Posted on: December 12, 2023, 04:57h.
Last updated on: December 12, 2023, 04:57h.
Opposing attorneys exchanged allegations Monday during a New Hampshire hearing over claimed wrongdoing by a casino owner. At issue is whether he should keep his gaming property license.
The subject of the hearing, Andy Sanborn, owner of the Concord Casino and a former state senator, misused federal funds and doesn’t deserve to continue as an owner of a charitable casino, officials claim.
“This case is about the public’s confidence in charitable gaming. It’s about accountability,” New Hampshire Senior Assistant Attorney General Jessica King was quoted by the Associated Press.
At its core, the evidence will show that Mr. Sanborn was co-mingling funds, mislabeling personal expenses as business expenses and running a financially-based business without regard to important regulations put in place as safeguards in this high-risk industry.”
Also, New Hampshire Lottery Commission auditor Leila McDonough testified against Sanborn that his financial records were “sloppy at best,” the AP reported.
Officials have claimed Sanborn improperly got an $844K COVID relief loan. Casinos weren’t supposed to qualify for such loans, but Sanborn failed to mention that was his line of business.
He then used $181K 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.
Relied on Expert
But Sanborn’s attorney, Mark Knights, who specializes in government investigations, said the New Hampshire Lottery Commission failed to fully understand what the rent payments were being used for, and he tore apart at the government’s allegations.
“It’s an incomplete story that has yawning gaps in the evidence that are the result of an incomplete and, frankly, sloppy investigation,” Knights said during the hearing, according to the AP.
The evidence will show that at the end of the day that Mr. Sanborn and (his charitable gaming company) Win Win Win relied on the advice of somebody they had reason to believe was an expert, a specialist in (Small Business Administration) loans,” Knights argued, according to the New Hampshire Bulletin.
“And that’s not fraud. There is no intent to deceive. It doesn’t even come close to fraud.”
The consultant used by Sanborn was identified in the hearing as Michael Evans of SpringWest Capital Corp. He helped Sanborn with the application for the COVID loan.
On the other hand, McDonough testified that Sanborn has been “the most difficult and challenging to work with. He doesn’t seem to think that rules and laws apply to him.”
Sanborn Is Difficult
“There have been some troubling game operator employers, but he’s been the most difficult and challenging to work with,” she was quoted by the Bulletin.
He’s gone to the governor. He’s gone to my boss. He’s gone to my boss’s boss. He’s gone to my boss’s boss’s boss. He wants to have his way and I just want compliance. I don’t want to fight with him.”
But when questioned by Knights, she admitted Sanborn was cooperative during 2021 and “he appeared willing to fix any issues identified by her audit,” according to the AP.
Sanborn and his wife didn’t attend Monday’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.
The hearing is being run by New Hampshire Department of Safety hearings officer Michael King.
Sanborn’s gaming license for the Concord Casino expires on Dec. 31. He’s also attempting to open a second casino, also in Concord.
In addition, state and federal investigations into Sanborn are pending.