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C.CAPP'S LLC v. Jaffe

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division

September 23, 2014

C.CAPP'S LLC, an Illinois Limited Liability Company, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
AARON JAFFE, as Chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board, and LEE GOULD, MICHAEL HOLEWINSKI, and MARIBETH VANDER WEELE, as Members of the Illinois Gaming Board and the ILLINOIS GAMING BOARD, Defendants-Appellees

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 12 CH 27922. Honorable Mary Mikva, Judge Presiding.

SYLLABUS

The denial of plaintiff's application for a video game terminal operator's license without a hearing was not a clearly erroneous decision by the Illinois Gaming Board, since the Board's rules required that plaintiff's petition for a hearing had to assert that the reasons the Board gave for denying a license were false, but plaintiff admitted that she was associated professionally and personally with a convicted felon, her husband, even though she did deny that she knew the company where she was employed had been the subject of investigations involving illegal gambling and other crime; therefore, plaintiff did not state a prima facie case for a hearing, the denial of a license was affirmed, and plaintiff's only option would be to reapply in one year and allow the Board to evaluate at that time whether her circumstances had changed.

For Appellant: Law Office of George E. Becker P.C., of Chicago (George E. Becker, of counsel).

For Appellee: Lisa Madigan, Attorney General of Illinois, of Chicago (Carolyn E. Shapiro, Solicitor General & Assistant Attorney General Timothy M. Maggio, of counsel).

JUSTICE LIU delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Simon and Justice Neville concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

LIU, JUSTICE.

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[¶1] This appeal stems from a decision of the Illinois Gaming Board (Board) to deny plaintiff, C.Capp's LLC (Capps), a video game terminal operator's license pursuant to section 45 of the Illinois Video Gaming Act (Act) (230 ILCS 40/45 (West 2012)). Capps contends on appeal that: (1) the requirements for seeking a hearing before the Board violate due process; and (2) the Board's decision to deny it a terminal operator's license without a hearing was against the manifest weight of the evidence. For the following reasons, we affirm.

[¶2] BACKGROUND

[¶3] A. Capps, the Applicant

[¶4] Capps is an Illinois limited liability company owned and managed exclusively by Gail Perez. In February 2010, Perez formed Capps for the express purpose of becoming a " terminal operator," as defined by the Act. A " terminal operator" is a person or entity licensed under the Act that owns, services, and maintains video gaming terminals for placement in licensed establishments. 230 ILCS 40/5 (West 2012). " Video gaming terminals" are electronic machines that accept cash or electronic cards or vouchers for the purpose of allowing users to play games such as video poker or blackjack. 230 ILCS 40/5 (West 2012).

[¶5] B. Capps Applies for a Terminal Operator's License

[¶6] Capps applied with the Board to obtain a terminal operator's license in November 2010. The Board, however, denied Capps' application by a unanimous vote. In a letter dated May 22, 2012, the Board informed Perez of the denial and gave its reasoning. It explained:

" Staff's investigation revealed that C.Capp's and its owner fail to meet the qualifications required in the Video Gaming Act, 230 ILCS 40/45 and Board Rule 1800.420. Specifically, you as 100% Owner and President continue to associate both professionally and personally with Thomas Perez, a convicted felon. You also are employed by Tomm's Redemption, a company that has been the subject of Federal and State investigations involving illegal gambling and other crime."

[¶7] On June 1, 2012, Capps petitioned the Board for a hearing. 11 Ill. Adm. Code 1800.615(c) (2011). Capps acknowledged in its petition that Gail Perez was married to Thomas Perez and that Thomas Perez had pleaded guilty to making false statements on his tax returns. However, it asserted: (1) that Gail Perez was legally separated from Thomas Perez in 2002; (2) that she " had no choice but to associate with Thomas Perez the last 10 years if for nothing else to discuss and agree on the day-to-day activities of their two children" ; (3) that she was never a shareholder, director, or officer of Tomm's Redemption, Inc. (Tomm's Redemption); (4) that she was " without knowledge of any state or federal investigations involving gambling as they relate to Thomas Perez" ; (5) that she had demanded that Thomas Perez and/or Tomm's Redemption move its offices to a different address; (6) that she had submitted her resignation as an employee of Tomm's Redemption; and (7) that she was willing to file for dissolution of marriage from Thomas Perez.

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[¶8] On June 21, 2012, the Board denied Capps' request for a hearing. In a letter dated June 26, 2012, the Board explained that Capps' " request did not establish a prima facie case as required by the [ sic ] Section ...


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