The past history of the group chosen to develop and operate the proposed new casino in Cedar Rapids has raised some questions. Developer J-N-B Gaming in Dubuque is led by three former leaders of Peninsula Gaming, which was charged in 2009 by the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board with giving thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions to then-Governor Chet Culver.
Charges against Brent Stevens and Jonathan Swain were later dismissed, and Peninsula paid a $4,000 settlement to the campaign disclosure board. The lead investor for the Cedar Rapids project, Steve Gray, said his investor group was aware of the settlement when they hired Stevens and Swain.
“The settlement specifically provided that they relied on the advice of counsel. And the settlement does not constitute any wrongdoing or admission of guilt of reporting by the executives,” Gray said. He says J-N-B is a great choice for this project.
“Number one, they are great operators. Number two, they have a solid relationship with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, and third they share a very common vision with us,” according to Gray. The Cedar Rapids investor group will submit their casino proposal to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission in September.
The commission is conducting market surveys to determine if there is room for more casinos in the state. They plan to make a decision on any new casinos after reviewing the surveys.