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Ruston casino owner asks court to block collection of tax increase

Post by News Tribune Staff on July 22, 2008 at 12:02 pm with No Comments »
July 22, 2008 12:02 pm

Steve Fabre, owner of the Point Defiance Cafe & Casino, followed through with his threat to file a lawsuit against the Town of Ruston over its increase in the gambling tax.

Fabre filed suit Friday in Pierce County Superior Court asking for an injunction against the collection of the tax increase, alleging that it will “produce great injury” to him and his business, and that it was adopted without due process rights afforded to him by the Washington State Constitution.

He says the tax hike is retaliation for speaking out against the Town for violating public disclosure laws, and for his action against the Ruston Connection.

According to the lawsuit, local jurisdictions are allowed to collect gambling taxes to support law enforcement of the state Gambling Act, but

the police department has devoted little attention to enforcement of the Gambling Act. Enforcement and regulation of the Gambling Act has been carried out primarily by the Washington State Gambling Commission. A local agent from the Gambling Commission frequents the facility to ensure strict regulation and control consistent with the Gambling Act.

Fabre wants a temporary restraining order against the collection of the higher tax until a jury can determine any “issues of fact,” as well as an order declaring the ordinance that raised the tax void and unenforceable.

He also wants an order preventing Ruston officials from raising the gambling tax without due process, and he wants the court to “permanently enjoin from future retaliation for Mr. Fabre asserting his right to free speech, and protecting his property and liberty interests.

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