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NEW YORK CITY-David Grandeau, executive director of the New York State Lobbying Commission, tells GlobeSt.com that a month after Trump Hotel Casino Resorts agreed to pay its share of the largest fine ever imposed by the Commission, the papers have still not been signed. This news follows yesterday’s stunning filing of a lawsuit filed by Catskill Development against Park Place Entertainment, as reported by John Jordan for GlobeSt.com in Westchester yesterday, which refers to the circumstances surrounding the fine as fuel for its case.

While Trump Resorts is neither a plaintiff nor defendant in the suit, by tying the elements of the tri-state casino feud together, and Trump’s failure to sign the agreement papers to date, what becomes clear is that the issue is not only complicated, but also getting uglier. The suit, filed by well-known attorney Thomas Puccio, notes the reason Trump was fined, arguing that the company, along with its partners, worked to stump plans for a casino upstate.

The fine, $250,000 in all, stems from an ad campaign opposing the creation of Sullivan County casinos the St. Regis Mohawks have proposed. The ads were presented as messages from a group called the “Institute for Law and Society,” which was actually a Trump-backed group. The fine will be split between Trump, paying $50,000; lobbyist Roger Stone, paying $100,000; and the Institute, which produced the ads, paying $100,000. The partners will also fund $50,000 worth of advertising to reveal the facts about the previous ad campaign.

Grandeau also notes the Commission is now investigating the matter further to determine if Trump, Stone and the Institute violated lobbying regulations by not registering as lobbyists. Trump spent in excess of $150,000. Reports on the findings will be available shortly.

The ads were part of an effort to prevent further casino development from siphoning business from Trump’s Atlantic City portfolio. Already competing with Native American casinos from Rhode Island to Washington, DC, Trump apparently was seeking to prevent upstate New York from becoming the latest home to competition. Earlier this fall Donald Trump was reported to be exploring possible proposals for a Manhattan casino.

Casino gambling in New York State must be in a facility on a Native American reservation or an approved off-reservation site applied for by a Native American tribe to be legal. It is conceivable that a casino could be developed by Native Americans at the suggested site, on the West Side, but with Mayor Giuliani eyeing it for a baseball stadium and NYC2012 eyeing it for an Olympic stadium, it doesn’t seem likely. It is even less so when one considers that Trump spent $150,000 to prevent losing business in his three New Jersey casinos to upstate New York.

While the Lobbying Commission waits on signatures and payment of the $250,000 fine, Catskill Development moves forward in suing Park Place for interfering in its deal with the St. Regis Mohawk Indian tribe, Native American casinos in Connecticut draw much of Atlantic City’s gamblers and the players all plot their next move in this multimedia brawl. Trump Resorts did not return inquiries by press time.

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