Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
STATE COP'S ARREST STORY DIFFERS FROM GILBERT'S VERSION
Submitted by Roldo on Fri, 10/30/2009 - 15:19.
A former Michigan state trooper tells a different story of Dan Gilbert’s arrest on operation of gambling business than the Cavs owner has been peddling to the news media. Gilbert has made it seem a minor episode, best forgotten.
Gilbert, a billionaire of the mortgage business and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has been a lead proponent of a monopoly casino issue on the November ballot. Issue 3 will give Gilbert a monopoly casino in Cleveland.
A lieutenant detective tells of the arrest of Gilbert when he was a Michigan student. He posed as the father of a gambling debtor. He said a victim told him of a strong-armed threat unless he paid. He also linked a car filled with manure to the betting business as a method of forcing collections of gambling debts.
The detective, John Fiedler recorded the meeting with Gilbert when he went to pay the debt. He said he was shown a ledger with betting data with pages of bets made, some as high as $1,000 or more.
Here is his statement in full:
My name is John Fiedler, and I was a member of the Michigan Department of State Police for 25 years.
In 1981, while I was a Detective Lieutenant in charge of the organized crime unit, the East Lansing Police asked my unit to assist them with a criminal investigation into an illegal bookmaking operation that eventually led to the arrest of Dan Gilbert.
I have read Mr. Gilbert’s explanation of what happened that day. I’m here to tell you what really happened.
East Lansing Police received a complaint from a young man who owed a significant amount of money to the bookies. It was over $1000 but I cannot remember the exact amount.
After interviewing the victim, I had him call and say that his father planned to pay his debt and arrange a meeting between the bookies and his dad. I posed as the young man’s father and entered an off-campus house where I met two men. One of them was Dan Gilbert, and Dan Gilbert did all the talking.
I was wearing a hidden recorder and transmitter and I asked him why he believed that my “son” owed him so much money. The other man left the room and returned with a ledger. He showed me all of the bets that he had made – and I got to see lists of bets that others had made. I do not remember the number of bets but several pages of the ledger book were filled.
There were $10 bets, $100 bets and even some $1,000 bets.
The victim had personally told me that Mr. Gilbert had grabbed him and pushed him up against the wall, making threats that he had better pay up. Another police officer who worked on the case said one victim who did not pay had his car filled with manure and it contained a letter threatening bodily harm.
I asked Mr. Gilbert why he felt the need to threaten my “son” and he told me that he was owed the money and my “son” refused to pay.
So I paid him the money, signaled to the East Lancing Police, and they entered the house and arrested both men.
I understand that the voters of Ohio have a big decision to make on Tuesday. When I learned Mr. Gilbert’s characterization of what happened back in 1981, I agreed to tell the people of Ohio what really transpired. Mr. Gilbert was part of a serious, organized bookmaking ring that threatened some of its victims with violence.
I am also here today because I learned that some members of Ohio’s law enforcement community believe that Issue 3 would severely limit the scope and authority of law enforcement over owners and investors of Ohio’s casinos. Based on my police experience in investigating crimes of this nature, I completely agree with concerns raised by the Ohio law enforcement community. Casinos are the type of industry that demands tough, impartial and complete oversight.
I am not here to tell Ohio voters how to vote on Issue 3. I am here to try and make sure Ohio voters have the facts they need to make an informed choice.