Bernews Correction To Complaint Story

July 2, 2016

[Updated: This story has been updated to reflect the complaint  was filed one year ago, which should have been made clear originally. Bernews apologizes for this.]


Last year, a group called Examine California filed a complaint last year with California’s Fair Political Practice Commission alleging that Richard Schuetz “failed to properly report worldwide travel over a span of three years.”

Mr Schuetz previously served a commissioner for the California Gambling Control Commission, and is now the Executive Director of the Bermuda Gaming Commission.

The statement from Examine California said, “A complaint was filed today with California’s Fair Political Practice Commission alleging that California State Gambling Control Commissioner Richard Schuetz has failed to properly report worldwide travel over a span of three years.

“The complaint, filed by a group called Examine California, investigated travel receipts, email correspondence, and other publicly obtained documents with Commissioner Schuetz’s Form 700s.

“Examine California’s mission is to hold elected and appointed leaders of California responsible for the job in which they have been either elected to fill or, in this case, appointed to fill,” said Jason Krause, Founder of Examine California.

“Commissioner’s Schuetz’s alleged willful disregard to report these worldwide trips raises suspicion over his trustworthiness to carry out the position in which he was appointed.”

“Over the course of three years, Commissioner Schuetz spanned the globe in some official state capacity. From China to Montreal and the Isle of Mann to New Orleans, Commissioner Schuetz has allegedly failed to report some 24 known trips on his statement of economic interest.

“California’s gambling industry has exploded over the last decade. A report commissioned in 2014 estimated that the total economic impact that Tribal Gaming alone in the state of California generated in excess of $8 billion. In fact, three of the top-10 political contributors in the state of California are Tribal Casinos.

“Perhaps these are simple omissions by the commissioner, however, we feel that his recent comments in legislative committees and his active meeting with powerful gambling interests are all related.

According to their website, Examine California is a “grassroots organization created to highlight the rampant and growing disregard from California’s elected and appointed officials who fail to serve their office with dignity and respect.”

Update July 11, 4.50pm: The Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission today took umbrage with this story, as well as the version by another media, saying the complaint was filed in 2015, and noting that “during his ten-month tenure with the Commission, Richard has demonstrated the incredible depth of knowledge and experience” and added that they all ”believe that Richard is a man of utmost integrity” and “is beyond doubt that he is the best person for the job to help Bermuda introduce well-regulated integrated resort casinos on the Island.”

Alan Dunch, Chairman of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission, today responded on behalf of the Commission to recent articles published by print and electronic media outlets in Bermuda.

As it pertains to us, Mr Dunch said, “ recently posted on their website a story entitled – Complaint Filed In California: Richard Schuetz. The story is dated July 2, 2016 and contains the following quote: ‘A complaint was filed today with California’s Fair Political Practice Commission alleging that California State Gambling Control Commissioner Richard Schuetz had failed to properly report worldwide travel over a span of three years.’

“We believe that the title of this story, followed by the date of July 2, 2016, and followed by the above quote is erroneous and deceptive. The vast majority of the article, including the above noted quote, was copied from an Examine California Press Release that was dated July 23, 2015. Bernews has taken a story that is essentially one year old and presented it in a way that suggests that it is current.

“In truth, the original story, which is one containing allegations only, has been in the public domain for almost a year and was concocted prior to Mr. Schuetz being employed by the Commission. It is also the case that neither Mr. Schuetz nor any member of the Commission was contacted before the publication of this story. We would request that Bernews provide a retraction, a correction and an apology to Mr. Schuetz.”

The Commission is correct is noting that Bernews did not make the date clear, and while we linked to the organisation’s website so all information could be accessed, that was not enough, and it would have been far more ideal to make clear the date the complaint was filed and the release was originally posted online and apologize to Mr. Schuetz and the Commission.

It should also be noted the title and introduction sentence above has been subsequently changed to reflect the timing — which it should have done so at first!

On the topic, Mr Dunch continued, “We also find it interesting that this organization brands itself as ‘a grassroots organization created to highlight the rampant disregard from California’s elected and appointed officials who fail to serve their office with dignity and respect‘ but has apparently only generated one series of press releases and one Fair Political Practices Commission complaint in its entire existence, and these were all directed at Mr. Schuetz.”

