Is Philly lobbying firm in conflict on casino issue?

The city of Philadelphia is working hard to keep state lawmakers from taking an unused casino license away from the city, but one of the city’s Harrisburg lobbying firms is working for another client to do just the opposite.

 

State gaming legislation targeted two casino licenses for Philadelphia projects, but one, the proposed Foxwoods Casino never happened. A bill in Harrisburg would take that license and auction it statewide. Mayor Michael Nutter is working to kill that plan.

“Let’s be very, very clear. The city of Philadelphia, and as the mayor for the city, we want that second license to stay here,” Nutter told reporters just Wednesday.

But Wojdak & Associates, the well-heeled firm that lobbies for the city in Harrisburg, also represents Sugarhouse, the only Philadelphia casino. Sugarhouse wants the license taken out of the city.

State Rep. Rosita Youngblood, D-Philadelphia, raised the issue at a recent hearing, suggesting Wojdak has a conflict of interest.

Wojdak spokesman Kevin Feeley said in a phone interview the firm represents many clients on many issues. Sometimes, he said, one may have interests that conflict with the city’s.

“When that happens, the Wojdak firm has always honored its obligation to notify the city of the conflict, and figure out with the city what the city wants to do,” Feeley said.

Both Nutter and Feeley say there’s no problem here, since Wojdak does not represent Philadelphia on gaming matters.

Tom MacDonald contributed to this article.

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