CHICAGO – In response to the Gaming Board’s refusal to provide information and documents to Eric Holder, the independent investigator appointed last month by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to look into issues surrounding the location and awarding of the 10th casino license, the Governor’s general counsel Susan Lichtenstein today sent a letter to Gaming Board Chairman Elzie Higginbottom demanding cooperation.
After the Gaming Board refused to comply with Holder’s requests for information, citing reasons of privilege, Attorney General Madigan’s office recommended having the Gaming Board, which is a division of the Department of Revenue, hire Holder to give him open access to Gaming Board information. A proposal to do so was tabled by the Gaming Board during last night’s meeting.
In her letter to Chairman Higginbottom, Lichtenstein states that Holder will be hired by the Department of Revenue, and that the Administration expects full cooperation from the Gaming Board.
April 9, 2004
Mr. Elzie Higginbottom
Chairman of Gaming Board
160 N. LaSalle
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Dear Chairman Higginbottom:
Yesterday, you informed us that the Gaming Board wanted answers to a list of questions
before agreeing to process the contract to hire Eric Holder, former Deputy Attorney General of
the United States. As you know, Governor Blagojevich appointed Mr. Holder on March 24 to
conduct a full, comprehensive and independent investigation into all of the circumstances
surrounding the location and awarding of the 10th casino license.
Mr. Holder has already begun working on the investigation. Initially, we planned to
process Mr. Holder’s contract through the Department of Revenue, but the Attorney General
informed us that your staff was refusing to cooperate with Mr. Holder for reasons of privilege.
The Attorney General suggested that these problems would be solved if Mr. Holder were hired
through the Gaming Board, which is a division of the Department of Revenue.
However, when the issue was brought before the Board yesterday, instead of moving
forward, the Board voted to table the motion. We were surprised by that decision, since the
Board publicly embraced the notion of Mr. Holder’s investigation just sev’eral weeks ago.
In addition, the Gaming Board has not cooperated with Mr. Holder’s efforts to date,
refusing to answer questions or provide the information he needs to Conduct his investigation.
Rather than play games with an issue of this significance and magnitude, we have decided to
hire Mr. Holder through the Department of Revenue instead.
We feel confident that the Attorney General, in her efforts to get to the bottom of the
circumstances surrounding the 10th license, will do everything in her power to help Mr. Holder
proceed. We fully expect that the Gaming Board will do whatever it needs to do to provide him
with complete and full access to all its records and files as well, so that Mr. Holder’s
independent investigation can proceed without delay.
Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.
Susan R. Lichtenstein