Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Illinois' Former Top Gambling Official Jilts Missouri

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Illinois' Former Top Gambling Official Jilts Missouri

Article excerpt

The deal is off between the Missouri Gaming Commission and Morton E. Friedman, the former top administrator for riverboat gambling in Illinois.

Friedman dropped out of contract negotiations because he did not want to spend so much time away from his Chicago home, the chairman of the commission, Robert Wolfson, said Tuesday.

Friedman, who resigned Aug. 31 as administrator of the Illinois Gaming Board, could not be reached Tuesday.

"In the end, as Morton considered the arrangements, he couldn't see himself doing that amount of commuting. He was uncomfortable with it," Wolfson said.

The distance did not appear to have been a concern Aug. 12, when Friedman stood beside Missouri Gaming Commission members as they announced plans to hire him.

Wolfson said he believed Friedman did not resign from the Illinois post just to accept the Missouri job. The Missouri announcement came three days after Friedman made his Illinois resignation plan known.

On Tuesday, Wolfson said Friedman was to have worked for Missouri part-time. But last month, Wolfson indicated in a news conference that Friedman was to be the first full-time executive.

One of Friedman's detractors - a powerful politician in Springfield, Ill. - said Tuesday he had heard that Friedman's "arrogant personality" had offended Missouri officials, causing them to rescind the offer. That politician spoke on the condition he not be identified.

Wolfson said that if anyone had been offended, he was not aware of it. "I could not - and I don't believe any commissioner could - put a knock on Morton Friedman," he added.

The sudden shift also raised the question of whether Friedman, credited with using an iron glove to steer Illinois casinos away from potential corruption, decided he would not hold enough control in Missouri. …

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