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Bet on black

Surprise, surprise. Detroit casinos are making a mint and African-American-owned businesses suspect they’re getting locked out. Charlie Beckham, former mayoral candidate and executive director of the African American Association of Businesses and Contractors, told City Council last week he would like to see the new casino agreement mandate black business participation in construction and contracting. Further, he wants the new agreement to include a measure of public accountability. So far, the casinos say they meet all requirements for hiring minority-owned and Detroit-owned businesses, and have paid some $40 million to a minority business development fund created under the original casino agreement. But no audits, records or reports have been made available to prove those claims, and “nobody knows where that money is,” says Beckham. “We’re saying where’s the data and independent analysis. People are dealing without a full deck of information.”

Councilwoman Brenda Scott said, “We are tired of being treated like a minority in a city where we are the majority.”

Lisa M. Collins is a Metro Times staff writer. E-mail lcollins@metrotimes.com

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