The Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed a victory to Nemacolin Woodlands Resort on Aug. 21 when it upheld the decision to grant a casino license to Joe Hardy, the founder of both Nemacolin and 84 Lumber.
The connection between the two businesses was factored into an objection raised by Mason-Dixon Resorts, which wanted to build its own casino but lost out when the Pennsylvania Gaming Board awarded Nemacolin the only slot machine license.
Mason-Dixon claimed that the close relationship of Nemacolin to 84 Lumber, which it accused of being financially unstable, made Nemacolin a poor choice for the license. The court disagreed.
Hardy also won the legal skirmish over background checks, which Mason-Dixon claimed were inadequate and “failed to reveal various problems.”
Without getting into specifics because of confidentiality, the appellate judges said they looked into the “allegations of wrongdoings by a principal of [Nemacolin], specifically Joseph Hardy, the crux of which was determined to be unsupported. All records of the alleged incident were expunged. No criminal prosecution was pursued and no conviction resulted.” Gaming board investigators examined other evidence, and the board heard testimony during closed sessions, the judges noted. “We find neither a violation of the “prudent man” rule nor a capricious disregard of the evidence.
The appellate judges also decreed that, although both Nemacolin and 84 Lumber are owned by a family trust, a financial review of the application was able to determine that “any alleged financial instability of 84 Lumber would not undermine the financial suitability of the proposed [Nemacolin] gaming facility.”
Barring any other appeals, the ruling clears the way for Nemacolin casino, which will feature 600 slot machines and 28 gaming tables, as well as a restaurant and lodge, to open in 2013. It will be named “Lady Luck.”