February 16, 2006

The Apprentice: Johnston

Carroll Andrew Morse

According to an article in today’s Projo by Katherine Gregg and Arthur Kimball-Stanley, interest in building a casino on the site of the Johnston Landfill is not originating with an Indian tribe, but with Donald Trump…

Yesterday, James B. Perry, president and CEO of Trump Entertainment Resorts, came to town to launch what he described as a campaign to persuade Rhode Island lawmakers to set the terms and tax rate themselves and then allow competitive bidding for a single casino-operating license.

Asked why The Donald would zero in on Johnston...Perry said: "There are three reasons. "Number one: great market in New England. Number two: available land. Number three: great access."

He said the Trump organization -- and its Rhode Island development partner, David H. Nunes -- also took their cue from recent comments by high-placed lawmakers that led them to believe the legislature is again open to the recommendation made in 2003 by a House gambling study commission for competitive bidding.

Where the constitutional amendment necessary to legalize gambling in Rhode Island fits into the Trump organization’s plans; they think it will be easy to pass, they would concentrate on passing an amendment in the early stages of the project, they are willing to gamble that showing serious interest in building a casino will make an amendment easier to pass, etc. is not yet clear.