HARRISBURG - A former state gambling investigator and the brother of a northeastern Pennsylvania slot-machine casino owner showed up yesterday at grand jury proceedings looking into whether the casino owner told the truth to gambling regulators.
The grand jury resumed the investigation into Louis A. DeNaples after waiting for three months while the state Supreme Court considered protests by DeNaples' lawyers over the county prosecutors' conduct and their authority to investigate the matter.
DeNaples, a wealthy businessman who has interests in landfills and auto parts and chairs his own bank, opened the $412 million Mount Airy Casino Resort in October.
In recently unsealed court documents, Dauphin County prosecutors say the grand jury's investigation "has uncovered substantial evidence demonstrating that DeNaples lied in his sworn testimony" to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. At hand is the question of whether DeNaples has ties to organized crime figures, prosecutors said in the documents.
Michael Schwoyer, the former deputy chief counsel for investigations and enforcement for the gaming board, appeared at the grand jury meeting at the Dauphin County Courthouse. He did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment later yesterday.
While with the board, Schwoyer was responsible for telling regulators whether each applicant, including DeNaples, had cleared a background investigation into their business dealings, personal finances and relationships, including any ties to organized crime.
DeNaples' youngest brother, Eugene DeNaples, also appeared with his attorney, J. Alan Johnson, a former federal prosecutor from Pittsburgh. Neither man responded to reporters' questions as they left the grand jury room.
What the witnesses told the grand jury, if anything, is unclear because the panel meets in secret.
The grand jury has issued a subpoena to compel testimony from Louis DeNaples, although he has not been seen entering or leaving the grand jury room, which is closed to the public.