Corruption Charges may Cost Michigan Casino Mogul’s License

Allegations of union corruption surrounding Michigan casino mogul, Anthony Soave, have jeopardized his latest $200 million venture — MGM Grand’s Detroit casino slated to open in 1999. Michigan law requires major investors to pass background checks and to be licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Soave’s trouble is he was indicted and arrested in a 1971 federal gambling conspiracy case, and law enforcement entities in Michigan and New Jersey claim he has had contacts with organized crime figures. Soave’s case was dismissed because prosecutors failed to get the proper signatures for a wiretap.

In addition to the gambling case, in which Soave was indicted with 20 others — many convicted bookies and known gamblers, Michigan investigators will reportedly scrutinize Soave and his dealings with New Jersey trash businessmen who turned out to be convicted felons or mob associates. Soave sold his trash-hauling company, City Management Corp., in 1998 for $750 million. The controversial dealings were detailed in a 1991 New Jersey State Police report on Soave when he applied for a trash-hauling license.

One allegation of the New Jersey report is that Soave met regularly with John Riggi. Riggi is an ex-business manager in the Int’l Laborers & Hod Carriers Union (part of Laborers Int’l Union of No. Am.), and the report claimed Riggi was the boss of the DeCavalcante crime family in New Jersey. Riggi later pled guilty to state and federal charges of labor racketeering and extortion and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. [Detroit News 2/28/99]