Improper Tax Giveaways by Seneca County IDA

There are 2 major issues with the way Lago has worked with Seneca County’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA).

1. WIlmot Mislead Gaming Commission

Wilmot misled the Gaming Commission when it said it had all of its financing in place as of its application date.  Then, in June, Wilmot and partners told a totally different story to the Seneca County IDA.

Which of these is true? Wilmot tells a different story to each Governmental Agency:

“With 100 percent of financing for construction and operations fully in place, Lago Resort & Casino’s gaming facility can be completely constructed in 18 months.”  – Lago Resort & Casino Application to New York State Gaming Commission, March 30, 2014

or “…a Tax Agreement to provide payment certainty is a critical path item for financing.” – Lago Resort & Casino Application to Seneca County IDA, Feb 6, 2015

2. Major Conflicts of Interest, undisclosed.

The Wilmot-Seneca County legal relationship presents an unacceptable appearance of impropriety, if not outright violation of ethical standards.

  • Lago’s local counsel, Harris Beach, acts as Agency Counsel for the Seneca County IDA. While the IDA apparently hired a local attorney to handle the Lago transaction, their own Agency Counsel is appearing before the IDA on behalf of Lago, refusing to recuse himself. Lago has demanded a reduction in the normal IDA fee and a deviation from the tax exemption policy – and the IDA is negotiating this with their own counsel, the man who wrote the fee and exemption policies, on the other side of the table.
  • And hiding the ball is not limited to Lago’s state application. Lago’s IDA application does not disclose Lago’s law firm’s conflict of interest.
  • Also not disclosed at the time Seneca County assented to the Lago application, Lago’s law firm was also serving as Seneca County’s outside counsel!