANGE for the Casino paying the county various fees and payments ranging from $150,000 down to $20,000 to treat gambling addiction at the CC Health Department. A clear and real “quid quo pro.” Such an agreement and all the payments make it easy for “bribe money” to be easily hidden from public view and law enforcement prosecution. Kinda like the $1,000,000 check Carolina Medical Services gave former Commissioner Eddie Holbrook (ALWS) for selling the Hospital so cheap.
In particular, go to page 13 of the Commissioners Resolution and Contract Agreement noted above. You will see that several things are supposedly prohibited at the Casino. Those are minors under 21 will NOT be allowed to gamble and minors under 21 will only be allowed to pass through gambling areas on their way to “Entertainment” areas of the Casino complex.
What you won’t see is one word that prohibits PROSTITUTION and sex trafficking from the Casino premises. Things that seem to follow the gambling industry in Las Vegas and other places around the world.
Also, what you WILL see is the contract says the Catawba Casino is to pay the County 6% of the proceeds from gambling, entertainment and certain other things.
So, folks. Does this mean that the Commissioners have now made themselves, as well as all the citizens of Cleveland County, partnered with the Catawba Casino, with gambling, prostitution and sex trafficking???? Whether YOU, and me. like it or NOT!!!
My conclusion to all of this sneaky commissioner stuff is that the statistical chance of prostitution and sex trafficking is just about as high as the chance that gambling will be going on. Along with corruption of all sorts and kinds. Close to 100% chance I would conclude. But don’t believe me. NOT ONE WORD!!! Read the attached documents for yourself and come to your own conclusion.
And, when you do, remember that this is an election year and every commissioner involved with this needs to be thrown out of office in the Republican Election for Commissioners in March or the General Election in November. If we don’t do that; we are part of the problem and not a part of the solution. Stay tuned for further recommendations that are now in the making.Catawba_Staff_Report