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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Whoa! Mayor Nickels’s Son Indicted in Alleged Casino Scam

posted by on May 24 at 14:28 PM

This just in from the AP

SEATTLE - Jacob Dyson Nickels, the son of Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, has been indicted as part of an investigation into a multistate casino-cheating ring that allegedly stole millions of dollars by bribing casino employees to falsely shuffle decks.

Nickels, 25, was a pit boss at the Nooksack Indian Tribe’s Nooksack River Casino in Whatcom County in the summer of 2005 when he accepted $5,000 to introduce one of the ring’s alleged conspirators to crooked dealers, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday at U.S. District Court in Seattle.

Two of the defendants, George Lee and Tien Duc Vu, won more than $90,000 on mini-baccarat that October with the help of Nickels and two dealers, Levi Seth Mayfield and Kasey James McKillip, the indictment said.

Repeated calls to the mayor’s office were not immediately returned Thursday. Jacob Nickels is charged with one count of conspiracy and four counts of theft of funds from a gaming establishment on Indian lands in the five-count indictment.

In all, three indictments were unsealed Thursday — two in Seattle and one in San Diego — naming 24 defendants in an alleged racketeering enterprise dating from March 2002.

Twelve people were named in two indictments in Seattle; seven of them were also indicted in San Diego.

Of the 18 targeted casinos in California, Washington and Indiana, 10 were owned by tribes.

The group used “false shuffle” cheating schemes during blackjack and mini baccarat games, the Justice Department said. The schemes involved bribes to casino supervisors and card dealers and use of blocks of unshuffled cards, the indictments said.

Members of the organization allegedly would signal a card dealer to do a false shuffle and then bet on the known order of the cards, winning more than $850,000 on one occasion.

The indictments also alleged that the ring used hidden transmitters and special software to predict the order in which cards would appear.

The first indictment in Seattle was returned under seal in February 2006 and alleged a scheme to steal more than $1 million from the Emerald Queen Casino near Fife, Wash. The second, returned under seal in March, included Nickels.

The Western Washington defendants will be summoned to appear in federal court for arraignment June 1 and June 7, the U.S. attorney’s office in Seattle said in a news release.

Two other defendants have been arrested in Canada in connection with a related cheating scheme in Ontario, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

And here’s Mayor Nickels’s statement:

Sharon and I have just learned of the charges involving our son Jacob. We will be encouraging him to cooperate fully with the investigation. Until we know more we will have no comment on the substance of these allegations.

We love our son deeply and will be supporting him fully throughout this difficult time.

Some basics on 25-year-old Jacob Nickels: He dropped out of Western Washington University a few years ago after putting in about 5 years there. Then he took the Nooksack River Casino job in Whatcom County. He rose quickly through the ranks, becoming a pit boss.

However, he inexplicably quit and returned home to live with his parents in West Seattle late last year, getting a Starbucks job, I believe.

Jacob’s younger sister, Carey, attends the London School of Economics.

RSS icon Comments


HA HA HA !!!! Oh well Niclel's is still a lousy mayor no matter what the kid did.

Posted by Just Me | May 24, 2007 2:42 PM

Whew. Luckily it didn't involve a strip club.

Posted by SP | May 24, 2007 2:45 PM


Posted by Mr. Poe | May 24, 2007 2:50 PM

As we learned in the Strippergate era, taking contributions from shady characters is grounds for excoriation and removal from office. So hopefully, Jacob has never written his dad a check.

Posted by Trey | May 24, 2007 2:50 PM

I knew the Nanny Mayor doth protest too much. Can we impeach his bloated head for this?

Posted by DOUG. | May 24, 2007 2:53 PM

Been a tough couple of weeks for Nickels.

Posted by Jason | May 24, 2007 2:57 PM

stole millions of dollars by... falsely shuffl(ing) decks

Like Father like son - could Ceis be next?

Posted by whatever | May 24, 2007 2:59 PM

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

of course, there has never been a crooked casino

Posted by EssexE | May 24, 2007 3:03 PM

Hey now folks...let's take a couple deep breaths here. Yes, it isn't good at all, and at a minimum is negative PR for Nickels. But his son is an adult and until we know differently is the only one responsible for his actions.

