LEWISTON — A group hoping to set up a casino in Bates Mill No. 5 has received its first batch of corporate donations from an out-of-state company, according to state campaign finance reports.

Green Jobs for ME, a political action committee chaired by Stavros Mendros and formed to support bringing a casino to Bates Mill No. 5, is being partially funded by a Georgia-based maker of slot machines and other gaming equipment, a report on file with the Maine Ethics Commission shows.

Dwayne Graham, chief executive officer of GTSource Corp., a Kennesaw, Ga. company said Friday his company was helping finance the campaign because he liked the concept of revitalizing the mill and making the downtown more vibrant.

Graham also said his company saw the proposed casino as a chance to sell machines in Maine.

“That’s what we would hope, it would be a new market for us to go into,” Graham said. Graham said he visited the city in the spring and summer and liked what he saw, he also liked that much of the revenue from the casino would go to good causes.

“I fell in love with the place,” Graham said. “I’m from a small town myself and I liked that much of the casino revenue would be going back into the community to things like veterans groups, Meals on Wheels and those kind of programs.”

Voters statewide will decide a ballot question in November that, if approved, would legalize a casino with slot machines and table games in Lewiston’s downtown.

So far Green Jobs for ME has been funded by individuals, most of them principal investors in the company that would set up and own the casino, Great Falls Recreation.

Graham said he hoped to help the campaign financially but said he wouldn’t disclose how much.

“We’re looking to help out as much as we can, but I do have a limit and I’m not going to discuss what that is.”

In its Oct. 5 filing Green Jobs for ME reports GTSource donated  $33,200 to the campaign in August and September.

Those donations came in three payments including a $5,000 payment on Aug. 12, a $2,200 payment on Sept. 1 and a $26,000 payment on Sept. 22.

In early October Mendros said that a slot machine manufacturing company would help bankroll the campaign in exchange for the rights to install its machines in the Lewiston casino, were it approved by voters.

Meanwhile another company, Dome Messaging, appears for the first time on the expenditure side of the PAC’s required financial reports.

The reports do not show who owns Dome and the company’s Web site is registered anonymously via a Web-hosting company in Pennsylvania under the first name, “oneanddone.”

According to the reports, Dome was paid $23,500 in planning fees. The company is listed as having an Arlington, Va. address. The address is home to a UPS Store. A clerk at the store said Dome rents a mail box there but state and federal law prevented him from releasing information on who the mail box was rented to. 

A clerk with the state of Virginia’s Corporations Commission said Dome did not appear to hold any official papers of incorporation and was not registered as doing business in Virginia. 

A check with the City of Arlington also showed the company had no business licenses with the city, but a clerk also said if it was operating out of mailbox it would not be required to. The same clerk said if the company was collecting money in Virginia, however, it should be registered with the state for state tax purposes. 

The company’s Web site has only an email address for contact information and a message sent to it was not returned.

Mendros said Friday Dome was hired by the PAC and was based in Arlington, Va. and has been involved in polling and buying advertising time. Mendros said he mostly deals with the company online.

Other reports filed by the PAC in 2011 show that it has been funded largely by private donors and that the bulk of its expenditures were paid to Olympic Consulting, a company owned and operated by Mendros. In 2011 the PAC paid Olympic $25,000 for its services including an $8,000 bonus for the 2010 signature gathering campaign that put the Lewiston casino question on the ballot this fall.

Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert, a spokesman for the PAC, said he was aware GTSource Corp. was going to be donating money and that company representatives had visited Lewiston and toured Bates Mill No. 5.

Gilbert said they toured the building with City Manager Ed Barrett and other city staff liked what they saw but he did not meet personally with Graham or other GTSource executives.

Gilbert reiterated his support of the casino downtown saying for him it was all about bring jobs to Lewiston-Auburn, the region and representing the 66 percent of Lewiston voters who supported the idea to bring a casino to Bates Mill No. 5 in a citywide vote in 2010.

[email protected]


Facebook comments

filed under: