No casinos yet, but already we’re seeing “best practices” in action

Recall last week in the middle of a revealing Globe article about Pennsylvania’s experience with casino corruption we were treated to this optimistic assessment by pro-casino Senator Stanley Rosenberg (D-Rose Colored Glasses): ” “The good news is we’re state number 37, not number one…That means we get to pick the best

practices all across the country.”

Today another front page article in the Globe reveals that politicians aren’t the only ones in the casino game looking at “best practices” to advance their goals:

The owner of Suffolk Downs has donated thousands of dollars to charities closely associated with two Boston politicians whose support for its plans to build a full-scale casino has been crucial.

The combined $16,000 donations from the Fields Family Foundation to charities affiliated with Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and state Senator Anthony Petruccelli far exceed what the racetrack’s owner would be allowed to give as campaign donations under state law.

The Fields Foundation, controlled by Suffolk owner Richard Fields, donated $10,000 to Menino’s charity in 2008 and 2009, according the foundation’s nonprofit tax return. Menino has confirmed in the past that a meeting with Fields one year earlier – just after Fields bought the racetrack – was a turning point in his transformation from tepid casino supporter to full-throated ambassador.

In 2009, the Fields charity donated $6,000 to a foundation established by Petruccelli, a Democrat from East Boston, where the track is located, and has provided key support to Suffolk’s casino plans after voicing early skepticism.

Mind you, we’re not talking about the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs here.  These “charities affiliated” with two powerful Boston pols do good works, no doubt, but good works for which their political godfathers get plenty of public credit.  More Globe:

The Menino-related donations went to a city charity called the Fund for Boston Neighborhoods, which has, while helping some of Boston’s poorest, also paid for the types of public events that have helped Menino maintain his political profile. Last year, for example, the charity bought Christmas gifts for poor children on behalf of the mayor and hosted the “Mayor’s Cup” bicycle race and block party on City Hall Plaza, according to the fund’s nonprofit tax filing…

The Representative Anthony Petruccelli Charitable Foundation was established in 2005, according to state corporate records, before Petruccelli became a senator. Petruccelli said in an interview that the charity hosts a yearly Christmas dinner, the Eastie Elves, for 500 East Boston residents in which it collects toys for needy children.  

Now of course everyone knows that Mayor Menino is the unassuming type, rarely seeking or taking public credit for his many accomplishments. (Cough.) And presumably the Petruccelli Foundation is so named because every other possible name was already taken.  But in this cynical age in which we live a skeptical public might be forgiven the crass assumption that a gaming magnate who lives in Wyoming may – just may – have made large contributions to those particular charities with a view toward stroking a couple of egos that just happen to be crucially important to his prospects of building a gaming megaplex in Boston.  Or perhaps he put a bunch of charities’ names in a big bowl and just happened to pull out those two.  Anything is possible… READ THE REST at CriticalMASS

About CriticalDan