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Illitch Gambling Ties Garner Attention

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It seems the Illitches used the Owners box at The All-Star game to raise money for a Senator in California who can help pave the way for another casino deal for Mrs. Illitch in New York.

http://www.detnews.com/2005/editorial/0507/24/A15-256936.htmSunday, July 24, 2005

Ilitches' casino ties merit a closer look from baseball

By Nolan Finley / Special to The Detroit News

Nolan Finley

There's no gambling in baseball. That's the official line, anyway.

More than any other sport, Major League Baseball has meticulously distanced itself from gambling since the 1919 World Series game-fixing scandal nearly destroyed fan confidence in the national pastime.

Even elite players such as Willie Mays and Pete Rose have paid the price for mixing with bookies and dice-tossers.

But the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson haunted Comerica Park during the recent All-Star Game, and if the league doesn't look a little closer at the ties between gambling and baseball in Detroit, it may end up owing a posthumous apology to the Chicago Black Sox.

Baseball accepts that the twain hasn't met since Marian Ilitch bought a piece of MotorCity Casino, leaving her spouse and business partner Mike Ilitch as sole owner of the Detroit Tigers.

Her casino stake is now 100 percent, with revenue of a half-billion dollars a year -- or a third of the Ilitch empire, which includes the Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment, the Little Caesar's pizza chain.

Marian Ilitch's assurances that she has no interest in the game satisfies Major League Baseball, which, under its no-gambling rule, could force the Ilitches to either relinquish the Tigers or forget about the lucrative casino investment.

But if baseball is really serious about it's zero-tolerance policy, it ought to examine what was happening in the owner's box at Comerica Park during the All-Star Game there.

That's where Chris Ilitch, Mike and Marian's son, was joining Mike Malik in hosting a $5,000-a-head fund-raiser for U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo of California -- a fund-raiser an Ilitch spokesman says did not involve the Tigers.

Chris Ilitch runs the family business. Malik is Marian Ilitch's partner in Gateway Funding Associates, a firm that is financing the rather clever attempt by the Shinnecock tribe to wrest a casino license from the state of New York. The tribe says it will drop its claims to some of the richest real estate on Long Island if it gets the casino.

Maybe Gateway is concerned about the plight of Native Americans and is acting out of altruism. Or maybe it expects the Shinnecock will be so grateful for the help that they'll cut it in on the casino action.

Either theory leads to Pombo and answers the question of why two Detroiters would raise funds for a California congressman.

Pombo, a Republican, chairs the House Resources Committee, which has oversight over Native American affairs, including Indian gaming.

So Pombo could be very useful to someone who wants to make sure Indians get their due, or to someone who wants to profit from Indian casinos.

Who really knows for sure which camp Chris Ilitch and Mike Malik fall into?

But it would seem an organization like Major League Baseball, which has been so vigilant in policing the gambling interests of its players, would want to find out.

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The Ilitch's are businesspeople. It's wrong for any MLB to even have rules that might infringe on their right to make a buck. But it doesn't matter though, because Mike and Marion are not partners in the ownership of the Tigers, their just married. :dead:

Since the Game will probably be rained out, anyone want to go play the slots at MotorCity? :confused:

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This is a political fund raiser, plain and simple. They have those at Sec Taylor Stadium (That is where the Iowa Cubs play) all the time out here. I really don't think it should be of any concern what committees a politician sits on or what ideas he/she endoreses.

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Prohibiting the gambling ties is proper, and Marian Ilitch's stake in that casino stinks - but . . . just because that guy is on a committee that deals with casinos doesn't mean Ilitch can't have a fundraiser for him, even if his reason for wanting to do so is fairly obvious.

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It doesn't matter either way. Even if mr. & mrs. ilitch are innocent (doubtful) MLB wont do anything. mile ilitch will continue to ruin this once proud franchise (especially now that hockey is back).

