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Howe Caverns Casino Owner: A Past of Child Abuse, Election Fraud, Ponzi Scheme Involvement

Written By Editor on 7/2/14 | 7/2/14

The Howe Caverns Resort and Casino announced earlier this week, to much fanfare and media coverage, its formal application filing to the New York State Gaming Commission for consideration of one of the four casino gaming licenses to be awarded this fall in Upstate, New York. 

Additionally, the proposed gaming facility announced that Michael J. Malik Sr. - a nationally known casino developer and founder of MJM Enterprises and Development - will serve as the project's owner and operator in conjunction with Full House Resorts, a development firm. 

However, upon extensive research of Mr. Malik's financial and political background, the Schoharie News has uncovered several disturbing items of note concerning the casino magnate's past dealings; many of which raise serious questions over how he was selected to head the casino project.

Among the more alarming discoveries: 
  • The Fifth Third Bank, a Michigan banking corporation, filed an official complaint against Mr. Malik on February 2nd, 2009 for allegedly failing to repay over $990,000 in monies the defendant borrowed through a line of credit in April of 2007. 
  • In April, 2009 the Securities and Exchange Commission reached a $170,000.00 settlement with Mr. Malik for his role participating in a $2.1 million 2006 Florida based ponzi scheme by John Upstick's Worldwide Entertainment, Inc.
  • California's Fair Political Practices Commission has fined Mr. Malik twice for a total of $10,500 for violating California's political reform laws. The casino magnate reportedly failed to report more than $50,000 in political contributions.
Mr. Malik was also found guilty of firing a weapon too close to occupied residences during a 2007 hunt in Arizona, and he has had thousands returned in political donations he made to New York State officials in the run up to a contentious casino bid on Long Island.

Perhaps worst of all, Malik was arrested and served a year of probation in 1997 for assaulting his then girlfriend's twelve year old son with a wooden hockey stick. According to The Detroit News, Mr. Malik chased the boy into the street outside the family's home and started beating the child. 

The Michigan Gaming Control Board was at the time investigating Malik and other investors in a local casino project to determine if they had the moral character and business deportment to hold a gaming license. Mr. Malik was later forced to sell his share of the project after the board ruled against him. 

With Howe Caverns $450 million proposal heading to the state for its final decision, it is not known how Mr. Malik's questionable past will affect the casino's odds before the state gaming commission, although it does raise doubts over the project's competency in selecting credible business partners. 
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