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Syverson’s backing of Rockford casino pick draws questions

Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

* Quick summary…


* From last night’s 10 o’clock report

* Today’s write-up

State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) went all in for a casino project that would directly benefit his business partner and top campaign donors.

Public records and communications obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show Syverson was in close personal contact with local and county officials during the pivotal moments leading up to the city’s decisive vote to award the casino project to an investor group that included his friends, campaign donors and associates. […]

Syverson chafed at Mayor Tom McNamara’s insistence that city aldermen abstain from talking to anyone about gaming until the city rolled out its own presentation. […]

Syverson claims he complained to the Gaming Board and sought a ruling that would allow him to speak directly to the Rockford City Council, even as they were under a prohibition to speak to any lobbyists or agents of the casino operators. […]

On Saturday, September 28th, 2019, the local newspaper reported Mayor Tom McNamara wanted to send the Illinois Gaming Board multiple options, and rank them in order of preference, in order to have a backup plan in place.

“The mayor’s initial preference, and might have been his preference if we had three viable applicants, was to send more than one down so that we had backup if any of them did not make it,” Holzwarth said.

That weekend, ahead of a pivotal city council vote, Syverson used his state Senate letterhead and communications staff to lobby support for the city to select just a single developer, and urged the public to consider what he saw as disqualifying differences between his business partner’s bid and the other developers’ application, which he discounted as merely a “dream.”

The Syverson business partner referenced above is Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, whose wife Karen is a casino investor. There’s more, so click here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

29 Comments
  1. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 3:44 pm:

    Better call the Dream Police


  2. - Annonin - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 3:51 pm:

    Seems like the Senator has been for the Rockford casino since Day 1. Same for Cheap Trick guy. Not sure this is as sinister as critics pretend.
    mark might be better off probing why SPI big brains totally dropped ball on gaming expansion. Only had 20 years to prepare.


  3. - left of the lake - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 3:56 pm:

    If this was a democrat state official ipi and il gop would have already issued press releases calling for his resignation and an ethics investigation…..


  4. - Sue - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 3:56 pm:

    Don’t these idiots ever learn


  5. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 4:06 pm:

    I want you to want me …


  6. - Me - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 4:06 pm:

    Madigan did It


  7. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    This will be interesting to follow now.

    It will a Cheap Trick to only focus on other investors than the senator’s wife.


  8. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    You get a few more insider deals on gambling, the road construction bill the tollway with massive hidings and Sandavol and sooner or later some kind of corruption in awarding marijuana licenses and that fair tax is going to be a hard sell
    And this deal should be investigated. Pretty soon a pox on both sides.


  9. - Flat Bed Ford - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 4:10 pm:

    The Senator would be wise to get out in front of this and clear it up. If he can’t or doesn’t then he should suffer the same fate as Sandoval and remove himself from office.


  10. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 4:16 pm:

    Someone made the excellent point that this story was broken by WCIA, not one of the Rockford outlets. It’s a shame that cutbacks have had such a devastating impact on the city’s reportorial corps.


  11. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 4:31 pm:

    “Someone made the excellent point that this story was broken by WCIA, not one of the Rockford outlets.”

    Which also begs the question of whether someone dropped the dime on Syverson with Mark Maxwell.


  12. - May Soon Be Required - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 5:03 pm:

    Someone on this very blog had suggested that partnerships existed not only in Rockford but Waukegan possibly Danville that should raise a few question from Gaming Authorities


  13. - MyTwoCents - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 5:11 pm:

    re the broken by WCIA comments, Mark Maxwell covers the Capitol for more than WCIA. If you read his Twitter bio it says the Capitol Bureau Chief for multiple stations, including in Rockford. Such is the state of media these days. 1 company, TV stations across the State, 1 reporter to cover all those local angles in State politics/government.


  14. - walker - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 5:12 pm:

    Maxwell has been doing some great work.


  15. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 5:33 pm:

    Also same company that owns WCIA just bought WGN


  16. - Latina - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 5:58 pm:

    -left of the lake- Senator Brady and his Republican State Committee didn’t donate over $ 30,000.00 to Syverson campaign committee this year for nothing. Democrats and Republicans are involved and you know it.


  17. - Tribe - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 6:40 pm:

    Where is the outrage about this obvious ethical breech?


  18. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 7:10 pm:

    Did Syverson register as a lobbyist?


  19. - Woodstock willy - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 8:45 pm:

    How many people are going to be indicted in illinois over the next year related to casino or gaming interests. I’d set the over under at 10..


  20. - Leatherneck - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 10:16 pm:

    - MyTwoCents - Wednesday, Dec 11, 19 @ 5:11 pm:

    re the broken by WCIA comments, Mark Maxwell covers the Capitol for more than WCIA. If you read his Twitter bio it says the Capitol Bureau Chief for multiple stations, including in Rockford. Such is the state of media these days. 1 company, TV stations across the State, 1 reporter to cover all those local angles in State politics/government.
    ———–

    In addition to now WGN, the other Nexstar stations (WCIA’s owner) in Illinois include WCIX Springfield (My 49.1), WMBD Peoria (WCIA and WMBD has had common ownership since the Midwest Broadcasting purchase of WMBD in 1960), WHBF Rock Island/Quad Cities, and WTVO Rockford. Also WTWO Terre Haute, IN is owned by Nexstar, so it’s possible that Maxwell’s reports on Illinois politics might appear there.


  21. - Michael Mad - Thursday, Dec 12, 19 @ 5:20 am:

    Sounds like Official Misconduct to me. Using your elected position for financial gain. He’s at least tainted the bid process through fruit of the poisonous tree. Hopefully the Feds come knocking at his door. Another Illinois politician bought and paid for by the gaming industry.


  22. - Lincoln Lad - Thursday, Dec 12, 19 @ 7:44 am:

    Does this truly surprise you?


  23. - Elliott Ness - Thursday, Dec 12, 19 @ 8:03 am:

    This type of conduct will make it hard for GOP to land punches on Democrats as being the party of corruption. Between Brady and Syverson the GOP has also been exposed. How this cannot be illegal really tells the story of Illinois politics.


  24. - SSL - Thursday, Dec 12, 19 @ 8:14 am:

    He was against it until he was for it. I guess with age comes wisdom. Or greed.


  25. - May Soon Be Required - Thursday, Dec 12, 19 @ 8:15 am:

    What’s in it for Me?


  26. - efudd - Thursday, Dec 12, 19 @ 8:16 am:

    That’s it, keep pulling at the strings on this until the casino plan falls through.

    That’ll show ‘em.


  27. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Dec 12, 19 @ 8:47 am:

    “He was against it until he was for it.”

    $urrender
    $urrender
    But don’t give yourself away

    – MrJM


  28. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 13, 19 @ 12:52 pm:

    Does it really surprise you the state in the city are so corrupt I can’t wait to leave it


  29. - I know - Tuesday, Dec 17, 19 @ 1:33 pm:

    Why do you think the county board is the way it is? He runs them too. The whole story there disappeared about Christenson and Feds were investigating. All of a sudden nothing more 🤨🤨


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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