In a scathing 102-page report Tuesday, a state grand jury slammed the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a patronage-filled, secretive agency that failed to safeguard the public by inadequately investigating casino operators and vendors, and succumbing to political pressure.

The two-year investigation by the grand jury in Allegheny County focused, in part, on hiring practices, the completeness of background checks and suitability reports on applicants for gaming licenses.

The chairman of the gaming board, Greg Fajt, said the report was a rehash of "old news" that did not prove any wrongdoing by the board or its employees.

"The board has steadfastly and repeatedly said that we did our work well, we have protected the public, and the citizens of Pennsylvania are reaping tremendous dividends from out work," he said.

"After this grand jury met for more than two years, there were no arrests, no presentments, no indictments," Fajt said in a statement. "They found no criminal activity because there was, in fact, no criminal activity to be found."

The grand jury made 21 recommendations, including spinning off the main investigatory arms of the gaming board - the Office of Enforcement Counsel and the Bureau of Investigations and Enforcement - into a separate law enforcement agency.

Contact Jennifer Lin at 215-854-5659 or jlin@phillynews.com
To read the grand jury's report, go to: http://go.philly.com/gamingboard