THE PUSHER MAN
• Paul Godfrey, chair of the Board of Directors, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. The guy pushing a casino on Toronto's waterfront has a history of gambling on the next big thing and leaving taxpayers to foot the bill. See SkyDome. The patron saint of controversial causes, you might call him, is also chair of the board of trustees for RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust, the biggest land wheeler dealer in the country. Godfrey didn't look too far when searching for a new CEO at OLG, his board appointing his bud from Mel Lastman daze, Rod Phillips, the former mayor's chief of staff. Also on Godfrey's board at OLG is Lastman's son Dale.
• Rod Phillips, OLG president and CEO Godfrey's right-hand man in his gambling adventures made a name for himself in the private sector after leaving politics. Among the business connections forged along the way: Toronto-based Clairvest, a private equity investment firm with financial interests in casinos and racetracks in Chile, New Brunswick, Alberta, Illinois and New Jersey.
Jamie Besner, VP of municipal affairs, Sussex Strategy Group
Sussex's point man at City Hall is one of four company lobbyists on the casino file for MGM. No major issue has been debated at City Hall in the last seven years that the former Mel Lastman exec assistant and campaign director hasn't had a lobbying hand in.
The lobbyist registry indicates that Besner has held 27 face-to-face meetings with 14 different councillors or their staff in the last month. He's also met once with the mayor and six times with the mayor's senior staffers.
Alan Slobodsky, development consultant, Slobodsky Associates
Another backroom boy from amalgamation days of wheeling and dealing at City Hall under Mel Lastman, Slobodsky has been hired by the Canadian Gaming Association.
Hate to bring up more dirty laundry, but it was under Slobodsky's watch that the Lastman regime almost handed over the keys to Union Station to Mel's friends. Both Godfrey and the aforementioned Dale Lastman figured behind the scenes in that near-catastrophe.
William Rutsey, president and CEO, Canadian Gaming Association
Authored the blueprint for Ontario's casino gaming industry when he was a consultant with Coopers & Lybrand in the 90s, and recently registered as an in-house lobbyist at City Hall. Has been involved in the business side of gambling for years, as CEO of a number of private companies involved in the planning, development and managment of gaming businesses in Ontario, Las Vegas and internationally. Rutsey urged executive committee members to "get the facts." Thinks government is already doing enough when it comes to helping those with gambling addictions.