SIOUX CITY & DES MOINES, IOWA (January 10, 2014) – Late last week, Polk County Judge Hanson ordered that documents requested through the legal discovery process be turned over to Argosy attorneys.

In May 2013, Argosy attorneys served MRHD board member David Bernstein and MRHD advisor Curtis Beason with subpoenas requesting documents related to their efforts to assist MRHD in developing a land-based casino in Woodbury County to replace the Argosy casino.  

In June 2013, MRHD attorneys sought to “quash” the subpoenas, arguing that the documents Argosy sought were not pertinent to the litigation between MRHD and Argosy and communications between Bernstein, Beason and MRHD were protected by the attorney-client privilege.

On January 2, 2014, Judge Hanson rejected MRHD’s arguments in full, and ruled that Bernstein and Beason must turn over all the documents requested by the Argosy’s subpoena, including on the grounds that such documents are relevant to the pending litigation and are not subject to the attorney-client privilege.   Beason and Bernstein have 10 days to comply with the court order.

The documents requested by the subpoena must be turned over to Argosy attorneys by January 13, 2014.  


Ruling on Motion to Quash Subpoenas Served on Bernstein Beason

2014 01 02 Ruling on Motion to Quash Subpoenas Served on Bernstein Beason (02021270).pdf

SIOUX CITY & DES MOINES, IOWA (January 8, 2014) – The following statement can be attributed to Karen Bailey, Vice President of Public Affairs for Penn National Gaming and parent company of Argosy:

"We respect the decision of the Iowa Supreme Court and we will continue to pursue our rights in accordance with its instructions.  However, we do not believe the courts should reward SCE for its conscious choice to remain on the sidelines of the Belle’s case against the IRGC—including when SCE’s lawyers literally sat in the courtroom at the hearing on the Belle’s stay motion yet did not make any arguments—until after the district court granted the stay, at which time it became apparent to SCE, as it has been to the Belle from the onset of these judicial proceedings, that the IRGC’s issuance of licenses to SCE and MRHD was unlawful and rife with misconduct. 

Not to mention, that SCE began and continued construction with full knowledge of the risks related to this and other pending litigation.  We are hopeful that the courts will not permit SCE to upend the judicial process as it did the regulatory process with the IRGC.”


Order Regarding Stay Motions

2014 01 08 Order Regarding Stay Motions (02021347).pdf

DES MOINES, IA & SIOUX CITY, IA (DECEMBER 24, 2013) – In response to last week’s Supreme Court filing by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) and Hard Rock developers, Sioux City Entertainment (SCE), the Argosy has filed the requisite responses with the court.

Last week’s action by the Iowa Supreme Court essentially “stayed” the stay decision issued by Polk County District Judge Hanson, issued the week prior.  At the core of Argosy’s filing with the Iowa Supreme Court, we counter that:

  • SCE had ample time to participate or intervene in Argosy’s request of stay in the District Court but chose, instead to remain on the sidelines;
  • SCE was present at the oral arguments regarding the stay request but again, chose not to participate;
  • Argosy, in today’s filings, contends that SCE cannot just simply go to a higher court to request a reversal of action when it actively chose not to participate in the lower court’s review;
  • The IRGC has also told SCE that the order issued against the IRGC does not preclude SCE from continuing its construction but must do so at its own risk;
  • And, in the IRGC’s request of the high court, it fails to meet the qualified criteria to receive the “stay of the stay” and thus the higher court should dismiss the request.

Argosy’s filings also point out an interesting and ironic note made by SCE in relation to the stay of the IRGC’s actions,

“Rather than challenge the Belle’s argument that it is entitled to due process before the license it has held for more than 20 years may be taken away, SCE itself argues that the potential deprivation of the license it has held for only a few months, and for a facility that is not even built yet, not only entitles it to due process, but is in effect “an unconstitutional taking of property.”  (SCE Pet. at 4.)  SCE’s ironic attempt to invoke its own purported constitutional rights only underscores the severity of the potential deprivation of the Belle’s [Argosy’s] rights at issue. “

Due to the holiday an Argosy spokesperson will not be available.

Combined Resistance Part 1



Combined Resistance Part 2



Application for inclusion to exceed over 25 pages

2013 12 23 application for inclusion to exceed over 25 pages (02021185).pdf


As a result of the unconstitutional and illegal award of the Woodbury County license to Sioux City Entertainment and the unjustified non-renewal of Argosy’s gaming license, the Argosy has requested the courts issue a “stay” of development of the Hard Rock Casino.

