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Trump Plaza fined $200,000 for discrimination

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- New Jersey casino regulators have fined the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino $200,000 for catering to a high-roller by transferring black and female dealers from his table.

The Casino Control Commission approved the penalty Wednesday by a 3-1 vote. The fine was twice the amount recommended by the commission's vice chairman but far less than the $900,000 sought by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

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'There are, or ought to be, certain things that a casino hotel cannot sell or provide to a customer in order to assure his continued patronage,' said Commission Chairman Steven Perskie. 'These things include honor and decency and simple human courtesy.'

Perskie also said the casino had given the impression 'that enough money will buy anything, including the willingness of an employer to humiliate its employees.'

The commission also voted 4-0 to allow Fred Trump, Donald Trump's father, to serve as a source of financing for his son. A hearing is pending on whether Fred Trump acted improperly last year when he bought $3.5 million worth of chips at the Trump Castle and never redeemed them, giving the casino a cash infusion.

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The discrimination fine resulted from the Trump casino's efforts to please Robert LiButti, a Secaucus racehorse consultant who lost millions of dollars at the tables and sometimes claimed connections with reputed Gambino family boss John Gotti. LiButti already had cost Caesars Atlantic City Hotel and Casino a $250,000 fine. The DGE is seeking to ban him permanently from the casinos because of his alleged insistence on having only white male dealers, his racial slurs and alleged mob ties.

The commission overruled an administrative law judge who found no evidence that the Plaza was engaged in discrimination, finding that the judge improperly barred evidence that the casino changed its practices after the DGE filed a complaint against Caesars.

Trump organization lawyers denied any discrimination. 'Trump Plaza is being fined for the aura of discrimination,' said lawyer Brian Spector.

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