As reported here last week (“Sign this petition or I’ll break your leg! I-892’s biggest backer accused of loansharking“) a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation investigative report revealed allegations of loansharking at casinos run by the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.
Of course, as an upstanding corporate citizen whose only concern is the welfare of its patrons, Great Canadian immediately initiated a libel suit against the CBC and other parties.
A libel suit is the legal equivalent of Great Canadian’s house loansharks threatening to break a customer’s legs. (Excuse me… alleged legs.) It is an act of pure intimidation, intended to send a message to media outlets here and abroad to let this story sleep with the fishes, or face hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal fees in retribution.
This is a cowardly and mean-spirited assault on our First Amendment by a foreign corporation intent on dominating Washington’s gambling industry and unduly influencing our state’s elections. Great Canadian has already spent at least $128,000 financing I-892’s campaign to legalize slot machines — a small price considering the millions they’ve invested purchasing four of our state’s largest non-tribal casinos.
So it is no surprise that as the Gambling Commission reviews its licenses, and voters consider a measure that could eventually suck hundreds of millions of dollars north of the border, Great Canadian doesn’t want the public to know what kind of company is dealing the cards.
Great Canadian, its investors and executives have been accused of permitting or engaging in harassment, profit skimming, investment fraud, prostitution, bribery, and yes… loansharking. This is a company that at least on the surface appears intent on putting the “organized” into organized crime, and their make-you-an-offer-you-can’t-refuse approach to media relations doesn’t inspire much confidence to the contrary.
And so I challenge my friends in the media to join my little blog in standing up to this bully. Dive headlong into the mud hole; I promise you, it’s deeper than you think.
And if in the end Great Canadian comes out clean, well then, they’ll get the public exoneration they deserve. But if they come out stinking like warmed-over Moosehead, then voters deserve to know exactly what kind of company is financing I-892, and exactly who stands to gain the most from its passage.