State dismisses Brock gambling charges
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following story ran in the Wrangell Sentinel on May 6 and was omitted from publication in the Petersburg Pilot the same week. Since Brock pleaded not guilty to the specified charges, it was important that we print a story about the dismissal of charges against Brock in a timely manner, in both publications. That did not happen. The Pilot regrets the error and apologizes for the oversight.
WRANGELL — The State of Alaska dismissed charges against Lavina “Lovey” Brock April 22.
Brock, 67, of Wrangell, had faced four Class A misdemeanor counts of promoting illegal gambling according to a criminal complaint filed Feb. 5. The complaint preceded by one week a notice of violation filed by the Alaska Dept. of Revenue Tax Division’s Gaming Unit against American Legion Post #6. Brock pled not guilty to the charges March 4.
Michael P. Nash, who
represented Brock for the duration of the court case, said both parties had pushed for dismissal following an April 22 hearing.
“We’re delighted with the decision of the state,” he said. “This is a case that never should have been brought.”
“Ms. Brock was engaged in a community activity that benefited veterans,” he added. “It was mischaracterized and blown out of proportion.”
The State had previously alleged that Brock held a series of Texas Hold ‘Em games at American Legion Hall #6. Each count threatened up to a year of prison time upon conviction. Brock, a prominent community member, recently suffered a stroke.
The dismissal's effect on a civil component relating to Legion charitable gaming operations wasn't immediately clear.
The Notice of Violation, issued by the Gaming Group, lists 25 violations of Alaska Gaming Statutes and Regulations, and concludes: “Based on the number and seriousness of the violations committed by the Wrangell American Legion, the Department will suspend the Wrangell American Legion’s charitable gaming permit.”
Officials with the Legion have said they intend to contest the notice. The Alaska database of permittees presently lists the Legion’s license as active.
A hearing for the Legion has not yet been held, though bingo operations – typically held twice weekly – have ceased, according to Rich Rhodes, who is familiar with the notice.
Commandant Rafael Nunez declined to comment on
potential ramifications of the dismissal for the Legion’s case contesting the violation, saying that as a newly elected commandant, he was not yet up to speed on the details
Calls to the assistant
attorney general assigned to the case went unreturned Tuesday.