Controversial Figures Selected For Pa. Gaming Board

By Brittany Hundzynski, Contributing Writer

Both parties have something to criticize about their counterparts’ selection for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Bill Ryan

Tom Corbett appointed his First Deputy Attorney General, Bill Ryan, as a member and chairman of the PGCB.

“Bill’s proven integrity and more than three decades of experience as a prosecutor will serve him well as the new chairman of the Gaming Control Board,” said Gov. Corbett.

Ryan held many leadership roles at the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General since 1997 and was twice elected as District Attorney of Delaware County.

Though Republicans find Ryan to be a qualified choice for chairman of the PGCB, Democrats’ opinions differ. The party forwarded a 1992 quote from Ryan in Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Everybody knows that the drug trade in Chester, Philadelphia and Wilmington is controlled by blacks. It’s a truism. It’s geographics and demographics…”

Ryan was attempting to explain the skewed arrest figures in Tinicum Township in which the majority of people being arrested during a six-month period were either black or Hispanic. Ryan’s assertions on the issue have been characterized as inaccurate.

In the way that Democrats do not necessarily approve of Bill Ryan, Republicans also have an issue with the current chairman, Greg Fajt, who was originally appointed by former Governor Ed Rendell and recently reappointed by Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa.

Mr. Fajt has drawn the ire of Republicans for saying that Ryan’s grand jury report on the Gaming Board was a waste of time and resources. The grand jury report was ordered when Fajt allegedly prevented certain experts from testifying to the backgrounds of potential casino operators. In doing so, some have accused the board as a whole of using the selection of which consultants would provide the background checks as leverage to ensure that the contents of the background checks reflected what the Gaming Board wanted to see.

Some insiders believe that forcing two contentious members to work together may lead the board to propose good policy. However, until the board gets to work, any predictions of the boards’ success is hopeful speculation.

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