Casino debate continues
Controversy over proposed new casino in Libby Shopping Center
by KLCB 1230 AM Libby News Radio
February 21, 2008
The Libby City Council will meet Monday (February 25) to respond to a request by about 75 area residents for the City to prohibit the establishment of yet another casino in the City limits. A large number of the protestors are non-city residents.
At issue is the proposal of Mitch Fahland and Jim Beasly to open a casino in the Libby Shopping Center under the name of the Libby Moose Lodge, Inc.
The protest purportedly is based on the proximity of the Shopping Center location, and thus the new casino, to the Asa Wood Elementary School. But the proposed location meets the State of Montana Code relative to the closeness of the two, leaving the City Council with a dilemma: Can the City withhold issue of building and business permits for the casino without running contrary to State Law?
There is no current Moose Lodge chartered to Libby. Hasn't been for years. The Moose Hall was razed for a car lot. KLCB spoke with the Loyal Order of the Moose International, February 15, which was working on the new application for a Lodge in Libby that very day. And KLCB spoke with the regional Moose representative, Greg Hanson, who told us that there is no target date for the Lodge. That would depend on how soon the proponents of the new Lodge can recruit the requisite 35 charter members. The Loyal Order of the Moose, we are told, is a members-only, non-profit Fraternal Organization, and is not open to the general public.
To add to the dilemma, should the City refuse to issue the licenses, it will certainly face legal action. The owner of the Libby Shopping Center, Brad Fuller, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, told KLCB, should the protesting group convince the City Council to commit an illegal act by refusing to issue the required permits, he would "consider" his legal options. Brad Fuller, the owner, is an attorney. "We operate on the rule of law in this country," Fuller said, "not on the rule of men". "If Libby operates on the rule of men, then maybe I don't want to be there."
"If they refuse to issue the permits for a legal business, then my business, as a landlord will have been "transgressed upon," he said.
The Council will meet in Council Chambers or, if necessary, the Ponderosa Room at City Hall Monday to deal with the issue.
Story by KLCB 1230 AM Libby News Radio, www.todaysbestcountryonline.com