Monday, August 28, 2006

EXCLUSIVE: Anschutz Company Leaked Emails Show AEG Spinning Out of Control

John Prescott's best mate Philip Anschutz has been up to his old tricks again. Anschutz, you will recall, owns the ranch which Prescott famously visited to discuss AEG's Casino bids the Slave Trade but didn't register the trip with the House of Commons authorities. Anshutz's company AEG is currently trying to persuade the relevant authorities to grant it the Super Casino licence in order to build it on the Greenwich Peninsula. The Daily Mail reports HERE today that it has somewhat pre-empted the decision and started to build the shell of the building which will hold the casino.

Professor Stephen Crow, chairman of the Casino Advisory Panel, suggested that the joint bid by Dome owner Philip Anschutz and Greenwich Council was in the lead because building work had already started on the Las Vegas-style casino. This admission triggered cries of foul play from opposition MPs, who said it was worse than cricket's ball-tampering scandal. Professor Crow's panel will start public hearings into the seven bids this week before recommending one site before the end of the year. But it emerged last week that Mr Anschutz's firm AEG has jumped the gun by constructing the shell of an 'entertainment complex' on the Dome site at Greenwich.

So what have I got to reveal that's new? Well, readers of the excellent GreenwichWatch blog will already know that AEG has been caught falsifying documents which are due to presented to the DCMS Casino Panel this Wednesday. Click HERE to see a document from AEG listed on the DCMS website (I bet this will have been removed by tomorrow) . To cut a long story short, AEG has now been forced to apologise to the Greenwich Chaplaincy for misrepresenting their views. Click HERE and HERE for the full details.

The full exchange of emails between AEG and the Greenwich Chaplaincy has been leaked to me and can be seen HERE in full.

It starts off with an email from Revd Malcolm Torry to AEG representatives...

I'm sorry I've had to send a rather intemperate email to the Department of Culture with copies to people who might be rather concerned about what look like views emanating from the Greenwich Peninsula Chaplaincy. You really ought to have asked.

Following a slightly apologetic reply from AEG, Revd Torry replies more starkly...

I'd be perfectly happy for genuine correspondence to be published - but there hasn't been any, and the paper on the Culture Dept. website looks like a letter from me and it isn't one. I can see that some of the phrases in it are taken from the paper which we published on a possible casino, but much of the document has been simply made up and it has a tone which is positive towards the casino plan whereas the paper which our trustees put out is negative (in varying degrees, because different faith communities contain a spectrum of views). Yes, our paper also contains a promise: that if there is a casino on the peninsula then we shall offer to be chaplains to it so that we can serve the needs of workforce and visitors; but most of the content is what different sacred texts say about gambling: and they're not complimentary.

By now, it;s clear that AEG realises it has a crisis on its hands and the cudgels are taken up by AEG Chief executive David Campbell, who writes this full blown apology...

I cannot excuse the fact that this summary should have been cleared with you. I don't know how this happened but it is a mistake and as CEO I am ultimately responsible and so apologise unreservedly to you and your colleagues. I sincerely hope this genuine mistake does not stop us all moving forward with the many excellent areas of your work on the Peninsula.

It's quite clear that yet again, AEG is playing fast and loose with the truth in order to get their own way. I'm not sure what the remit of the DCMS Casino Panel is, but I hope they do their duty on Wednesday and give AEG the hardest grilling they have ever had.

Hattip to Greenwich Watch for background research and original story

10 comments:

Rick said...

Let's hope that the Reverend does not end up in a Blunkett Camp for the recalcitrant undergoing "re-education"

griswold said...

Dodgy dossier. Now where have I heard that before. Is that retired pornographer/gigolo possibly advising AEG?

Adrian Yalland said...

This is just unbelieveable! Iain, well done. I hope someone in the media picks this up pronto!

Anonymous said...

I don't know why they're bothering. Anschutz has already built the bloody thing and Prezza has offered to come and do the official opening, in his cowboy uniform.

Benedict White said...

I think this is an example of the very worst form of business dealing. Well done for getting this out there Iain.

Mark said...

have they had the planning permission agreed? if not can't we just request that it be demolished?

Or have I simplified this too much?

Iain Not Dale said...

This will end up costing the taxpayer a fortune. The fact that the "Dome Casino" appears a fait accompli and is supported by misrepresentations of members of the public means that a legal challenge to a decision favouring the Dome is inevitable, and likely to succeed.

If planning permission has not been granted, then the development is unauthorised and open to legal proceedings. Will the local authority take enforcement action? If not, will someone take the local authority to court citing maladministration?

Keep up the good work!

chris doidge said...

The sad thing about this story is that - as I argued a few months ago (http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/cdoidge/entry/super-casinos/ ) - the Dome is probably the best natural location for a casino. It's a shame that AEG's dirty tricks (but more the government's propensity to fall for them) make putting the casino in Greenwich a mistake.

Indigo said...

Chris Doidge (9.47pm), I argued a few months ago ... the Dome is probably the best natural location for a casino.

Except it isn't. Your "argument" is based on the price of a one-day travel card and the idea that London will "insulate" (I assume you mean "absorb") the economic effects of gambling. The elephant in the room is the fact that opening a supercasino is an economic and social disaster for the local communities. Google

casino crime

and

grinols mustard 2001

Nick Gulliford said...

I feel let down. Conservativehome said this was more on "Prescott's best mate". I was expecting revelations about Rosie Winterton.