District Attorney drops perjury charges against Poconos casino owner

Harrisburg – Dauphin County District Attorney Edward Marsico today announced two major developments regarding Louis DeNaples, owner of the Mt. Airy slots casino in Monroe County in the Poconos.

He said that perjury charges against Mr. DeNaples, which were filed in early 2008, are now being dropped, in exchange for Mr. DeNaples, a wealthy Scranton businessman, giving up all ownership in the casino.

„Our primary goal in this investigation was to remove Mr. DeNaples from the gaming industry,“ said Mr. Marsico.

Mr. DeNaples agreed to give up his ownership and control at Mt. Airy and turn over 100 percent of his interest to a trust set up in the name of his adult daughter, Lisa DeNaples. This agreement is subject to approval from the state Gaming Control Board.

Also, Mr. Marsico said the perjury charges against a friend of Mr. DeNaples, the Rev. Joseph F. Sica, a Catholic priest, are being dropped.

Mr. DeNaples issued a statement today saying he is „relieved and gratified“ that Mr. Marsico has „recognized that the charges against me are baseless. I have said from the beginning that I am innocent, and that I have no connection to organized crime, and that’s the truth.“

Mr. DeNaples had been charged with lying under oath about his relationship with an alleged organized crime figure in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Mr. Marsico said his investigation of Mr. DeNaples had uncovered some problems with the casino application process and he is writing to Gov. Ed Rendell and the Legislature about it.

For one thing, convicted felons should be barred from holding any position in the state’s gambling industry, he said. The law now says that anyone convicted of a felony more than 15 years before applying to own or run a casino can still be part of that casino. Some Republican legislators, and now Mr. Marsico, want to remove the 15-year limit. Mr. DeNaples pleaded no contest to a charge in 1978 but that didn’t prevent him from owning the Mt. Airy casino.

Mr. Marsico also recommended that a law enforcement agency, either the state police or the attorney general, do all the background investigations of casino applicants. Now the Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement, a division of the gaming board but not an official law enforcement agency, does much of the investigations.

He also recommended that the governor name all seven gaming board members and that they be confirmed by the Senate. Now, four members are named by legislative leaders and three by the governor.