Casino kickbacks cost radio host

January 22, 2002 3:15 AM
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South

A popular South Florida sports announcer pleaded guilty Thursday to paying a Miccosukee Indian Gaming marketing director kickbacks in order to get a contract to broadcast television shows from its Tamiami Trail casino.

Miami prosecutors said Jeff DeForrest paid as much as $70,000 to the tribe’s then-marketing director Jeffery Purcell, to guarantee that the broadcast contract would be extended. DeForrest, 50, of Fort Lauderdale, agreed to plead guilty in order to avoid a jail sentence.

After the hearing, DeForrest’s bosses at WQAM-AM suspended him from his morning sports talk show.

“Purcell was being paid by DeForrest, unbeknownst to the tribe, to keep the contracts going,” said U.S. Attorney Guy A. Lewis.

DeForrest’s contracts with the tribe included use of its production facilities and promotions department.

“He put on a terrific show at a fair price,” said Scott Srebnick, the attorney representing DeForrest.

DeForrest has been a sports-talk show host in South Florida since 1989.

Palm Beach cruising

A Texas-based cruise line is hoping that there is enough business to add a third gambling ship to Palm Beach (Fla.) County.

Texas Day Cruise is negotiating with the Port of Palm Beach to berth a 400-foot ship with slot machines and gaming tables at the port’s new terminal, slated to open in March.

Last month, Horizon’s Edge Casino Cruises began running its 186-foot ship from nearby Riviera Beach Municipal Marina.

“People like to try their luck at different places,” Texas Day Cruise President John Lee said.

The company indicated that  it may run cruises four times a week to the Bahamas.