Bingo World allowed to transfer license

June 17, 1994|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Sun Staff Writer

The owners of a Brooklyn Park bingo hall may renew their operating license and transfer it to another investment, under a ruling yesterday by an Anne Arundel Circuit judge.

Judge Eugene M. Lerner's opinion, released yesterday, overturns an earlier ruling by the county Board of Appeals. Judge Lerner ruled that the board had acted "arbitrarily, illegally and capriciously" in March when it denied Bingo World's application for license renewal.

The board rejected the application because it believed the investment group, Arundel Amusements, would let Stephen B. Paskind, Bingo World's principal owner, stay involved in the operation as a creditor.

Transferring the license from Bingo World to Arundel Amusements was part of a sale that called for Arundel Amusements to pay Mr. Paskind $4.1 million over five years.

The payments were to be made monthly, the board said.

Mr. Paskind has been linked to organized crime in testimony before the U.S. Senate. In 1992, several of his associates were convicted in U.S. District Court in Baltimore of funneling profits from gambling, loan-sharking, robbery and other enterprises through Bingo World.

Mr. Paskind was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1990 indictments of six organized-crime figures who admitted using the bingo parlor to launder money. The county has been trying to close Bingo World since 1989, when Mr. Paskind's alleged ties to organized crime became public.

Although the law requires that each owner and all managerial employees of the licensed company be of "sound moral character" and have no associations with individuals known "to have engaged in organized crime or racketeering," Judge Lerner ruled that the board did not find anyone connected with Arundel Amusements Inc. to be engaged in those activities.

In his 13-page ruling, Judge Lerner said the lease agreement is between Arundel Amusements and Arundel Arena.

Bingo World is not part of this agreement, he said.

Arundel Amusements will pay rent to Arundel Arena. Mr. Paskind has no rights under the lease and "has nothing to do with the business of Arundel Amusements," Judge Lerner wrote in the opinion.

Judge Lerner did order that Stephen Bronstein, vice president of Bingo World, not have any involvement with the parlor. Mr. Bronstein supervises Bingo World's bookkeeping.

According to the ruling, Mr. Bernstein has testified to the board about his and Mr. Paskind's investment in Bingo World, about an embezzlement and an illegal charity game that occurred at the parlor without his knowledge. However, the board found his testimony was not credible.

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