UPDATE: Florida Mega-Casino Ballot Initiative Likely to Reach Voters

Casino Watch Focus reported that those behind the push for mega-resort casinos in Florida faced defeat in the Florida Legislature.  As a result, they have proposed the idea of gathering signatures and placing the issue on the ballot in 2014. The Genting group formed “New Jobs and Revenues for Florida.”  Despite claims that the group’s intentions are benign and simply investigating job creation, new evidence reported by Naples News Online, paints a very different picture:

Created in April, “New Jobs and Revenues for Florida” has already spent nearly $600,000 toward what appears to be an effort to put an initiative before voters, according to campaign finance records filed with state election officials that were made public Friday.

A list of expenditures filed with state election officials gives a relatively clear picture. Most notably, National Voter Outreach, a Nevada-based petition gatherer, was paid $50,000.

“National Voter Outreach is a political consulting firm specializing in organizing signature drives to qualify issues and candidates for the ballot,” the company says on its website.

Another $150,000 has been paid to Fort Lauderdale Attorney Bruce Rogow for consulting and legal services. Rogow, a high profile appellate lawyer, has argued a number of cases before the state Supreme Court, which would have to approve any ballot language. 

A closer look at additional connections further reveals that the Genting Group is investing heavily in a ballot initiative to attempt to divert the Florida Legislature.  The Naples News continues:

The group’s major initial expenditures also include $350,000 to Fabrizio, McLaughlin and Associates, an Alexandria, Va.- based media and campaign consulting group with strong ties to Republicans including Gov. Rick Scott.

“There are some obvious experts that are listed there,” said Brian Hughes, a spokesman for the group. “The key now is for the committee to determine which path forward makes sense.”

The group is backed almost exclusively by companies affiliated with mega-resort developer, Malaysian-based Genting Group. Together the Bayfront 2011 Development and Resorts Word have anted up $605,500.

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