Port: North Dakota gambling industry heavyweight must resign over misuse of veterans charity


North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley meets with The Forum editorial board Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

MINOT — Back in April, Attorney General Drew Wrigley’s office filed a complaint against a gambling industry distributor, Western Distributing, and affiliated companies, alleging they used the Wall of Honor, a charity honoring veterans, to circumvent state charitable gaming laws.

The complaint comes at an inflection point for charitable gaming in North Dakota, with a river of revenues from the legalization of electronic pull-tab machines sparking a gold rush that has begun to blur the lines between non-profit charities and for-profit businesses.

On Thursday, July 6, Wrigley’s office announced a settlement with Western and its affiliates that requires founder and principal partner David Widsom and any immediate family members involved in the business to resign.

Western must also pay a $125,000 fine — the maximum allowable — and reimburse the state for $36,355.50 in attorney’s fees. Finally, the company agreed to a “deferred revocation of their gaming/distributors’ licenses.”

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