By Gina Passarella
Of the Legal Staff
Pennsylvania’s growing, sometimes troubled gaming industry has often reached out for the investments, leadership and counsel of the state’s legal community.
That connection continues with the appointment by Gov. Edward G. Rendell of local attorney and former City Solicitor Kenneth I. Trujillo to an open slot on the state’s Gaming Control Board.
Trujillo, of law firm Trujillo Rodriguez & Richards and its government relations subsidiary OnPoint Public & Private Solutions, has served on a number of local government agencies, often appointed by Rendell.
"I have called on Ken to assume important tasks numerous times during my public life, and he has always done an excellent job,” Rendell said in a statement. “I have confidence in his ability and I believe he will be an outstanding addition to the board as it guides Pennsylvania's growing and developing gaming industry.”
Trujillo would be replacing original board member Sanford Rivers of Pittsburgh, who recently resigned. The Gaming Control Board comprises seven members, three appointed by the governor and four by legislative leaders. The governor's appointees do not require Senate confirmation.
Prior to the board awarding licenses for slot machine casinos in 2006, Trujillo was an investor in a group that applied unsuccessfully for one of the two licenses the law designated for Philadelphia. He was part of a group of minority attorneys that invested in the Pennsylvania Partnership Group with plans to build the proposed Riverwalk Casino.
Trujillo is a former city solicitor of Philadelphia, a former assistant U.S. attorney, and served on the transition teams for Governor-elect Rendell in 2002 and President-elect Obama in 2008. He helped organize the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia and helped develop new stadiums for the Phillies and Eagles. Trujillo has also served as a member of the Philadelphia Board of Pensions and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp.
Shortly after taking office, Rendell appointed Trujillo to the board of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority. In 2005, Rendell named him to the Delaware River Port Authority, where he is a member of the finance committee. As mayor in 1997, Rendell tapped Trujillo to serve on the Philadelphia Police Corruption Task Force.
The Gaming Control Board has authority over 12 slot machine casinos licensed thus far throughout the commonwealth, nine that are operating and three that are still in the planning or construction stages. In addition, two more casino licenses can be awarded under the Gaming Act. The state legalized slots in 2004 and is currently considering an expansion of gaming to include table games at its licensed venues, according to a statement by the governor’s press office.