On this day in 1997, Mayor Dennis W. Archer taps three proposed casino operators to own and manage commercial gaming facilities.
They are: Atwater/Circus Circus (Detroit Entertainment); Greektown/Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (Greektown Casino); and MGM Grand (MGM Grand Detroit Casino).
Among the set of applicants who weren’t included on Archer’s list are: Mandalay Resort Group; local businessman and casino operator Don H. Barden; businessman Donald Trump; and Paradise Valley Rio of Las Vegas, whose ownership team includes former Mayor Coleman A. Young.
The exclusion of Barden will set off a political war that will feature a spirited yet unsuccessful recall attempt of Archer by Barden supporters; and a 1998 local ballot initiative to secure an operating license for Barden, who will bankroll the measure. The Barden proposal will include pop superstar Michael Jackson as an investor and partner.
Ken Coleman, the author of On this Day: African-American Life in Detroit, is a native Detroiter and former news reporter. He served on the Detroit Charter Revision Commission. He lives in Detroit with his wife, Kim Trent, and their son, Jackson Coleman.