Penn National Gaming battles MRHD over allocation of gaming revenue
DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) -
The Argosy's owner and non-profit met in court Friday.
But this battle isn't over where the next casino will be built.
It's over who should handle the gaming revenue that goes back to the community.
A judge heard both sides of an issue involving Penn National Gaming, the ultimate owner of the Argosy Casino, and the Missouri River Historical Development.
The Argosy Casino rakes in $1.8 million a year in gambling revenue. The contract between owner Penn National Gaming and MRHD, the non-profit license holder, required three percent of that money be paid to MRHD in monthly payments.
But Penn stopped paying that money a few months ago. It claims MRHD isn't using the money for its intended purpose, charity. MRHD disagrees.
"In the last five years, over 30% of the money has not been distributed to charity. It's either piled up in a war chest that MRHD maintains in its bank accounts or it's been paid to lawyers to do the work of trying to run the Argosy boat out of town," said Mark Weinhardt, Penn National Gambling's Lawyer.
"We aren't wasting that money. That money is being spent very carefully, and we have a board that approves all expenditures. So it's not a matter of some of it slipping through the cracks. It's all there and it's been spent," said Mark Monson, MRHD.
MRHD claims it hasn't received about $250,000 that should have been given to them, no questions asked.
"This is an action of the IRGC, and moving this whole thing under operation of the law," said Monson.
Penn National says there are questions whether the two are still in a contract. They believe they have an agreement through 2015, but MRHD is partnering with a new casino operator to build the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
"The contract is the only document, it's the only thing that speaks to where the 3 percent goes," said Weinhardt.
Until contract dispute is over, Penn wants a third party to hold the money.
There's no timetable for the judge to rule on whether a third party is needed.