Construction is nearly complete, but quite a bit of regulatory work remains before an opening date will be determined. Penn National did, however, clear its biggest hurdle to date: background checks. In an agreement reached with the Ohio Casino Control Commission, the number of individuals from Fortress Investment Group that would be subject to background checks was decreased. As reported in earlier updates, Fortress is a holding company for Penn National whose board of directors refused to submit to the background checks required by Ohio law. Under the agreement with the commission, a limited liability corporation would be established whereby shareholders would be allowed to grant irrevocable proxies to two individuals to vote their Penn shares. This would eliminate the direct control element that is a trigger for a background check.
Penn National must also convince the commission that the former CEO of Fortress, Daniel Mudd, no longer has a role with either company. Mudd, who is on an indefinite leave of absence, is accused by the SEC of misleading investors while he was head of Fannie Mae. Until the commission has such assurance, Mudd is on the background check list.