Clean Dishes and Dirty Laundry

The Magness family takes time out from squabbling to drop a few million here and there.

More than twenty years ago, Kim Magness, 47, was arrested in Garfield County and charged with selling heroin to an undercover agent for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. In exchange for his guilty plea to narcotics possession, charges of drug-pushing were dropped, and he was fined $5,000 and received a five-year suspended sentence.

Gary Magness, 45, has been arrested several times for driving under the influence of alcohol and once for disorderly intoxication. His most recent arrest came in 1994 in Cherry Hills Village, when police said he was speeding down East Quincy Avenue in a red Ferrari and refused to pull over when an officer hit his lights and siren. According to the police report, Gary failed the roadside sobriety test after he finally stopped at the driveway to his home, a 4,100-square-foot abode across from the Cherry Hills Country Club, then launched into an angry tirade when officers handcuffed him. The drunken tizzy concluded at the jail, where authorities reported that Magness shouted obscenities at police officers. Charges of resisting arrest were dropped after he pleaded guilty to driving while impaired. He was sentenced to nine months' probation and had to undergo alcohol counseling; he also performed 24 hours of community service by working as a laborer at the South Suburban Golf Course.

None of these offenses necessarily disqualify Bob Magness's sons from operating a casino in Colorado, but the Division of Gaming's investigation of their backgrounds will continue for several months, says spokesman Don Burmania. Under Colorado law, only those who've spent time in prison during the past ten years or committed a felony involving gambling, fraud, theft or deception are automatically disqualified from obtaining a gaming license.

"We pretty much find out everything about you when you apply for a gaming license," Burmania says. "We have a reputation for being fairly strict but fair." Burmania says investigations can take up to a year to complete. Agents for the division have been calling business associates and others who worked with Kim and Gary Magness in the past, researching their backgrounds.

Colorado's gaming law was primarily intended to keep organized crime out of local casinos. However, the law gives the gaming division wide discretion to determine who is fit to own a casino, allowing disqualification based on "moral turpitude."

"The legislative declaration was clear that even any hint of impropriety would not exist in the gaming industry," says Burmania.

But don't look for Epicurean to be catering any events at the Mardi Gras Casino. Sharon doesn't speak to Kim and Gary, sources say, and the two sides have reportedly been arguing over possession of Bob Magness's cherished Arabian horses.

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