Will feds’ Kings Mountain casino probe bite Tubby lil’ Timmy?


Apparently, some federal regulators have serious problems with the, um, fine details of the deal that brought the SC-based Catawba Indian Nation’s inaugural venture into gambling to NC House speaker Tim Moore’s home county:

The Two Kings Casino currently operates out of a temporary space off of I-95.  Construction on the opulent $275 million permanent casino and resort was supposed to start at the end of 2021.  Here we are in November of 2022, and it hasn’t broken ground yet.  Tribal leaders promised hundreds of jobs and other positive economic activity for neighboring Cleveland County when the project was announced.  Is all of it going to go up in smoke?

In March 2022, the National Indian Gaming Commission expressed concerns about a specific lease agreement between the Catawba Tribe and a business entity named Kings Mountain Sky Boat Partners, LLC.  According to the agreement, that company was granted some level of authority over the casino that may run afoul of federal law.  Bill Harris, the Catawba Nation Chief, has told the public that the nation is still working with the gaming commission on these issues

That explains why construction hasn’t started yet, but some investors and neighboring businesses that were banking on the project to be a boon to the local economy are getting nervous.  Violations of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act can result in punishments as minor as a civil notice and a small fine, all the way up to the closure of the casino.

So, not only is the fate of the Two Kings Casino Resort hanging in the balance, even the Two Kings Casino itself may be in some trouble.  It seems only fitting, though, that there’s some drama going on with this.  The project was hung up in courts in North Carolina and South Carolina for years before finally getting approved.[…]

So how does this tie into Tubby lil’ Timmy?  Follow me back to 2014, folks:

[…] In the last few years, Moore’s legal work has intersected with government business. He works for an investor in a casino the South Carolina-based Catawba Nation wants to build in Cleveland County. Most House members opposed the project, which could expand Las Vegas-style games.

Moore disagreed with his colleagues, and wanted the state to enter into a compact with the tribe to share the gambling profits. But he said last year that he had told his House colleagues of his conflict and withdrawn from any legislative discussion on the issue.

He said Saturday that he’s handling local real estate issues connected to the project and doesn’t think that will have any connection to state action.[…] 

So, the speaker has worked FOR an investor who is apparently a party to the federal probe.  The drive-bys have found that a number of former local officials, political allies, and political players in Moore’s home county are tied to the casino deal:

Two former Cleveland County officials who landed stakes in the Catawba Two Kings Casino have had more business links to the project and its players than was known.

A former county manager and former county commissioner were early supporters of the Kings Mountain casino during their time in government. New reporting shows both have been connected to multiple companies that either own land around the casino site or have ties to the casino developer, a political player with a checkered past.

David Dear, the former Cleveland County manager, has been involved in two marijuana companies tied to Wallace Cheves, company filings show. The Catawba Nation hired Cheves to make Two Kings Casino a reality.

And Eddie Holbrook, a Cleveland County commissioner until 2018, including serving as chairman, is connected with at least two other companies that have been involved in the land deals surrounding the casino, including one related to Cheves.

The sparse paper trail showing these connections widens the view of a web of business ties among local supporters beyond what The Observer revealed this summer.[…]

In case you weren’t aware, speaker Tim Moore has been working for some time now as the Cleveland County attorney. 


Now, here’s a little something from a watchdog in Cleveland County, NC:

[…] That third piece of mail is the main subject of this article:

It looked like a political “mailer.” And I suppose it was. The front side is what I decided to title this article. Something stinks about the Kings Mountain Casino Project… Deal clearly smells of stinky money (WRAL News 3/19/21) With Pictures of Eddie Holbrook, Tim Moore, Wallace Cheves and Scott Neisler

The mailer said it was “Paid for and authorized by DefendNC” and was mailed from Raleigh, NC. A google search shows DefendNC is originated and run by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. NO secrets and NO lack of Transparency there.

Now for some fact checking for the truth in this mailer.

The mailer said:
Elected officials have not been transparent about this casino project—100% True

Casino developer Wallace Cheves has a history of legal problems associated with illegal gambling—100% True

Cheves and former commissioner Eddie Holbrook, who actively supported the casino project while he was still in office, share ties to a mysterious LLC that owne3s 22 acres directly across from the casino property—100% True plus Cheves donated $5,800 to Holbrook’s re-election campaign in 2018.

Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Neisler’s gamily owns land nearby there too–100% True, however, the Neisler family owned that property years before the casino was envisioned.

So basically, the DefendNC flyer put out by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians regarding the Catawba Casino is 100% true on its face. 

I attended the Cleveland County Commissioner’s Meeting last night and signed up to speak under Citizens Recognition, with the Casino “mailer” in hand. I showed the Commissioners the mailer and suggested to them that they do an investigation into it as it accused the Commissioners and County Attorney Tim Moore of “stinky” business.

Considering that it has become a well-known fact that Tim Moore, the County Attorney, also represented the Catawba Indians regarding their casino and former Commissioner Eddie Holbrook was apparently cooking up stinky deals to benefit himself while he was in office. Perhaps criminal stinky deals.

And since ALL the Commissioners seem to be falling all over themselves to give the Catawba Casino everything they want, with a big mile, that perhaps their palms may have been greased too. The Commissioners did not say a word.

But. The fact remains that the whole Catawba Indian Casino Project certainly seems to have been a “Stinky” deal from start to this very day. The Commissioners have ignored every person that has attempt4ed to dissuade them approving the Casino project.

The Commissioners have refused to seek a referendum from the citizens of Cleveland County to judge their approval or opposition to the Casino Project. The Commissioners have ignored the fact that video poker machines that pay off have been illegal in North Carolina and Cleveland County for many years. The Commissioners have always joined in with Commissioner Eddie Holbrook’s “stinky” schemes, from the American Legion World Series, Baseball, Inc. to the secret sale of the Cleveland County Healthcare facilities for less than pennies on the dollar. Costing Cleveland County citizens Millions and even Billions of Dollars in the process.[…]

Sooooooo — The feds seem very interested in a lot of the background details on the casino deal.  Ownership, contracts, etc.  The kind of things LAWYERS in the deal would have their hands ALL OVER. 

Dermocrats have already experienced the humiliation of a speaker leaving the podium in disgrace due to legal issues.  Is the NCGOP interested in following suit?

The NC House Republican Caucus needs to seriously consider their current leader’s involvement in this whole deal BEFORE they vote on leadership for the next session.

Stuff like this, MUCH MORE than conservatism or Trump, had a lot to do with the party’s DISAPPOINTING showing last Tuesday.   The appearance of sleaze or illegality can be almost as damaging as actual, evidence-backed sleaze or illegality.