The City Council revoked the operating license of Silver Saddle Casino owner Charles R. King this week, only hours after his fledgling card club corporation filed a bankruptcy petition in hopes of forestalling the action.
Mayor Joseph Graffio joined Councilmen John O. Robertson and Thomas Thurman in approving two separate motions to withdraw King's license because the businessman had allegedly failed to live up to an agreement he signed after gambling was legalized in 1982.
Councilman Gabriel Zippi abstained on both votes, plus a third revocation measure that failed because Thurman also abstained. The council had voted on three separate measures so that if any one was later invalidated by a lawsuit, another would still block King from operating.
Councilman Wilfred Colon excused himself from the entire proceedings because he had once been King's partner in the casino venture.
"As far as the city is concerned, all the avenues (of administrative appeal) have been ended," City Manager Gerald Caton said.
Gaming Law Upheld by Voters
"The sole card club license is now vacant in the city," he said, and no one else "has shown any interest" in applying for it.
In a referendum last spring, voters failed by only a few ballots to outlaw card clubs altogether.
King could not be reached for comment. Nor could attorney James L. Rosenberg, who Caton said filed a bankruptcy court petition for King's Tanlo Inc. seeking protection against creditors.
Such petitions typically warn creditors not to take any action that would prevent an ailing firm from having an opportunity to reorganize and pay its debts. But Caton said that city attorneys decided that would not preclude the council from going ahead with the license revocation proceedings.
Although city officials say that King has not followed several requirements in his city license agreement, the council mainly acted on Tanlo's failure to pay at least $10,000 to the city in August as its share of casino revenues.
The tiny, five-table card club, at Wilcox Avenue and Patata Street, has been closed for several months for remodeling, King has said. City officials have long been disappointed that it has not grown into a larger, more lucrative venture.