Gurney's Inn
August 22, 2007

Rudy Backed By Tribal Gaming Bigwigs

Is presidential hopeful and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani a gambling man?

That's the question on the minds of many East End residents after published reports indicated that the head honchos behind a plan to build a $20 million casino in partnership with the Shinnecock Tribe are also Rudy fans.

According to reports, Michael & Marian Ilitch and Michael J. Malik, Sr. are hosting a pricey fundraiser for Giuliani, a Republican candidate in the race for president, next Monday in Detroit.

The venue? Comerica Park, where the New York Yankees are slated to play the Ilitch's team, the Detroit Tigers.

Those who question whether Giuliani is a supporter of the Shinnecock casino took note of the fact that both Malik and the Ilitchs' support Congresswoman Candice Miller, who introduced a bill supporting an off-reservation Native American casino in Michigan. In years past, the Ilitchs have made a play for off-reservation gambling in states including Hawaii and California.

Miller is also the Michigan campaign chairman for Giuliani's presidential run.

With a long string of business successes, the Ilitchs, who co-founded Little Caesar's Pizza, are well known in the sports arena; they own not only the Detroit Tigers but the Red Wings, as well as a plethora of sports, entertainment and dining enterprises.

But now that the Giulianis are East Enders themselves – the couple reportedly paid $3 million for their Water Mill abode – residents are wondering if there is a tie between the mayor and his supporters, who are charging between $1000 to $2300 for the fundraiser.

Jeff Barker, press representative for the Northeastern Leg of Giuliani's presidential campaign, said although he is unfamiliar with the Shinnecock casino issue, "In general, folks who choose to donate money or raise funds for the mayor because they want him to be president do so because they believe in his vision or his ideas – not the other way around."

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