Tavern owner’s $2M settlement divvied up-WEB ONLY

More than $2 million forfeited by former state Teamsters president and accused gambling ring organizer John L. Neal will be divided among police agencies, prosecutors and an attorney.

The Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission and its investigative arm, the Indiana Excise Police, will receive 35 percent of the total sum of $2.09 million, or more than $700,000, The Anderson Herald Bulletin reported yesterday, citing an e-mail message from government attorney J. Gregory Garrison.

Garrison, will receive 30 percent of the funds, or about $628,000, under terms of his contract with special prosecutor Kit Crane to handle the civil seizure case against Neal, the report said.

Neal was arrested Sept. 18, 2006, and charged with 71 felony counts, including promoting professional gambling and money laundering after raids on more than 20 taverns in Madison, Delaware and Henry counties. The criminal charges remain pending but are expected to be resolved soon.

Under the funds disbursement, Anderson police will receive 17.5 percent of the total, about $351,000, and the Madison County and Henry County prosecutors offices will divide the remaining 17.5 percent.

The state and Neal’s attorney, Richard Kammen, reached a settlement April 1 that ended a 21/2-year legal battle over seized cash, taverns and motor vehicles. The five parties worked out the division of funds in a dispersal agreement.

Neal, 71, was allowed to keep his Yorktown home, 10 taverns and two other businesses, and a motor home and eight other vehicles. He agreed to forfeit 10 vehicles and 11 taverns.

Garrison said sales from the properties could generate an additional $600,000. About $122,500 was deducted from the $2 million to cover expenses and maintenance of the properties.

“This is the whole picture as we have it here,” Garrison said. “There will be additional monies divided the same way when we get forfeited property sold, and of course if we don’t need the retained funds to care for the properties being sold, that will be divided as well.”

Most of the initial $2.09 million came from cash seized from Neal’s Yorktown home and truck. Money was also seized from the home of one of Neal’s daughters and two Muncie businesses, Garrison said.

Prosecutors filed the civil lawsuit in 2006, arguing the properties, money and vehicles were all being used to further an alleged illegal gambling operation. Neal was accused of using a pair of Muncie businesses, Muncie Coin and Video Services, to place video gambling devices, such as “Cherry Masters” machines, in area taverns. Prosecutors sought to have the properties turned over to the state using Indiana’s organized crime forfeiture laws.

Kammen has said a tentative deal has been reached with Crane’s office to resolve the criminal cases. He declined to elaborate because the agreement has not yet been filed with the courts.

Neal will remain on federal probation through November. He pleaded guilty in 2000 to federal charges of illegal gambling, money laundering and tax evasion.

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