“It therefore appears to the Commission that the mission of this organization seems more dedicated to making allegations against Mr. Schuetz than ‘Keeping Elected Officials Honest.”

“Regarding the information featured in the press releases of the entity known as Examine California, I have the following comments: On July 16, 2015 Mr. Schuetz forwarded to me an email containing a press release that a reporter had sent to him.

“Mr. Schuetz and I had been discussing contract terms and conditions prior to this time, and we had not signed an agreement. Mr. Schuetz indicated that he did not understand the statements in the press release and had never been contacted by anyone regarding these issues. He further stated that should I so desire that he would withdraw his name from consideration for the position of Executive Director.

“Over the course of the next week I spoke with and made extensive inquiries of Richard’s references, initiated a confidential investigation by a consultant serving the Commission, and was able to establish a series of confidential conversations with senior California state officials who had worked with him while he was in government service.

“I discussed my findings with my fellow Commissioners, and on the basis that all of my inquiries gave me no cause for concern I entered into an employment contract on behalf of the Commission with Mr. Schuetz on July 23rd, 2015.

“The Commission finds it troubling and questions why for the first time a year-old story has become the focus of attention for several Bermudian media outlets, all of whom could have become aware of the subject matter had they made the most basic of inquiries at the time when the Commission announced the appointment of Mr. Schuetz in September 2015.

“It may be the case that this recent interest has been spurred on by a person or group with ulterior motives who have become aware of the fact that the Commission and Mr. Schuetz have recently been engaged with:

“Addressing with competent authorities in Bermuda and beyond concerns over the potential of one or more Bermuda businesses operating in violation of United States Federal Statutes designed to curtail money laundering and to inhibit acts that may allow for the sponsorship of terrorists acts; Concerns over the apparent absence of responsible and competent anti-money laundering controls by the operators distributing gaming products offered on the Island, and the dire consequences that this activity can have on the health of the entire Bermudian economy if not quickly addressed prior to the Caribbean Financial Action Taskforce Mutual Assessment for Bermuda; and The Commission’s proposal to amend the 2014 Casino Gaming Act with an anti-corruption measure to limit the participation of employees and servants of the Government (including the Commissioners and Commission staff) and any Government Officials (including sitting MPs) during their time of service and for a period of time after they cease to serve or hold office from working in the gaming sector.

“It is the belief of the Commission that this is a common best practice of those gaming jurisdictions that are serious about offering a robust and efficient anti-money laundering regime.

“During his ten-month tenure with the Commission, Richard has demonstrated the incredible depth of knowledge and experience gained in his 40+ years in the gaming industry. He has introduced this Commission to hundreds of regulators, operators, manufacturers, and other related parties in the gaming space. We have learned that he is widely known and well respected in Asia, Europe, the UK, and across America.

“He has given Bermuda instant credibility within the gaming world, and is constantly publishing articles and being invited to give speeches. We are continually finding that the many people that know Richard in his industry find him to be a man of significant integrity.

“I would like to assure Bermuda that I, Deputy Chairman Garry Madeiros, and Commissioners Judith Hall-Bean, Derek Ramm, and Dennis Tucker all believe that Richard is a man of utmost integrity, he has our fervent respect and trust and in our view it is beyond doubt that he is the best person for the job to help Bermuda introduce well-regulated integrated resort casinos on the Island, and we look forward to a long and productive association with him.

“The Commission deplores the fact that Richard has been the subject of disparaging comments based upon unsubstantiated, aged and unproven allegations, as well as innuendo. The Commission makes no apology for speaking out on his behalf. It is the right and proper thing to do.

“Richard came to Bermuda to assist us in creating a new industry for the Island, new job opportunities for our people and a new investment/tourism product. He did not come here to have his integrity, professionalism and reputation maligned.

“Shame on those that have attempted to do so and, in so doing, may have caused irreversible harm to the Commission’s ongoing efforts to get this new industry off of the ground. From the Commission’s perspective, barring unforeseen developments, this is the final word on this matter, and there will be no further comments made upon it.

“Over the course of the next week it is the desire of the Commission to address a number of other issues that have surfaced in the press, and we will be doing this through a series of releases such as this. Once completed we will hold a press conference to further address those issues, and to allow for questions from credentialed media.”

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