“We want the truth.” Rep. Vereb.

GOP wants to know if board knew slots applicant was being probed

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

By Tom Barnes, Post-Gazette Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG — Some Republican legislators want to create a special bipartisan committee to find out “what did the state Gaming Control Board know and when did it know it?”

Specifically, state Reps. Curt Schoder of Chester, Doug Reichley of Lehigh, Mike Vereb of Montgomery and others asked yesterday, did the gaming board know about a state police perjury investigation of slots applicant Louis DeNaples before it awarded him a slots license on Dec. 20, 2006?

Some board members have said that state police never told them that Mr. DeNaples, a northeastern Pennsylvania businessman, was being investigated by state police for perjury at the time he was given the license. If they had known, board members said, they’d have delayed awarding him the license.

But Col. Jeffrey Miller, state police commissioner, recently told the House Appropriations Committee that board members must have known, or at least should have known, about the perjury probe because gaming board officials had given state police some transcripts of Mr. DeNaples’ sworn testimony to the gaming board’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement in August and September 2006.

“We want the truth,” said Mr. Vereb. “We are trying to restore the integrity of the process used to award slots licenses.”

When legislators return March 31, the GOP will put forth a resolution to set up a 10-member committee, half Democrats and half Republicans, with the power to subpoena board members, state police officials and others, to try to find out who knew what and when.

The Republican legislators denied they are pursuing a political witch hunt designed to embarrass Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, a big backer of slots, or the gaming board, three of whose seven members he selected.

Bureau Chief Tom Barnes can be reached at tbarnes@post-gazette.com or 717-787-4254.

First published on March 19, 2008 at 12:00 am

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