Posted by Brad | May 24, 2007 3:05 PM


Sure. But, you know, that isn't fun. So we can go back to bashing the hell out of Mr. Mayor!

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 24, 2007 3:13 PM

Nickels is kind of so-so I wonder if this will become a topic in the next election.

Posted by Angry Andrew | May 24, 2007 3:18 PM

only if banning casinos becomes his next blue initiative or would it be allowing them... I know casinos but only in limited areas like his block in West Seattle.

Posted by whatever | May 24, 2007 3:22 PM

that way the kid could do home detention and still gamble...but I guess he doen't really gamble does he?

Don't blame a man for his father's sins but not the other way around.

Posted by whatever | May 24, 2007 3:26 PM

Carey Nickels sounds lovely though. Heh.

Posted by Carollani | May 24, 2007 3:31 PM

Yes, please; let's all chill until more is known.

There's also the possibility that (gasp!) Jacob Nickels is not guilty. I know that's not a popular possibility in these Law & Order SUV Ripped From the Headlines days, but not everyone accused by the government is guilty.

Posted by Original Andrew | May 24, 2007 3:36 PM

For those of you who squeal in delight at the pain of another, grow up.

Posted by Stranger Danger | May 24, 2007 3:47 PM

Well, the PI has said "oh, fuck it" in regards to reasonable doubt and written their usual hit piece for someone suspected of wrong doing.

Do they have a template or what?

Why don't we spare the guvmit the cost of a trial and have public hangings at Westlake Center at dawn?

Posted by Original Andrew | May 24, 2007 3:57 PM

aimless youth have a place in today's iraqi quagmire. high thee hence unto the recruiting office, young nickels. they're sure to drop the charges.

Posted by maxsolomon | May 24, 2007 4:23 PM

Thank you, Original Andrew--it's nice to see someone with an awareness of our prosecutorial, punitive culture, and our willingness to make an "other" of anyone charged with a crime.

Posted by thank you | May 24, 2007 4:38 PM


Posted by Andy Nicastro | May 24, 2007 4:39 PM

Schadenfreude is delicious. I wish someone would make it a dessert.

Posted by anonymous HERO | May 24, 2007 5:47 PM

Hm. Ripping off casinos. Now there's a crime I can't get too worked up over. Seems to me it's just part of the game.

Posted by cdc | May 24, 2007 6:10 PM

Go to Vegas: You can't swing a cat without hitting a Nickelsian character. They both fit right in with that fat-fingered, buffet-breath, Bob's Big Boy swooshed, hitchin-the-britches crowd. Guys like that gun their Caddies and brag, "That's power."

Posted by Sansabelt | May 24, 2007 7:15 PM

I blame Western, as a student here i can attest to the fact that 5 years is the average amount of time spent on a 4 year degree due to poorly designed curricula.

Posted by Vooodooo84 | May 24, 2007 8:14 PM

20 - your sister lost. karma is a boomerang man. grow up.

Posted by cher | May 24, 2007 8:25 PM

@ 25 - on the other hand, he's actually got better cause to savor it than most of us.

Posted by Mr. X | May 24, 2007 9:56 PM
Posted by Aislinn | May 25, 2007 8:48 AM

Good grief people.... I think Nickels is a pretty crappy mayor but I wouldn't wish this on any family.

Posted by Cameron | May 25, 2007 11:41 AM

Tch! Tch! Tch! You broke the cardinal rule-didn't you learn anything in dealing class, Jake? ...too bad your family has to suffer along with you though.

Posted by D-Nyed | May 25, 2007 12:39 PM

Tch! Tch! Tch! You broke the cardinal rule-didn't you learn anything in dealing class, Jake? ...too bad your family has to suffer along with you though.

Posted by D-Nyed | May 25, 2007 12:41 PM

Tch! Tch! Tch! You broke the cardinal rule-didn't you learn anything in dealing class, Jake? ...too bad your family has to suffer along with you though.

Posted by D-Nyed | May 25, 2007 12:42 PM

Like dumbass father, like dumbass son.

Also, I'm glad I stopped playing poker. It's nice to see cheating is still alive and well in casinos.

Also, Greg Nickels is a tool and I have no sympathy for him. And why should I? It's his kid that's a retarded lawbreaking fuck-up.

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