FINAL Argosy STAY Petition

FINALArgosy STAY Petition9-16-13 (2).pdf


Belle's Motion to Stay

2013 09 16 Belle's Motion to Stay (Hearing Requested) (02019108).pdf


Belle's Brief Support of Motion to Stay

2013 09 16 Belle's Brief Support of Motion to Stay (02019109).pdf


MRHD misleads the people of Woodbury County

Wow, where do we start with this one?  There’s just a whole heap of information that MRHD president, Mark Monson, seems to be leaving out of his story and its yet another opportunity for us to get the truth out and set the record straight.

As you may recall, Argosy submitted a request for a third party receiver to hold and distribute the 3% of our revenues which we have, up until May, submitted to MRHD per our operating contract.  You may also recall that MRHD has denied having any contract with us, which led to our request to the court to appoint a third party receiver instead.  MRHD claims that under statute that they are owed this money.  They are wrong.  Under contract they are owed the money and since they don’t acknowledge our contract they shouldn’t receive the money.  Iowa law simply requires that “a” qualified sponsoring organization (QSO) receive a portion of revenue from a gambling boat – it doesn’t say that MRHD is entitled to it.  Any QSO could receive and distribute the dollars from Argosy – it doesn’t have to be MRHD.  We’ve said it before, MRHD can’t have it both ways.  You can read our response to MRHD’s response here.

It’s been interesting reading MRHD’s response to our request to the court as well as their responses in the media.  There’s just so many blanks to fill in and misinformation to correct, we hope you’ll stay with us as we describe the real truth behind MRHD and some of their claims and actions.

Phantom Lawyers?

In a June 23, 2013 Sioux City Journal article, MRHD president, Mark Monson ponders, “It’s unfortunate we have to spend it [money on legal representation].  On the other hand, who filed the lawsuit?”

Great question, Mark.

We’d like to point out (yet again) that MRHD was the first to file suit against Argosy in January 2012 well before we ever responded to their breach of contract.  In 2011, MRHD’s legal costs skyrocketed from $11,641 in 2010 to $50,795 in 2011.  Yet, no lawsuit existed.  MRHD started the lawsuit war, not Argosy.  We call on Sioux City media to include this fact in any of their reporting of these legal matters in the interest of fairness and full disclosure.

What is even more interesting is that the Journal notes that in 2012, MRHD paid law firm Lane & Waterman of Davenport, Iowa $244,334 in legal bills.  Yet, the firm, to our knowledge, is not representing MRHD in the lawsuit brought by Argosy.  If that’s the case, what are they getting paid for?  Was he paid to work to get rid of the Argosy and replace us with a new operator?  If that is the case, is that the best use of funds intended for community and charitable causes?

And in case you’re interested, the attorney from Lane & Waterman, Curt Beason, is the same Curt Beason who has been advising MRHD in its development with Hard Rock, and the same attorney who was charged for his part in funneling illegal campaign contributions to Governor Chet Culver’s re-election campaign on behalf of Peninsula Gaming.  Peninsula Gaming Chief Executive Officer at the time, Brent Stevens, was subject to the same charges in the same case.  Brent Stevens is now financer/owner of the Hard Rock project in Sioux City.

A Quick Glance at MRHD’s Giving Practices

The graph above demonstrates exactly how much Argosy-generated money MRHD has “passed through” to the community since 2008 and approximately how much of the community’s dollars they are sitting on today.  Of the nearly $9.4 million provided to MRHD by Argosy from 2008 to what is publicly known for 2012 and 2013 through MRHD’s website and IRS filings, here’s a quick breakdown:

  • 39% of the total giving from 2008 to what is publicly disclosed for 2012 and 2013 went to the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and the Lewis & Clark Association
  • 30% of MRHD’s money since 2008 has gone undistributed
  • Only 19% of those dollars went to other charitable organizations in the community such as the Siouxland Soup Kitchen, the Sioux City Boys and Girls Home, etc.
  • Only 2% went to the cities of Woodbury County
  • Only 3% went to K-12 schools and related programs

The graph is only a quick representation of the dollars distributed and undistributed.  

If you don’t own anything and you don’t really do anything, then what exactly are you getting paid for?

MRHD president Mark Monson stated that MRHD, “employ[s] no one.  We own nothing”  in a June 23, 2013 Sioux City Journal article.  Click here for the article.  If that’s the case, then why are Mr. Monson and three other board members receiving compensation in their capacity as board members?

