Indiana casino executive faces 20 years in prison over illegal campaign scheme
By Bob Garcia
The current executive VP of Spectacle Entertainment conspired to circumvent political contribution laws
A case of illegal funding to a former state lawmaker’s congressional campaign has one top executive of an Indiana casino company possibly facing prison time and another one resigning his position. A federal investigation has uncovered allegations that corporate money was illegally funneled to the unsuccessful political campaign of former Republican Senator Brent Waltz. The indictment was announced on Tuesday and it involves Spectacle Entertainment’s executive VP, John Keeler.
According to the federal indictment, more than $25,000 went to Waltz’s 2016 campaign in an illegal manner. The investigation became public in January right after a political consultant pleaded guilty in Virginia for the arrangements he made to get campaign checks for Waltz, which were done with casino company money that came from a fake contract for political work. Those now charged with being involved are looking at as many as 25 years in prison and massive financial penalties. However, Keeler, who is 71, most likely will never see that much time behind bars.
Due to the investigation, Indiana casino officials requested both Keeler and fellow Spectacle executive Rod Ratcliff to resign their ownership rights in the planned $125 million Terre Haute casino project; however, a business partner was allowed to continue with the project. According to the Indiana Gaming Commission, speaking on Keeler’s case on Tuesday, his casino license was suspended, and the regulatory office is investigating the action of Spectacle and others involved. “This matter is extremely serious,” commission executive director Sara Gonso Tait said. “The ability for this company to continue to hold an Indiana gaming license is in question.”