Peninsula Gaming execs charged with illegal gifts to campaign

Two executives of Peninsula Gaming Partners, one of two applicants to manage a casino in Sumner County, have been charged with making illegal contributions to Iowa Gov. Chet Culver's political campaign.

Peninsula president Martin Brent Stevens and executive Jonathan Swain were charged Monday in Polk County District Court with breaking the state's contribution disclosure rules by making the donations in someone else's name, which is a misdemeanor in Iowa.

The contributions were made as the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission was considering applications for a casino in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Webster County Entertainment, the management firm of one of the applicants, Webster County Gaming, was negotiating with Peninsula to have Peninsula operate its proposed casino, according to the Des Moines Register.

Steven Daniel, an executive of Webster County Entertainment, and Curtis Beason, an attorney who has represented Peninsula, also were charged with illegally contributing to Culver's campaign using someone else's name, and Beason was charged with obstruction.

The charges stem from an investigation into a $25,000 contribution to the campaign in 2009.

Peninsula, based in Dubuque, Iowa, is bidding to build and manage a casino near Mulvane.

Peninsula and Oklahoma-based Global Gaming KS have signed contracts with the Kansas Lottery.

Global Gaming has applied to build a casino near Wellington.

Peninsula has proposed two alternate sites for its proposed $260 million casino, including the Mulvane turnpike exit and the corner of Oliver and K-53.

The Lottery Commission approved the contracts last month, and approved revisions to the contracts last week. The contracts are due to be turned over the state's casino review board next week.

Ed Van Petten, the lottery's executive director, said the charges in Iowa won't affect the lottery's action because Peninsula's contract has been approved and is ready to go to the review board.

"I'm sure they will want some answers at that level," Van Petten said.

Peninsula issued a written statement denying the charges.

"Peninsula has, during its 11 year history, always adhered to the highest standards of regulatory compliance and ethical business practices and has an impeccable record of responsibility and excellence in the gaming industry. We look forward to a positive resolution of this matter," the statement said.

"Peninsula Gaming has been fully transparent with the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission and the Kansas Lottery Commission, has proactively communicated with them about this matter, and will continue to do so as appropriate moving forward," the statement said.

Des Moines attorney Guy Cook, who is representing Peninsula and the others charged in the case, said he will enter a not guilty plea at a Nov. 1 court appearance.

A representative for Global Gaming declined to comment.