CHICAGO – One week after calling for a full and open review of concerns surrounding the location of Illinois’ 10th casino license, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced his appointment of former Deputy U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., as Special Investigator to the Illinois Gaming Board.
The Governor’s action came in response to a flood of questions and criticisms that followed the Gaming Board’s selection of the Isle of Capri Corporation – which intends to build a casino in the Village of Rosemont – as the winning bidder in the auction for the state’s last casino license.
“Last Wednesday, I called on the Gaming Board to conduct a full, open, and public review of all the facts surrounding the issue of gaming in the Village of Rosemont. I also said that I would name a special investigator to work with the Gaming Board to help oversee that review and ensure the integrity of the review process,” said the Governor. “For that reason, it is essential to find an outsider – someone with no connections with the parties involved, or with any of the proceedings that have taken place. We wanted someone with no horse in the race. We wanted someone whose legal knowledge, reputation for integrity, and independence are indisputable. So today, I am announcing the appointment of Eric Holder as the special investigator to work with the Gaming Board to conduct this review.”
Holder has an impressive record spanning nearly three decades as a public prosecutor and federal investigator. After earning his law degree from Columbia Law School in New York City, Holder moved to the nation’s capital, joined the U.S. Attorney General’s Honors Program, and was assigned to the Public Integrity Section where he investigated and prosecuted official corruption at the local, state, and federal levels, including corruption related to organized crime.
In 1997, President Clinton appointed him as the first African American to serve as Deputy Attorney General, the number two position in the U.S. Department of Justice. He served as Acting Attorney General briefly under President George W. Bush while John Ashcroft was awaiting confirmation. Prior to joining the Justice Department, Holder served for four years as the U.S. States Attorney for the District of Columbia, the largest U.S. States Attorneys office in the nation. From 1988 to 1993, he was Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, appointed by President Reagan.
Holder is now a litigation partner with the D.C law firm Covington & Burling, handling internal corporate investigations, civil and criminal cases and domestic and international advisory matters.
“Eric Holder is one of the most qualified and experienced prosecutors in the United States. We are fortunate he agreed to work with the Gaming Board on this matter,” Blagojevich said.
As Special Investigator, Holder will work with the Gaming Board to conduct a full, open and public review of all of the facts, problems and concerns surrounding gaming in the Village of Rosemont, including the problems associated with Emerald Casino, the previous owner of the 10th license. The review will examine the Isle of Capri’s negotiations with the Village of Rosemont, and determine whether any of the concerns that caused the Gaming Board to take revocation actions against Emerald Casino Inc. are still present in any way.