A local investment group has offered to pay $4 million for the bingolicense of a Florida-based businessman whose ties to reputed organized crime figures have made him the target of county efforts to shut him down.
Arundel Amusements would spread out the payment to Bingo World, a Brooklyn Park bingo parlor licensed to Stephen B. Paskind, over the next six years, according to David Plymyer, deputy county attorney.
Attorneys for Bingo World asked the Amusement License Commission Monday to recommend approval to transfer the license to Arundel Amusements.
The principals in Arundel Amusements are Ernest J. Liddy, aMillersville homebuilder, and four partners in a Baltimore law firm -- Price Giellen, Richard Durbin, Michael Quinn and Isaac Neuberger, county officials said.
The transfer of the license, subject to approval by Inspections and Permits Director Robert Dvorak, is currentlybeing reviewed by the county's Amusement License Commission. The seven-member group was appointed in February to make recommendations on bingo operations, as well as carnivals, fairs and coin-operated amusements.
John Klocko III, a Crofton attorney who is acting commission chairman, said commission members were given "3-to-4-inch" thick files detailing the transfer proposal during a two-hour briefing Monday. He said the commission will make its recommendations in three or four weeks.
"We've just touched on it, basically," Klocko said.
The money would not pay for any real estate, but primarily for the license transfer, said James Brew, an assistant to Dvorak.
Bingo World leases its property on Belle Grove Road in Brooklyn Park, Brew said.
Brew said "any reasonable person would assume" that county officials want Paskind out of the bingo business.
He said the issue goes back to the county's 1989 decision to deny Bingo World its license renewal. That decision came after allegations that Paskind, who held the license since 1986, associated with organized crime figures at a bingo hall he owns in Florida.
In October 1990, six reputed mobsters were indicted on charges they laundered money through Bingo World,supplying its principal owner, Paskind, with more than $1 million.
One of the six, Izaak Martin "Red" Silber, 80, pleaded guilty Dec. 5, 1990, in U.S. District Court to arranging an arson at a competing bingo hall. The fire delayed the bingo hall's opening by 20 days.
According to the government's statement of facts submitted with the plea agreement, Silber also arranged meetings in early 1986 among Paskind, who was his partner in a Florida bingo hall, and four others, three of whom would later invest in Bingo World. Paskind was not charged.
The investors then used the bingo hall to launder cash from gambling, loan sharking and interstate theft operations in New York, Chicago and Florida, federal prosecutors charged.
The county has since worked to revamp regulations regarding commercial bingo operations.
County Executive Robert R. Neall created a task force Jan. 4, 1991, to draft new bingo regulations. Its recommendations were enacted into codes that led to the appointment of the amusement licensing commission.