June 18, 2024 2 min read


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North Carolina Casino Project Implicated in Corruption Scandal

A new lawsuit alleges Tarheel State legislators accepted significant donations from pro-casino lobbyists and acted against public will to aid gambling stakeholders

A burgeoning corruption scandal in North Carolina has surfaced, linking campaign donations and casino developments to high-ranking state lawmakers and local officials. Former Rockingham County Commissioner Craig Travis filed a lawsuit alleging an intricate web of corruption, political manipulation, and campaign finance violations aimed at securing a casino in Stokesdale.

Interested Parties Engaged in Intense Lobbying

Craig Travis’s lawsuit accuses several high-ranking North Carolina officials and three political organizations of defamation and misconduct. Travis claims that false statements were made to undermine his election campaign due to his opposition to pro-casino measures supported by the incumbent commissioners. If true, the allegations could significantly hinder any future casino projects in the state.

The lawsuit outlines a detailed timeline beginning in August 2021 with the formation of NC Development Holdings, LLC, a Delaware-based company led by Joseph Weinberg, CEO of Cordish Gaming Group. The allegations suggest a coordinated effort involving significant campaign contributions to influential North Carolina legislators, using tax-exempt political organizations to circumvent donation limits.

According to Travis, between November 2022 and January 2023, Cordish executives allegedly made maximum contributions of $5,600 each to key lawmakers. The lawsuit claims that these contributions influenced legislative actions, such as the commissioning of a report by Spectrum Gaming Group to support the legalization of casinos in specific North Carolina counties, including Rockingham.

Casino Opponents Allegedly Faced Retaliation

Despite public opposition and concerns raised during county meetings, authorities overturned the Rockingham County Planning Board’s initial denial of Cordish’s rezoning request. The lawsuit details how commissioners undermined the opposition, including removing dissenting members from the planning board in retaliation for their votes against the casino.

Travis is suing for over $100,000 in damages, asserting that the false attacks and defamation cost him his election and tarnished his reputation. The lawsuit claims that the actions taken by the defendants were motivated by their vested interests in securing the casino deal and retaliating against Travis for exposing their alleged misconduct.

These false statements were made with actual malice and intended to harm Mr. Travis’s reputation in Rockingham County.

Lawsuit excerpt

As this scandal unfolds, it raises significant concerns about the influence of money in politics and the integrity of North Carolina public officials. The alleged involvement of dark money and political attack ads in Travis’ campaign defeat highlights the need for proper transparency and accountability, especially regarding the often controversial casino sector.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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