The Association of U S West Retirees



Anschutz bid on top
Prescott tiff hasn't hurt Denver billionaire's effort to build casino complex
By Joyzelle Davis
Rocky Mountain News
Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The controversy surrounding Phil Anschutz's meetings with U.K. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott apparently didn't harm his London redevelopment project's bid for a supercasino license.  The Millennium Dome site, which Anschutz is transforming into an entertainment complex, leads the short list for proposed venues for England's sole Las Vegas-style casino, the Casino Advisory Panel said Monday.  The Greenwich site earned a score of 67 out of 80, beating out bids by the cities of Glasgow and Blackpool.

Critics accused Prescott of holding secret meetings with Anschutz while a company tied to the Qwest founder was applying for permission to open a casino at the Millennium Dome.  A Greenwich redevelopment group applied for the license for the casino, which would be run by Bahamas-based gaming company Kerzner International.

Kerzner will lease space from the Millennium Dome if the casino plans win approval.

Eight sites are vying for the license.  Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell will make a final recommendation by the end of the year.

Anschutz's redevelopment plans for the Thames River site, which includes a 23,000-seat concert arena, movie theaters and restaurants, counts on winning the casino license to provide an anchor tenant.

Anschutz spokesman Jim Monaghan didn't return a call for comment.

The British media reported this month that Anschutz had met Prescott at least seven times, including a two-night stay at Anschutz's Greeley-area ranch.  Anschutz also gave Prescott articles of Western clothing worth about $1,350.

An inquiry by a parliamentary committee determined last week that Prescott violated ethics rules by not immediately disclosing the stay at Anschutz's ranch.  But the committee said no action should be taken against Prescott, who belatedly registered the trip.

Prescott has steadfastly denied a conflict of interest, saying he has no influence over the casino licensing process.

Western hospitality backfires

The gift that earned U.K. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott taunts of "howdy" in the House of Commons isn't destined for a permanent place in his closet, according to the Guardian newspaper.  Prescott declined to keep Anschutz's $1,350 gift of a Stetson, boots, spurs, belt buckle and leather-bound notebook, the paper reported.  Prescott wore the outfit while visiting Anschutz's ranch last year.  Prescott opted to not purchase the gifts, which are being held by his department.  Under British rules, ministers must declare gifts that are worth more than 140 pounds (about $260) and can keep them only if they pay the government the cost of each item.,2777,DRMN_23910_4867801,00.html