On Thursday, Detroit labor activist Robert Davis filed a formal complaint with the Michigan Gaming Control Board, accusing Cavs and casino owner Dan Gilbert of illegal campaign contributions through a Quicken Loans political action committee (PAC).
It is illegal according to Michigan gaming laws for casino owners to donate to political campaigns.
Now Davis is calling for Gilbert's Michigan gaming license to be revoked after $34,000 was allegedly donated through the Quicken Loans PAC to Detroit mayoral candidate Michael Duggan.
The complaint also alleges the same PAC donated smaller amounts to Detroit City Council members and others.
"Mr. Gilbert's license must be revoked," Robert Davis told WDIV Thursday. "He's trying to buy this election."
Davis' complaint comes on the heels of a Detroit Free Press report on Wednesday, which revealed Quicken Loans also got a refund just last week for a separate $80,000 dollar donation. This donation was made to a super PAC called Turnaround Detroit, which supports the same Detroit mayoral candidate, Michael Duggan.
Richard Chyette, Vice President and Corporate Counsel for Quicken Loans Inc had the following to say about the $80,000 donation to Turnaround Detroit:
"In early August, Quicken Loans sought and received consent from senior staff of the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) regarding a potential contribution to a SuperPAC. In reliance on that consent, Quicken Loans made a contribution to the Turnaround Detroit SuperPAC. In late August, notwithstanding its prior consent, senior staff at the MGCB requested that Quicken Loans withdraw the contribution pending a formal opinion from the Michigan Attorney General. In response to that request, Quicken Loans immediately asked for, and was issued, a full refund from the SuperPAC."
A spokeswoman for Gilbert also sent WKYC the following statement in response to Davis' complaint filed Thursday:
"This claim is baseless and has no merit. There is no violation of any Michigan gaming law or regulation. The PAC in question is an independent legal entity. In addition, no person regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGBC) has contributed to this PAC during calendar years 2011, 2012 or 2013. Likewise, no person regulated by the MGCB is an officer or director of the PAC." - Lennise Stephens, Midwest Strategy Group, Designated Record-Keeper for Quicken Loans PAC-Michigan
According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board:
"The Michigan Gaming Control Board received a complaint at 0930 today alleging political contributions by a Quicken Loans PAC. The complaint is currently under investigation and we are unable to comment during the investigative process."
Michigan and Ohio have very different gaming laws, and according to a spokesman at the Ohio Elections Commission neither Mr. Gilbert nor Quicken Loans have had any complaints or investigations levied in Ohio to date.