Trump's Gamble for Indian Wampum

The Self-Proclaimed 'Biggest Enemy of Indian Gambling' Has Suddenly Backed a Plan To Build Casinos on Seminole Land

Since the Seminoles started their bingo operations in 1979, two of their parlors were run, until last year, by Seminole Management Associates, Ltd (SMA). According to a 1992 report by the Pennsylvania Crime Commission (PCC), one of SMA's proprietors, Eugene Weisman, was an associate of Pittsburgh's LaRocca crime family. The report notes how Weisman got help starting SMA with $1.2 million from Jack Cooper, a ''close personal associate of Meyer Lansky,'' the infamous Jewish gangster, and how the Seminole bingo operation ''was set up with the help of [Gabriel] Mannarino [a deceased LaRocca mobster] and the late Meyer Lansky.'' Not only did money from Weisman's Pittsburgh bingo parlor find its way to LaRocca members Frank ''Sonny'' Amato, Thomas Ciancutti, and Mannarino, but, the report added, he ''paid tribute to the Pittsburgh LCN [La Cosa Nostra] from his Florida-based bingo operation as well.''

(Though he did not deny the allegations, Weisman did sue the crime commission, saying it violated his due process. The Pennsylvania attorney general—then under investigation by the PCC and later convicted—declined to defend the commission. A 1995 court ruling ordered deletion of the report's section mentioning Weisman's name.)

The crime commission report isn't the only place SMA's name has come up in law and gaming enforcement records. In the mid 1980s, a series of confidential intelligence reports from the California Department of Justice noted alleged ties between SMA and the LaRocca Family, as did a confidential 1995 FBI report. And in Wisconsin in 1995, Neal Amdur of St. Croix dog-track operators HAH Enterprises resigned and HAH paid a fine after state gaming officials discovered he had failed to disclose his interest in SMA. The report by the gaming commission described SMA as ''linked to the mob.''

In 1997, the National Indian Gaming Commission voided SMA's contract with the Seminoles on the basis of its own background investigation. Eugene Weisman (who changed his last name to Moriarty) and his brother James continued to run the reservation operations, however, as the proprietors JPW Consultants, a Hollywood, Florida, firm.

Attempts to reach Weisman/Moriarty were unsuccessful. Trump didn't respond either, leaving one last question unanswered: how's he going to make good on his 1996 promise to the Seminoles that ''if we ever work out a deal, I promise to bring Marla down''?

Research assistance: Leila Abboud

« Previous Page