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Landlord for St. Louis casinos no longer has prominent lobbyist on payroll

Landlord for St. Louis casinos no longer has prominent lobbyist on payroll

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Digital Slot Machines

Dave McCall of St. Louis plays a digital slot machine game in South Public Market on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. An estimated 52 such machines, made by Torch Electronics, are in gas stations, restaurants and small grocery stores across the city. Photo by Troy Stolt, tstolt@post-dispatch.com

JEFFERSON CITY — A prominent Missouri lobbyist is no longer representing a company that serves as a landlord to gambling casinos across the state.

Until Monday, Steve Tilley, a close ally to Gov. Mike Parson, was listed on state ethics reports as registered to lobby on behalf of Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc.

Missouri Legislature

Then-House Speaker Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, answers a reporter's question during a news conference on the opening day of the Legislature Jan. 4, 2012, in Jefferson City. 

But, after being contacted about the relationship by the Post-Dispatch, GLPI says Tilley is no longer working for the company, which owns the real estate for six casinos in the St. Louis region.

“Please be advised that Mr. Tilley’s firm no longer serves as GLPI’s registered lobbyist,” said company spokeswoman Melissa L. Furillo.

Tilley updated his lobbyist registration with the Missouri Ethics Commission on Monday to show the relationship had been severed.

The Post-Dispatch was seeking information from GLPI concerning a different Tilley client, Torch Electronics.

Torch, a Wildwood-based company, has placed slot machines deemed illegal by the Missouri State Highway Patrol in gas stations and liquor stores across the state.

Although not all of the devices are owned by Torch, the number of illegal machines is beginning to rival the number of games at Missouri’s 13 regulated casinos, potentially siphoning gambling tax revenues away from the state.

Gambling taxes, for example, help pay to operate the state’s nursing homes for veterans.

In responding to the inquiry, however, GLPI did not address the potential conflict of interest issues in Tilley representing both Torch and GLPI at the same time. Furillo also did not say when Tilley stopped working for GLPI.

Tilley also is registered to lobby for the Osage Nation tribe, which is attempting to build a casino at the Lake of the Ozarks, which could eventually compete with GLPI properties for gambling dollars.

Tilley, a Republican from Perryville, didn’t respond to messages left on his mobile phone and at his lobbying firm, Strategic Capitol Consulting.

Brittany Robbins, the director of operations for Strategic Capitol Consulting, said the failure to notify the MEC that the contract had expired was a paperwork mistake.

“It’s completely my fault. I’m a working mom trying to juggle it all and sometimes some of the admin stuff I oversee gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. Our list is current and accurate,” Robbins said.

Tilley has scrambled to fix paperwork problems with two political action committees he controls in recent weeks.

The Post-Dispatch’s Tony Messenger first reported in October that an estimated $169,000 in the two PACs was not accounted for.

Since then, the PACs have refiled their reports with the Missouri Ethics Commission seeking to explain the money gaps.

Tilley, a former speaker of the Missouri House, also is under a microscope related to other clients. The Kansas City Star has reported that the FBI has been investigating a land deal in the city of Independence that involves multiple entities that have paid Tilley as a lobbyist. Part of that investigation, the Star has reported, involves political donations that went to the city’s mayor before the deal was approved.

Tilley also represents the trade association for medical marijuana companies in Missouri. The Post-Dispatch recently reported the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, which oversees the medical pot program, has received three federal subpoenas in the past two years.

Robbins said attorneys for the lobbying firm have talked with the FBI in recent months and determined Tilley and other lobbyists in the firm are not the subject of the probes.

“No one is under investigation,” Robbins said.

This report was updated at 3:40 pm to include comments from Brittany Robbins(tncms-asset)cf9692ca-3d89-11ec-a902-00163ec2aa77[1](/tncms-asset)(tncms-asset)46996c2c-3bf9-11ec-b436-00163ec2aa77[2](/tncms-asset)(tncms-asset)cc57eb2c-30ff-11ec-8887-00163ec2aa77[3](/tncms-asset)(tncms-asset)04c112a4-30ec-11ec-b246-00163ec2aa77[4](/tncms-asset)(tncms-asset)00cc9da2-0ce9-11ec-9bd5-00163ec2aa77[5](/tncms-asset)

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