Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2004 | 10:44 a.m.
Petition gatherer sentenced
LEWISTON, Idaho -- A Lewiston woman accused of forging signatures on a pro-gambling petition will serve at least six months in jail.
Carol E. Johnson, 46, of Lewiston, was sentenced last week by 2nd District Judge Jeff Brudie for falsifying a voter petition calling for gaming electronics at horse racing tracks. She was ordered to pay $12,732 in restitution.
The gambling petition, which needed signatures from 41,000 registered Idaho voters, won't make it to the November ballot. It was withdrawn by supporters in April. It would have allowed Idaho horse racing tracks to feature the same type of video lottery machines used by Indian-owned casinos.
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has contended the "racinos" petition was unconstitutional.
Nez Perce County Prosecutor Dan Spickler said he believed Johnson forged the signatures of as many as 200 county voters. She may have been motivated by a $1.25 bounty for each signature paid by the gambling interests supporting the petition drive.
Casino operator narrows loss
Archon Corp. narrowed its loss while revenue declined for the Las Vegas company that owns the Pioneer hotel-casino in Laughlin.
The company reported a loss of $1.2 million, or 19 cents a share, on revenue of $11.1 million for the fiscal third quarter ended June 30. For the same period a year ago, Archon showed a loss of $2.8 million, 45 cents a share, on revenue of $11.5 million.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company attributed a flattening in revenue at the Pioneer in recent quarters to increased competition from tribal casinos in California and Arizona. The company said revenue at the Pioneer was flat at $7.9 million for both the 2004 and 2003 quarters.
The company also said it restructured debt on capital leases acquired in December.
The company acknowledged in the SEC filing that in July it had given the operators of the Wet 'n Wild waterpark six months to vacate 27 acres just south of the Sahara hotel-casino for future development. Waterpark operator Palace Entertainment said last week that it had been given a lease termination notice that would result in the closure of the park at the end of the current season.
The filing said Archon "continues to consider various alternatives relative to the possible future development on this land."