Illinois House candidate Thomas Maillard distances himself from gaming director Michael Bond who lost Waukegan casino offer

Most resumes grow over time. State legislative candidate Thomas Maillard has declined over the past two years. Disappeared from his LinkedIn page: his work for former senator Michael Bond’s video game company.

In 2020 – when he was a top aide to Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham – Maillard’s page stated that he had worked in “partnership development” for Bond’s Tap Room Gaming, LLC, from December 2013 to December 2015.

Now in a Democratic primary race for state representative in Lake County, he has removed those ties to controversial figure Bond from online resumes after it emerged he helped fund the campaign. winner of Cunningham in 2017 before submitting a bid for a casino in Waukegan in a process partly supervised by Cunningham.

“I think it has very little to do with my experience working in government,” says Maillard, one of three candidates running June 28 in a district that includes all or parts of Libertyville, Grayslake and Round Lake.

Former State Senator Michael Bond.

Among those supporting his campaign: Cunningham, who lost a re-election bid last year.

Sam Cunningham, former mayor of Waukegan.

Sam Cunningham, former mayor of Waukegan.

Bond is not among those supporting him, and Maillard says he “doesn’t care at all”.

Reached by phone, Bond told a reporter he was “unable” to speak but “happy to call you back”. He did not do it.

Bond was in the Illinois Senate from 2007 to 2011, a resource person in Lake County for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Bond was also among the lobbyists with ties to Madigan who were hired to lobby for ComEd, records show.

Bond’s LinkedIn profile says he was chief executive and founder of Tap Room, which he ran from 2013 until it was sold in 2019.

The company – which supplied video game machines for bars, restaurants and other establishments – reported nearly $200 million in net revenue from slot machines from 2017 to 2019, state records show.

Maillard says of his work there: “I collected machines. I was terminal manager. . . . I also helped organize pool and darts leagues with various small businesses” while “going to university”.

SO

Thomas Maillard's LinkedIn page in 2020.

Thomas Maillard’s LinkedIn page in 2020.

NOW

The current LinkedIn page of Thomas Maillard.

The current LinkedIn page of Thomas Maillard.

Maillard also served as a “data analyst/coordinator trainee” for Bond’s campaign operation from 2008 to 2010 and assisted in Cunningham’s election campaign in 2017 at Bond’s request.

Cunningham had run unsuccessfully for mayor three times when he won the 2017 primary. Bond then became involved in his general election campaign, contributing to political groups that funneled money to Cunningham, ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Sun-Times reported in 2019.

Bond recruited Chicago political consultants Victor Reyes and Mike Noonan to help Cunningham with everything from canvassing to fundraising, sources say.

Maillard says Bond asked him to work on Cunningham’s campaign.

When Cunningham won, he hired Maillard as senior mayoral assistant because, Cunningham says, “the guy knew what he was doing, and voter services were up to par.”

Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation in 2019 allowing for a huge expansion in gambling, including a casino in Waukegan. The city was authorized to solicit proposals, review them, and make a recommendation to the Illinois Gaming Board.

Maillard became involved in the internal process at the Waukegan casino, according to records and interviews.

Among other tasks, he says he participated in the development of the bid solicitation. He says his involvement was minor, that he eventually recused himself from the process and was never involved in the “scoring” of bidders that included the Bond-led North Point Casino proposal.

Artist's impression of the first phase of development of the North Point Casino project.

Artist’s impression of the first phase of development of the North Point Casino project.

Robert Long, an attorney for the town of Waukegan at the time, said of Maillard and the casino process, “He wasn’t really an influencer. He was a transformer.

“Once he recognized there would be a problem, he backed out, which was the right thing to do.”

Maillard was interviewed by gambling council investigators, but says it was routine and everyone even vaguely connected to the project was interviewed.

The gambling board cannot “comment on the characterization of Mr. Maillard from his interview”, an agency spokesperson said.

Waukegan was allowed to send a single proposal to the gaming board. But Cunningham says his administration submitted four plans to the city council after they were reviewed by a consultant hired by the city. The board sent three to the gaming board, including Bond’s.

Artist's impression of a proposed Full House Resorts casino in Waukegan.

Artist’s impression of a proposed Full House Resorts casino in Waukegan.

A Potawatomi tribe-affiliated casino development group whose proposal was not among the three chosen sued Waukegan, claiming the process was rigged to favor Bond.

Cunningham said: “I will not deny my friendship with Michael Bond, but I will say that my integrity will never be compromised by Michael Bond.”

One of the finalists dropped out, leaving only Bond’s North Point and a Las Vegas-based Full House Resorts proposal.

In December, the Gaming Commission unanimously selected Full House “as the City of Waukegan’s final nominee” and granted “Full House a Preliminarily Appropriate Permit.”

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