Planned Casino in Richmond, Virginia Leads to Lawsuit
In the middle of June, the Richmond City Council voted 8-1 to choose RVA Entertainment Holdings LLC as the favored option to manage a resort casino within the city. This decision paves the way for a second endeavor to gain city voter support for the casino project. The first attempt at this was made two years ago.
On the other hand, political scientist Paul Goldman thinks that the company's no-bid award may have violated the Virginia Public Procurement Act and a clause of the state constitution. He claimed that he is putting together a case to investigate whether the city needed to hold an auction before granting an indefinite license to that business to run the casino.
The administration of Mayor Levar M. Stoney has asserted that they did not consider it necessary to undergo a bidding process. As they believed that they had the authority to endorse RVA Entertainment Holdings as the preferred choice for operating the casino.
The city recently received approval from the Virginia Lottery, allowing them to proceed with their plans for the casino. Additionally, the company obtained a court order to include the casino proposal on the ballot for the upcoming November 7 general election. This move represents a renewed effort to seek voter approval for the casino project.
Although Goldman advocated for the second vote, he thinks that the potential voters should be informed of certain things. He said that the fact that information had been modified was concealed by local officials. Urban One listed RVA Entertainment Holdings as its sole subsidiary back in 2021; hence, the casino would have been the first in the country to be Black-owned.
Now, the companies are a joint venture. Regardless, a study of their statements reveals that Mayor Stoney's team never informed the council or the general public of that change. According to Goldman, preliminary information he has found suggests that their description might also be incorrect.
The Virginia Lottery was informed that 6% of the equity in the casino will be contributed by other private investors. This means that either both companies will have stakes that are less than the majority or one of the companies will have a lesser stake. However, a 50-50 ownership arrangement cannot be maintained if there are additional investors holding 6% of the equity.
Goldman corroborates his analysis with Article 7, Section 9 of the state constitution. A lawyer with a master's in public administration, he thinks that the city has breached The Virginia Public Procurement Act laws, too, as the VPPA mandates "fair and impartial" conduct in the awarding of contracts.
This is just one of the problems the planned casino is facing. As it already failed once in a ballot initiative, there's a chance it's going to fizzle out once more before the end of the year.