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State investigates opponents of video lottery at race tracks

By LUCY MORGAN, Times Tallahassee Bureau Chief
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 22, 2003

TALLAHASSEE - A mysterious committee that launched an advertising campaign against slot machines at the state's horse and dog tracks is being investigated by the Florida Elections Commission.

Floridians for Family Values was formed this year by Cory Tilley, who owns a public relations firm and is a former communications director for Gov. Jeb Bush.

Tilley, chairman of the group, will not say who provided the money or paid for advertisements mailed out to thousands of Floridians in April.

The group's corporate charter was filed by Scott Keller, a lobbyist with Greenberg Traurig, one of the state's biggest law firms. Keller has also refused to answer questions about the origins of the group.

The campaign was aimed at derailing a bill that would have allowed video lottery terminals, similar to slot machines, to be installed at all of the state's parimutuel facilities.

At the time, lawmakers were considering a measure designed to raise badly needed revenue by allowing the installation of the terminals. The move has been strongly opposed by the governor and House Speaker Johnnie Byrd. Senate President Jim King supports the move, saying he would rather expand gambling at existing tracks than make budget cuts that would otherwise be necessary.

In July, Tilley filed a letter with the state Division of Elections reporting no contributions or expenditures and asking that the committee be dissolved. At the time, Tilley said the paperwork creating it as a political action committee was filed in error.

This month Daniel K. Adkins, president of the Hollywood Greyhound Track in South Florida, filed a formal complaint against the committee. He accused the group of violating campaign finance laws that require political action committees to report all contributions and expenditures.

Late last week Elections Commission Director Barbara Linthicum advised Adkins that the commission will investigate the committee.

Tilley did not return a call Thursday.

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