Andy Sanborn Argues State Incompetence as He Fights for Casino License

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A hearing to determine whether Andy Sanborn deserves to retain his New Hampshire casino license finally began on Monday. His lawyers asserted during the hearing that the entire case against their client is based on incompetence on the part of the state.

Shifting Responsibility

The former state senator, who didn't attend the hearing, denies the claim that he used $844,000 from COVID-19 relief funds to purchase sports cars and settle an extensive mortgage. During the inquiry, which took place at the Concord office of the Department of Safety, one of his attorneys lodged accusations against attorneys from the Department of Justice and the enforcement division of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission, claiming that their investigation was severely mishandled. Mark Knights confidently stated that the allegations against Sanborn could be effortlessly disproven.

Leila McDonough, the primary auditor for the New Hampshire Lottery Commission, is providing testimony for the state. She testified that a thorough examination in 2022 revealed questionable activity, prompting her to voice her concerns to her bosses.

McDonough testified that upon discovering two Porsches, a Ferrari and $40,000 labeled as business expenses on Sanborn's 2022 audited income statement, she promptly informed her superior about the concerning situation. Similarly, Sanborn faces allegations of having paid himself almost $200,000 as rental fees for the casino, just after his COVID-19 relief loan had been deposited into his personal account.

Questionable Payments and Fast Cars

Win, Win, Win LLC, a Sanborn-owned LLC, is listed as the owner of the casino, while The Best Revenge LLC, another Sanborn-owned LLC, owns the property under the casino and a restaurant, The Draft. According to the existing agreement from 2018, Win, Win, Win LLC has an obligation to deliver monthly payments of $500 in rent to The Best Revenge. However, McDonough revealed that as soon as the COVID-19 relief funds became available, Win, Win, Win began paying between $15,000 and $30,000 a month.

Those payments, according to Sanborn's legal team, were for upgrades to the property, including an expansion of the gaming floor. The lawyers assert that the state has refused to conduct a proper investigation and that, if it had, it would have realized the true nature of the payments.

Knights recognized that there may be an issue about the validity of the COVID-19 payments. However, he asserted that Sanborn accepted them only after being advised that the casino was eligible. While this may have been wrong, it doesn't amount to fraud, asserted the lawyer.

According to Zachary Hafer, another lawyer representing Sanborn, any expenditures that McDonough and her associates deemed questionable have been validly justified. He argued that McDonough only examined the financial statements for the year, thereby creating an inaccurate representation of the situation. Hafer asserted that Sanborn's tax returns for 2021 and 2022 accurately accounted for all the funds in question.

The hearing will continue this week.

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