Since 2008 MRHD board members Mark Monson, Larry Jensen, Bruce Miller and Ron French have received compensation of $1,200 each, each year.  You can view MRHD’s 990s for yourself here.  Assuming that they received the compensation in 2012 (their tax returns have yet to be filed), that’s over $20,000 over a 5-year period!  That’s more than many organizations and cities have received over the same time frame.

A complete list of organizations that receive MRHD money can be found at 


MRHD Donations 2008-2013



Once again the Sioux City Journal gets its facts wrong, using sources who are intent on bending the facts instead of coming clean with the truth regarding the ouster of Argosy from the Sioux City community.

The Journal reports in its June 19, 2013 article that, “Attorneys for MRHD filed motions last week to quash or modify the subpoenas on grounds they are ‘overly broad and unduly burdensome,’ there are no limits on time or scope, and the materials are ‘privileged and/or protected by the work product doctrine’.”  Yet, what MRHD… we mean, the Journal… doesn’t tell readers is that over 100 pages of documents from MRHD board member David Bernstein have in fact been turned over to Argosy lawyers with more apparently on the way.

The documents, received as a result of the subpoena of Mr. Bernstein, provides further evidence that MRHD clearly broke its exclusivity clause in its contract with Argosy as early as September 2011 by meeting with other operators in the state and even seeking out land to purchase for a potential new land-based casino.

Read the release below...


The Journal Gets it Wrong

The Journal Gets it Wrong.pdf


Other Opertors-Land Options

Other Opertors-Land Options.pdf


Governors Office Emails

Governors Office Emails.pdf


Other Operators 2

Other Operators 2.pdf


CONTACT: Karen Bailey

Argosy Files New Request for Custodian of Funds

Asks Court to Appoint a Third Party to Receive and Hold or Distribute Community Funds  

SIOUX CITY, IA (JUNE 10, 2013) – Argosy filed a “Petition for Receiver” in Polk County Court today.  The purpose of this petition is to request the court to appoint a third party “receiver” to receive and hold or distribute the revenues the Argosy currently generates for the community and has, up until today, turned over to the Missouri River Historical Development (MRHD).

Argosy cites in the petition the ongoing dispute over whether a contract exists between MRHD and Argosy.  Argosy asserts that it does have a contract with MRHD, signed through March 2015 while MRHD disagrees.

The purpose of a third party receiver in a case like this is to remove the property in question – in this case the 3% of revenues or approximately $1.8 million annually – from the disagreeing parties and to put it with a third party until the matter is resolved.  The contract dispute between Argosy and MRHD is scheduled in Polk County Court for April 2014.

“We feel it is important and in the best interest of the community to make this request of the court.  It is hypocritical of MRHD to dispute the existence of our contract yet still demand the monies from Argosy – they can’t have it both ways,” explains Karen Bailey, Vice President for Public Affairs for parent company, Penn National Gaming.  “It is also our intention to do everything possible to ensure these dollars go to the community as they are intended and not to support a legal war chest or the development of the Hard Rock casino which is already draining significant dollars from community organizations.”

A copy of the petition can be found at


Petition for Appointment of Receiver

2013 06 10 Petition for Appointment of Receiver (02016037).pdf


Posted on

News, Weather and Sports for Sioux City, IA:

Osceola, IA (KCAU) - The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has decided not to act on a request by Penn National Gaming Inc. to reconsider it's April 18th decision to give a casino license to Hard Rock Casino.

The IRGC granted Sioux City Entertainment the license to operate a land-based casino in Woodbury County. Penn Gaming had filed the request for reconsideration, saying the commission had broken state laws and procedures.

Mark Weinhart, who was representing Penn, claimed the commission had violated the casino operator's right to due process. Weinhart said the matter should have been brought to court to begin with, allowing Penn the opportunity to defend their right to have the sole bid for the land-based casino.

Weinhart also said the commission broke state statutes that say a gambling license can only be replaced by a matching structure, meaning a riverboat casino could only be replaced by another riverboat casino. He claims the only reason this became an issue is become someone decided riverboats became unpopular.

Weinhart went on to argued that the commission allowed Sioux City Entertainment to make changes to their original proposal. He asked that for these reasons the commission should reverse their decision and allow Penn to make a sole bid for a new casino.

Despite Penn's efforts to persuade the commission, no motion was made to reverse the decision.

Before the discussion began, the commission unanimously voted to deny all proposals that were not chosen for the land-based casino.