Shocking allegation

It seems that Don King may have acted improperly.

Published July 20, 2000 7:00PM (EDT)

You're just not going to believe this: Don King may be facing another investigation.

The New York Post is reporting that the state of New York will look into whether the electric-haired boxing promoter illegally lobbied Democratic assemblymen to vote against a gambling bill that would have blocked a new Indian-owned casino in the Catskills.

New York state law requires that those who do more than $2,000 worth of lobbying be registered with the state Lobbying Commission, which records show King was not. Several members of the Assembly told the Post they'd received calls from King urging them to vote against the bill, although Assemblyman Herman "Denny" Farrell of Manhattan, the head of the Ways and Means Committee, admitted, "I was very confused as to what side he was on." If you've ever heard King speak, you know what he means.

Sources told the Post they believe King made the calls at the behest of his friend and frequent business partner Arthur Goldberg, whose Park Place Entertainment, the largest gambling company in the nation, has a deal with the St. Regis Mohawk Indian nation to build the Catskills casino. King frequently promotes boxing events at casinos.

The Post reported Monday that Goldberg is under investigation for illegal lobbying, as is Donald Trump, who owns casinos in Atlantic City, N.J., and allegedly lobbied in favor of the gambling bill, which has since been withdrawn.

King is a former Cleveland numbers runner who did time for stomping a man to death on a sidewalk in the 1960s. The fighters who have accused him of shortchanging them or just outright stealing from them are legion, and include Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Tim Witherspoon and Mike Tyson.

Although Teflon Don has spent much of the past three decades under investigation by one legal authority or another, he has mostly escaped real legal damage. He was named this spring as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of International Boxing Federation founder Robert Lee and three others, who are accused of taking bribes to fix the organization's rankings.

If King is found guilty of illegal lobbying in New York, he could face heavy fines and up to a year in prison. But if you're the gambling type, it would be unwise to bet against him.

By Gary Kaufman

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