Published: December 13, 2023, 06:34h.
Last updated on: December 13, 2023, 06:34h.
Closing arguments were made Tuesday on whether a New Hampshire casino owner can retain a charitable gaming license.
At issue is whether Andy Sanborn, a former state senator, can keep the license to operate the Concord Casino.
The decision is up to state Department of Safety hearing officer Michael King. King expects to release his decision by the end of this month.
He will review arguments and evidence presented this week.
State officials claim there was fraud on Sanborn’s part and argue he improperly used some of the $844K from a federal COVID relief loan. Sanborn’s attorneys see it differently.
There’s a big difference, Mr. King, between intentional misconduct and mistakes or carelessness,” Sanborn’s attorney, Zachary Hafer, argued during the hearing. He pointed out that Sanborn hired a consultant to help him fill out the application for the loan.
On Monday, New Hampshire Lottery Commission auditor Leila McDonough testified against Sanborn that his financial records were “sloppy at best,” the Associated Press reported.
Off the Charts
She said problems at the casino were “off the charts” — and she wasn’t allowed to count the money, the NH Journal reported.
How can you conduct an audit that includes cash when you’re not allowed to count the cash?” McDonough asked during the hearing, according to the Journal.
“Eventually, you have to assume the cash doesn’t exist since you’re not allowed to see it or count it.”
Casinos also weren’t supposed to qualify for COVID relief loans, but Sanborn failed to mention that was his line of business.
Sanborn is accused of using $181K of that relief money on two Porsche race cars, and $80K on a Ferrari for his wife, state Rep. Laurie Sanborn, R, officials said. He also used more than $183K on rent, officials further claim.
Sanborn and his wife didn’t attend this week’s hearing. They were at a Boston hospital, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, according to his attorney. He has reportedly been suffering from illness and has been unable to attend some proceedings.
In addition, New Hampshire TV station WMUR reported this week that documents obtained from the New Hampshire Lottery Commission revealed the gaming property got almost 12 warning letters and almost 30 enforcement forms for violations between 2019 and 2023.
Those violations include running promotions not approved by the commission, lowering the prize in a casino tournament from the advertised $700 to $300, and giving charity money to a charity that did not have a current or valid license,” according to WMUR.
Sanborn’s gaming license for the Concord Casino expires on December 31. He’s also attempting to open a second casino, also in Concord.