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EMBATTLED ALLEGED EMBEZZLER: Will Woodville Pines Proposal of Judge Michael White Be a Casino in the Woods of Benedict?
ALL IT TAKES IS FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES
By Ken Rossignol
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
News and Commentary
BENEDICT, MD. – Two men named in an explosive federal suit allege that they are part of a conspiracy that embezzled millions from an Annapolis marketing firm, committed tax fraud, stole trade secrets and attempted extortion, and are working to establish an event hall in Charles County that possibly could end up being a casino or gambling operation.
Woodville Pines LLC is owned by St. Mary’s County Orphans Court Chief Judge Michael White and his son, Maryland State Police Lt. George White, who currently operate a private gambling club. Reportedly the club is frequented by a closed group of lawyers in the Southern Maryland region.
COURT NEWS: Suit alleges that St. Mary’s Judge, Prosecutor embezzled Millions, committed Federal Tax Fraud, civil Rico violations, mail fraud, and theft in roles as executives in federal litigation; alleges that IT director attempted extortion and stole key domain and technology
The Whites, owners of Woodville Pines, have applied for a Special Exception for a twenty-two-acre parcel of land that abuts Rt. 231 near Benedict, Maryland. Judge White and his brother, St. Mary’s County Deputy States Attorney Dan White, are named as coconspirators with the former chief of staff to then Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich, James Chip DiPaula. DiPaula was recently reappointed to the scandal-racked University of Maryland Medical Systems Board of which he is the chairman, by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. Included in the federal civil lawsuit are two large firms, one of which is in the United Kingdom.
With such important connections, it is not a stretch of the imagination for the fairly modest proposal for an event hall to blossom into an internationally financed casino with a Maryland Indian Tribe used as the political cover for approval.
The proposal, which has been winding through the planning process in Charles County for the past two years, has received a preliminary staff approval based upon the project for a two-story convention, event, and venue hall meeting four main conditions.
PPP FOR WOODVILLE PINES
The Woodville Pines LLC was able to obtain a PPP Loan from the federal government as the two owners, one a Judge, and the other a State Police Barrack Commander, was employed by the State of Maryland and apparently not in danger of having their incomes reduced.
There are currently no Indian casinos in either Maryland or Virginia; however, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe plans to build a casino in eastern Virginia. The tribe posted this information on their website.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe is one of the most prominent Indian tribes to first meet Europeans on the East Coast of North America.
This status is partly due to the prominence of Pamunkey Indians, especially Powhatan and Pocahontas, whose activities were integral to American history. The Pamunkey Indians long defended their rights as unique citizens of the United States, with a treaty and legal privileges that date back more than four hundred years. The Pamunkey Indian Tribe played a vital role in England’s early settlements in North America, and documents preserved in the archives of the United States and England show the existence of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe since the first visit of Captain John Smith in 1607 when the English settled Jamestown.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe received federal recognition effective on January 28, 2016.
Pamunkey Indian Tribe Resort & Casino
In 2019, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation that permitted the Pamunkey Indian Tribe to pursue gaming in Norfolk, Virginia. That legislation included a Reenactment Clause which required it to pass again in 2020 in order to become law.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe reported on their tribal website, that they signed an agreement with the City of Norfolk to purchase 13.4 acres along the Elizabeth River to build a resort and casino next to Harbor Park. This project will be a destination resort and attract visitors from across Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic region while providing a significant economic boost to the local economies and creating thousands of jobs.
As demonstrated by the ability of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe to plan a casino on a thirteen-acre parcel, a Native American Indian tribe from Charles County could operate own the Woodville Pines event center.
Today, the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs serves the following Maryland indigenous tribes:
- Accohannock Indian Tribe.
- Assateague Peoples Tribe.
- Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians.
- Piscataway Conoy Tribe.
- Piscataway Indian Nation.
- Pocomoke Indian Nation.
- Youghiogheny River Band of Shawnee Indians
Also known as Conoy, the Piscataway was one of the more prevalent tribes in the Chesapeake region at the time of European contact. Piscataway bands encountered by European settlers included the Chaptico, the Moyaone, the Nanjemoy, and the Potapoco.
Today, the Piscataway still resides in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, and Wicomico counties. From 1995 until 2015, the Piscataway operated the Piscataway Indian Museum and Cultural Center at Waldorf (Charles County), Maryland, in cooperation with the Maryland Historical Trust. Following the Museum’s closure, its mobile program, Living the American Indian Experience, traveled around the state to educate the public about Native American history and culture, though it too has since closed.
On January 9, 2012, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley officially recognized two tribes of Piscataway heritage: the Piscataway-Conoy Tribe (which includes the Cedarville Band of Piscataway’s), and the Piscataway Indian Nation (Executive Order 01.01.2012.01; Executive Order 01.01.2012.02). They are the first tribes recognized by Maryland.
Natalie Proctor, chairwoman of the Cedarville Band of Piscataway, which has a population of about 2,000, told IndianCountryToday.com in 2012 at the time of the O’Malley order, that there is a misunderstanding about tribe gaming.
The tribe “petitioned for state recognition almost 20 years ago,” Proctor said. “It was held up in litigation for at least 15 years of that time because the state was anti-gambling.”
According to Proctor, the state denied recognition to the Piscataway because it feared the tribes would pursue gaming.
“Because they were anti-gambling, anti-casino, they used that as a way to deny the Piscataway people their petition,” she said. “This has nothing to do with gaming. The two don’t go hand in hand.”
Now, five casinos exist in Maryland. None are operated by American Indians.
“As long as white people want casinos, it’s OK, and there are no issues about alcoholics and crimes,” Proctor said. “But if Indians want casinos, there are all these issues.”
The rest of the story is that MGM was allowed to build the huge casino not far from the original grounds of the Piscataway Indian Tribe.
In case you are keeping score: Big Biz 6, Indians 0.
THE MARCH THRU THE HALLS OF GOVERNMENT IN CHARLES COUNTY FOR THE NEW EVENT VENUE
The owners of the property through their attorneys and engineers that are handling the multimillion-dollar proposal, made presentations that resulted in this conclusion of approval.
V. Recommendation & Proposed Conditions of Approval:
As documented within the staff report, staff finds that the requested special exception application for use 4.01.400, Social, Fraternal Clubs & Lodges, union hall, meeting hall & similar uses, complies with the criteria as outlined and therefore staff recommends approval with the following Conditions of Approval for the purposes of adequately and completely addressing requirements of the Zoning Ordinance:
1. The Applicant must submit a Site Development Plan (SDP) application for review and approval by all appropriate County and State agencies in accordance with all applicable regulations.
2. The project requires an Adequate Public Facilities (APF) review. This review will take place during the site development plan (SDP) review. The SDP APF review will assess surrounding roads and intersections affected by pending development applications in the area.
3. The approval and continued effect of this Special Exception is contingent upon compliance with all applicable County, State, and Federal regulations, including, but not limited to, the following local regulations: Charles County Zoning Ordinance, Noise Ordinance, Grading and Sediment Control Ordinance, Road Ordinance, Storm Water Management Ordinance, Forest Conservation Ordinance, and Floodplain Ordinance.
4. The hours of operation will be from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.
5. The Applicant is required to have staff on-site at each event throughout the entire event.
6. The Applicant must demonstrate they can provide adequate water and sewer facilities for the proposed use. Final approval will require a site plan that shows the projected sewage flows for the intended use and septic system design to accommodate the projected flow per COMAR requirements and approval by the Health Department.
7. The Applicant is required to comply with the Charles County Noise Ordinance. The Applicant is required to provide current company contact information (phone number, etc.) for the public to use in immediate cases of noise complaints.