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8 N.J.A.R. 301

Gaming Enforcement, Division of, State of New Jersey, Department of Law and Public Safety; Davis, Donna v
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Citation: 8 N.J.A.R. 301
Decision Date: 1985
Synopsis: Petitioner applied for a licensure as a key casino employee. The Division of Gaming Enforcement objected to the licensure based upon petitioner's alleged failure to satisfy the requirements of showing financial stability, integrity and responsibility; her failure to establish good character, honesty and integrity; her criminal record, and her failure to establish her business ability and casino experience. The administrative law judge assigned to the case found that during petitioner's employment in the soft count room of a casino hotel she was simultaneously employed as an income maintenance technician by the Atlantic County Welfare Board. In 1982 petitioner was indicted for theft based upon her misuse of funds as an income maintenance technician; petitioner pied guilty to the fourth degree crime of theft and was fined and placed on probation which was terminated early. Petitioner never advised her employer of her conviction and at her employer's request petitioner sought and was granted a temporary key employee license. That temporary casino employee license was not renewed, however, when petitioner divulged her conviction on her permanent license application. The judge concluded that the crime of which petitioner was con- victed was not a statutory disqualifier enumerated in section 86 of the Casino Control Act because her pleas were to fourth degree offenses of theft. The judge did conclude, however, that petitioner's conviction rendered her licensure inimical to the policies of the act. Determining that the petitioner had lied in an effort to explain away her conviction, the judge concluded that petitioner had not met her burden of disproving inimicality. Accordingly, the judge ordered that petitioner's application be denied. Upon review, this initial decision was modified by the Casino Con- trol Commission. The Commission agreed that the application for a casino key employee license should be denied based upon applicant's commission of an offense which requires her disqualification under section 86(c)(4, NULL, NULL, NULL); the Commission also adopted the judge's conclusion as to the petitioner's lack of good character, honesty and integrity. The judge's conclusion as to the petitioner's lack of financial stability was rejected, however, based upon the insufficiency of the record. In a detailed decision, the Commission took the opportunity to clarify the issues involved in cases concerning disqualification pursuant to section 86(c), in general, and section 86(c)(4) in particular. The Commission noted that in cases involving application for licensure, the issues are initially identified in the letter-report sub- mitted by the Division of Gaming Enforcement which also serves as the 'first pleading' in the administrative process. Here, the Division recommended denial of the application on three grounds: (1) failure to demonstrate financial stability; (2) failure to demonstrate good character; and (3) disqualification due to petitioner's criminal history which the Division argued included an enumerated disqualifier. The first two grounds relate to affirmative criteria for which the applicant bears the burden of establishing by clear and convincing evidence; the disqualification issue must be established in the record as a whole, but as a practical matter it is the Division's burden to prove by a preponderance of the credible evidence. The Commission noted that the act does not provide casino key employee license applicants with the opportunity to demonstrate re- habilitation from a per se disqualifying offense which took place within 10 years of the application. Only casino employee and casino hotel employee registrants have the opportunity to demonstrate their rehabilitation pursuant to sections 90(h) and 91(d) respectively. The Commission noted that it considers rehabilitation factors before con- cluding that the offense in question is or is not inimical under section 86(c)(4). Because the rehabilitation factors are subsumed within the inimical analysis, it should never be necessary to determine the merits of a claim of rehabilitation after concluding that a given offense is inimical; the Commission expressly disavowed those cases in which it had not followed this principle. Applying that principle to the present case, the Commission de- termined that petitioner's licensure would be inimical to the policies of the act. State of New Jersey 303 Raymond Lee, Esq., for petitioner (Cape Atlantic Legal Services, attorney) Ralph Fusco, Deputy Attorney General, for respondent (Irwin I. Kim- melman, Attorney General of New Jersey, attorney) Initial Decision