Las Vegas Sands Corp pursues alleged blockade of Seminole signature

Posted on: Dec 3, 2021, 9:04 a.m.

Last update on: December 3, 2021, 9:04 a.m.

Las Vegas Sands Corp is suing a political action committee backed by Florida’s Seminole tribe for allegedly trying to sabotage its own political ambitions in the state.

LVS has long wanted to bring a Las Vegas-style casino resort like the Venetian to Las Vegas, with the Palazzo tower pictured. But the Seminole Tribe won’t give up without a supposedly devious fight. (Image: LVS Corp.)

The Las Vegas-based casino giant has teamed up with Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians in a voting initiative called Florida Voters in Charge (FVC). The campaign hopes to collect the nearly 900,000 signatures needed to secure its measure to expand the games in the 2022 poll.

But LVS says the Seminoles have targeted the campaign with “coordinated harassment and intimidation.” The lawsuit also claims that parties acting on behalf of the tribe are paying signature collectors to leave the state for at least six weeks or move to the other side.

The tribe is also accused of circulating a “fictitious petition”, similar to the LVS petition. It is designed to confuse voters into believing that they have already signed the LVS initiative, according to the lawsuit.

Without proper intervention, the defendants’ concerted plan to undermine Florida’s constitutional amendment process is likely to be successful, and plaintiffs will not be able to secure the number of signatures required to place the Gaming Initiative on the 2022 ballot, ”says the trial.

LVS Florida plan

LVS has long designed a casino complex in Florida, where the Seminoles hold a monopoly on casino games through an agreement with the state. They own and operate seven Hard Rock branded properties in Florida.

The FVC initiative is pushing to ask voters in a 2022 poll if they want to change the state’s constitution to allow pari-mutuel card rooms to become full-fledged casinos. That is if they are at least 130 miles from the Seminole reserve.

If approved, this could open the door for LVS or the Poarch Creeks to purchase a gambling hall in or around the Jacksonville area that could later be turned into a casino complex.

$ 7,000 to leave the state

According to the lawsuit, LVS hired a private investigator, identified in court documents as “Circulator A,” who posed as an FVC campaign activist.

Circulator A said he was approached by a woman working for the blockade campaign who offered him $ 2,000 to switch sides, adding that she would receive a commission of $ 500 if he did so.

The woman told the private investigator the tribe paid signature collectors who lived out of state $ 7,000 just to leave the FVC campaign and leave Florida for at least six weeks. They would receive $ 2,000 up front, then $ 2,500 three weeks later, and a final $ 2,500 after six weeks.

The woman said she would prove she was out of state by logging into the Hard Rock gaming platform, which uses geolocation software to ensure players are based in Florida.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday evening in Leon County state circuit court. He asks the court to prohibit the defendants from interfering in the contractual relations between the plaintiffs and their distributors of petitions. She also seeks damages in an amount to be proven at trial.

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