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Originally posted by tiger_fan_for_life

It doesn't matter either way. Even if mr. & mrs. ilitch are innocent (doubtful) MLB wont do anything. mile ilitch will continue to ruin this once proud franchise (especially now that hockey is back).

DAMNIT TFFL, how many times does it have to be explained that Hockey has NOTHING to do with Baseball in the Illitch Empire. That is like saying the Motor City Casino has an impact on Little Ceasers. Its stupid and you are better than that.

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Originally posted by tiger_fan_for_life

It doesn't matter either way. Even if mr. & mrs. ilitch are innocent (doubtful) MLB wont do anything. mile ilitch will continue to ruin this once proud franchise (especially now that hockey is back).

yes because that's good business.

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Originally posted by Tigercub33

DAMNIT TFFL, how many times does it have to be explained that Hockey has NOTHING to do with Baseball in the Illitch Empire.

Right.

He treats one like a God, and the other like a red headed unwanted step-child.

And besides, mike ilitch is a punk (in my very own personal opinion) and I can't wait to see him disappear from Tiger Town.

:confused::dead::alien:

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Originally posted by WMUDan

The Ilitch's are businesspeople. It's wrong for any MLB to even have rules that might infringe on their right to make a buck. But it doesn't matter though, because Mike and Marion are not partners in the ownership of the Tigers, their just married. :dead:

:confused:

Gotta disagree. One or both of the Illitch's certainly knew of MLB's restriction on gambling interests mixing with the game in even a roundabout way. And saying that their business interests are totally seperate is a tad hard to swallow and even harder to believe, given that they're married.

Ignorance of the rules is no excuse. You have your choice Mr. I, gambling or baseball? Which is it? You can't have both, period.

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The gambling prohibition is past its heyday. With the proliferation of gambling in this country, it just isn't that big of a deal. Owners should be free to invest in any legal ventures that make money. Now if the game was some how compromised by an unscrupulous act by an owner, than the league should step in, but otherwise I think everyone should be free to make as much money as they can.

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Letting your guard down is when problems occur. Why mess with a restriction that has been nothing less than successful? Why create a potential problem?

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Originally posted by tiger_fan_for_life

Yeah Yeah Yeah---two seperate teams. Two seperate GM's. Two seperate ideologies. But the question remains:

Will he allow DD to do whatever it takes to get and secure a winner? Not while the dead wings are playing, he won't.

And you know this as fact huh?

Illitch will spend less money on the Wings than he has in MANY years due to the salary cap. So that is a non-issue. You admitted as much yourself yet you still use the same stupid worn out arguement.

Illitch just pays the bills, he has everyone else runs stuff. He has VERY little to do with day to day stuff. I am sure he can read a newspaper and Pudge, Percival and Magglio all said he was a key reason they came here. That has to make him feel good and he will continue to spend because he knows it can get results with THIS GM.

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As long as Marian wasn't in the suite -- then there's no infraction. Also... there is no law that forbids this senator from purchasing his own suite at Comerica Park. Heck, the way Las Vegas is growing, it won't be long before they have a professional franchise ... even (4) - representing each of the four major sports - outside of golf, soccer & auto racing.

Gambling is becoming more & more acceptable to the public. Since Detroit can have three major casinos & a pro team in the same city, then why can't Las Vegas?

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MLB certainly has a right to determine who owns it's franchises and what other business they are in. They see gambling and casinos as ancilliary threats to the integrity of their game. Whether they are right or wrong in that assessment is irrelevant. You do not have a right to own a MLB team.

I believe there are provisions for MLB to take teams back.

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Originally posted by tiger_fan_for_life

Right, I know that. Money from baseball goes back into baseball. the same with his "other" team.

All I am saying (and have been for 13 years) mr. "i" cant handle both. he needs to give one up (and I hope it's the Tigers). With hockey back into the scene, he'll spend all his time and energy with the dead wings---not caring what happens to The Tigers.

