At the center of the controversy is Rod Ratcliff.
He is the former CEO and remains a major shareholder in Spectacle Entertainment, which owns the Majestic Star and the new Hard Rock Casino under a partnership and company agreement with Hard Rock International.
In December, the Indiana Gaming Commission unanimously imposed a 90-day emergency suspension of Ratcliff's professional license, preventing Ratcliff from exercising control or influence over Spectacle.
The commission said Ratcliff – who was not charged with any crime – had launched an alleged straw donation program to transfer money from a central Indiana Track Track casino he owned at the time to an unsuccessful Republican primary election candidate in the Indiana 9th Congressional District in 2016 .
Ratcliff is also alleged to have failed to cooperate with the commission's investigation, to cooperate with others who obstruct the commission's investigation, to act outside the licensing terms, improperly acquire and transfer Spectacle property units and the terms of an escrow arrangement under the commission to change.
The suspension of Ratcliff's gaming license triggered an obligation Ratcliff made to the Gaming Commission on July 6, 2020, that its ownership interest in Spectacle must be administered by a trustee independent of Spectacle for an indefinite period and considered acceptable to the Commission.