Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

PA casino regulator switches sides

Frank Donaghue leaves the PA Gaming Control Board to defend and lobby for corporate clients at Ballard Spahr

UPDATED: Frank T. Donaghue is quitting his job at the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to join Philadelphia law firm Ballard Spahr's corporate defense and lobbying practices. "He will focus on matters relating to consumer protection, gaming, and government regulatory and enforcement issues nationwide," the firm said in a statement.

"Frank's experience in consumer protection, in legislative and regulatory affairs, and with the burgeoning gaming industry in the Commonwealth makes him an invaluable asset to the firm," noted John Estey, co-partner in charge of Ballard Spahr's lobbying group and a former top aide to PA's lame-duck Gov. Ed Rendell.

NEW: Donaghue held a string of top jobs for the gambling board. He was chief counsel, "then interim executive director for a year, until June of 2009 when we hired Kevin O'Toole as our permanent executive director. Frank then took a position as Interim Deputy Executive Director," and left it to join Ballard, board spokesman Doug Harbach told me.

EARLIER: Donaghue was previously an aide to GOP Attorneys General Tom Corbett and Mike Fisher. A graduate of Widener Law School, he also clerked for state Supreme Court Justice (now Chief Justice) Ron Castille.

Ballard Spahr represents at least four groups that have applied to operate casinos in Pennsylvania, notes Paul Boni, lawyer for Casino Free Philadelphia. Ballard's clients include Ira Lubert's Valley Forge Convention Center and Partners LP, which has struggled to get an expanded license for its planned King of Prussia gambling hall, against opposition from the folks at rival Parx Casino in Bensalem. Donaghue won't work on those cases, at least in his first year at Ballard, I'm told.