Yeah Yeah Yeah---two seperate teams. Two seperate GM's. Two seperate ideologies. But the question remains:

Will he allow DD to do whatever it takes to get and secure a winner? Not while the dead wings are playing, he won't.

And besides, mike ilitch is a punk (in my very own personal opinion) and I can't wait to see him disappear from Tiger Town.

:confused::dead::alien:

Yes that would be good business. He's made his empire on such sound decisions in the past like that.

Do you realize that Mike Ilitch could go on vacation for 10 years and the activities and goings on will not really change much? He doesn't really do anything anymore.

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Originally posted by tiger_fan_for_life

With hockey back into the scene, he'll spend all his time and energy with the dead wings---not caring what happens to The Tigers.

Bull pucky. The only thing he's going to be worried for during the next couple of hockey seasons is cutting payroll, and he will be on a set payroll from now on, thanks to the salary cap (which, BTW, I oppose).

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Originally posted by Oblong

Yes that would be good business. He's made his empire on such sound decisions in the past like that.

Do you realize that Mike Ilitch could go on vacation for 10 years and the activities and goings on will not really change much? He doesn't really do anything anymore.

no, he doesn't realize this, or won't acknowledge it, thats why he (and others) keep bringing up what is possibly the stupidest arguement on Motownsports.com (next to manboobs of course).

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Originally posted by Oblong

Yes that would be good business. He's made his empire on such sound decisions in the past like that.

Do you realize that Mike Ilitch could go on vacation for 10 years and the activities and goings on will not really change much? He doesn't really do anything anymore.

Oh bullcrap! Mikey just wants to make sure that the Tigers suck cuz he's evil and hates Tiger fans. I bet he's a Cleveland fan.

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Illitch is committed to winning. Unfortunately he backed the wrong GM in trying to do so. His failings as a Tigers owner lie in the fact that he stuck with Smith far too long.

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Originally posted by tiger_fan_for_life

The only I realize is that mike ilitch is the worst owner in Tiger history.

Tom Monaghan deserves that title...

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what is your criteria? Is it record? that is a poor one.

Monoghan was probably the worst. He deliberately neglected the Tigers for his other pursuits. He took money for them and purchased material goods like yachts and things. That is documented. Mike Ilitch made poor baseball decisions but his failings were not because of lack of effort or neglect. There's a huge difference.

But if you wish to give Tommy credit for the work of John Fetzer and Jim Campbell, go right ahead and best of luck in your future position as human resource manager somewhere. I'm sure you will do fine.

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Originally posted by Oblong

But if you wish to give Tommy credit for the work of John Fetzer and Jim Campbell.

Now why would I do something as dumb as that?

I love how you twist words to fit your current mood.

:confused::dead::alien:

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Originally posted by Oblong

what is your criteria? Is it record? that is a poor one.

Monoghan was probably the worst. He deliberately neglected the Tigers for his other pursuits. He took money for them and purchased material goods like yachts and things. That is documented.

Don't forget the Duesenbergs. "Domino's Deuses". That guy was a piece of crap owner.

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Monaghan was not a good owner. He admits buying the Tigers was an ego trip, he wasn't really interested in running the team and as soon as he came to realize that he was smart enough to sell.

Unfortunately, Mr. Illitch is not so humble to realize he has been just as bad. Tiger Fans have been made to suffer for the sake of his ego, until he had the good fortune to come across Dave Dombrowski. If any credit can be handed out for the positive steps we have taken it belongs fully to DD with a side note that Mr. Illitchs enormous ego finally worked in Tiger Fans favor when he hit rock bottom and became the laughing stock of the Major Leagues by holding the simultanous titles as Best Hockey Club owner and Worst Baseball Club owner. Men with egos that large and pockets deep enough to do something about it, do not take humiliation lightly. His eyes were finally opened past his Fox Theatre District empire of $20.00 parking lots, the cash cow that is the concessions and his decaying, yet appreciating, real estate holdings. Thus bringing about the newly dedicated, newly interested, "I will spend until I win" Mr Illitch.

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