HARRISBURG - Northeastern Pennsylvania businessman Louis A. DeNaples proposed new candidates for a committee that will monitor the finances of his planned casino even as a grand jury said to be investigating him met yesterday.
DeNaples submitted three new names for the audit committee after being told by state gambling regulators that they were looking for people who have more gambling and financial experience than those he originally chose.
The proposed new committee members are Bradford S. Smith, a former top gambling regulator in New Jersey; Robert D. Peloquin, a former federal prosecutor; and Barbara A. Lang, a former casino auditor in New Jersey, state officials said.
DeNaples owns Mount Airy Casino Resort in the Poconos, which is scheduled to open Oct. 15.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which required the audit committee as a condition for DeNaples' obtaining a gambling license, must still approve the new members. Also up for approval is former federal prosecutor Sal Cognetti, whose name DeNaples submitted earlier this month.
Yesterday, two witnesses leaving the grand jury meeting room in the Dauphin County Courthouse said they were asked about DeNaples.
One of them, Shawn Fordham, headed a Philadelphia task force created by Mayor Street that studied prospective casino sites and made recommendations to the gaming board. He said that he did not know DeNaples or why he was called to testify, and that he also was asked about the processes and people involved in casinos.
A person familiar with the probe has told the Associated Press that the grand jury is looking into information on DeNaples that grew out of a long state and federal investigation into alleged Scranton-area mobster William D'Elia.
Spokesman Kevin Feeley said DeNaples has no ties to organized crime. "He's been unfairly maligned with these kinds of accusations and in the end, everybody is going to come to the same conclusion, which is, there's no basis for them - they're not true," Feeley said.