New Hampshire Casino Owner Investigated For Alleged COVID Funds Misuse
Posted on: September 1, 2023, 10:35h.
Last updated on: September 1, 2023, 02:50h.
Andy Sanborn, a former state senator who resides in Bedford, N.H., is now the subject of state and federal inquiries that could lead to charges and administrative action, according to Attorney General John M. Formella.
This comes after it was alleged this week he fraudulently obtained $844K in COVID relief money and spent some of it on three fancy sports cars and other personal expenses.
Formella revealed on Thursday that Sanborn got a federal COVID relief loan of $844K by providing false information on his application, leaving out references to the casino on the paperwork. Casinos weren’t eligible for these loans, the Concord Monitor reported.
Sanborn also used some of the money to purchase three race cars, two Porsche 987 Cayman S racers for his personal use and a Ferrari F430 challenge racer as a gift for his wife, the investigation claims. His wife is New Hampshire state representative Laurie Sanborn (R.)
He also allegedly spent $45,500 in Small Business Administration relief funds on parts and services for vehicles, various cash distributions, and $28,800 on engineering and geotechnical expenses for the planned casino, Patch reported.
The allegations from the Attorney General’s office could lead the New Hampshire Lottery Commission to take away the license for Andy Sanborn’s Concord Casino. It is located in The Draft Sports Bar and Grill in Concord.
He’s also trying to open a second 43,000-square-foot charitable casino elsewhere in Concord. That property was approved by the city’s Planning Board in June.
News of the new allegations led to local officials evaluating the “impact of the Attorney General’s decision upon the Planning Board’s decision,” Concord spokesperson Stefanie Breton told the Monitor. The new allegations will also launch a related inquiry by New Hampshire U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young.
The attorney general’s office found the alleged wrongdoing during a routine investigation. The attorney general’s office reviews details on the owners of charitable casinos every five years, the Associated Press reported.
This case highlights the importance of law enforcement’s role in keeping illegal activity out of New Hampshire’s charitable gaming industry,” Formella said in a statement.
“Our obligation to protect the public demands that we take action against any person who is found to have used their regulated casino to enrich themselves with fraudulently obtained taxpayer funds.”
Sanborn Defends Actions
But in a statement sent to Patch, Andy Sanborn said in part:
Throughout the process, we did our due diligence to ensure compliance with all application requirements and standards. While I strongly disagree with the commission’s statements, I welcome the examination ahead as I have full confidence our actions were transparent and in complete accordance of the law.”
Sanborn has 10 days to file an appeal on the alleged wrongdoing.
Andy and Laurie Sanborn have run the Concord Casino since 2018. Their second planned casino has led to a lawsuit by residents opposed to the project.
Charitable Gaming Twist
In another twist, Laurie Sanborn, also Speaker Pro Tempore in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, was recently appointed chair of a 13-member committee to look at changes to charitable gaming laws.
House Democratic Leader, Rep. Matt Wilhelm, D-Manchester, wants her out of the post, adding the allegations are “deeply concerning,” Patch reported.
“Given the serious charges in the Attorney General’s report, removing Representative Sanborn from positions which directly involve charitable gaming, is the only way to preserve public trust in the oversight of taxpayer dollars.
“I have asked Speaker Packard to take the necessary actions to sever Representative Sanborn’s involvement with charitable gaming oversight,” Wilhelm said.
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