Iowa regulators sued over decision to reject proposed Cedar Rapids casino


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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A former Linn County attorney is suing the Iowa Racing Gaming Commission for rejecting the proposed Cedar Rapids casino.

Gene Kopecky said Thursday that he wants the Linn County District Court to make the commission reconsider its decision and approve a license.

Commission administrator Brian Ohorilko said Friday that the commission and its legal counsel are aware of the lawsuit but that he could not comment until he has had a chance to review the filing.

On April 17 the commission rejected the $164 million proposal, saying it would harm existing casinos. Supporters of the Cedar Crossing Casino development said it would give an economic boost to Cedar Rapids, the region and local charities, which under Iowa law share in the profits. Supporters said it would be a catalyst for development in an area ravaged by a 2008 flood.

But representatives of casinos in Dubuque, Riverside and Waterloo fought the plan, saying it would steal their business.

Kopecky told Cedar Rapids television station KGAN ( ) that the commission doesn't have authority to refuse to issue a license in one county because the new casino might harm a casino in another county. He said that by protecting the profits of other casinos, the commission could be violating state laws against restraint of trade and the creation of monopolies.

The commission's decision also flouted the wishes of Linn County voters who had approved the proposed project, he said.

"I can't believe that the law is written to nullify the vote of the people, or why would they give that vote to the people in the first place," Kopecky said.

Information from: KGAN-TV,

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