Court dismisses suit against Troha in Kenosha casino deal 6-13-07

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A state appeals court on Wednesday upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit that accuses indicted businessman Dennis Troha of trying to edge other investors out of a proposed casino project.

Investors who filed the suit claim Troha violated an operating agreement to develop a casino in Kenosha with them and tried to unjustly enrich himself.

Troha, a former trucking magnate, has been indicted on charges related to campaign donations to Gov. Jim Doyle, who would have final approval of a casino.

Investors formed NII-JII Entertainment in 1994 to develop an Indian gaming casino in Kenosha with the Menominee Indian Tribe. They accused Troha of abandoning them in 2001 and creating his own development company to work with the tribe.

They said he violated the agreement's confidentiality and noncompete provisions, among other things, by taking their work product and development plans. The investors argued Troha was part of the agreement because he was a member of NII-JII's founders' board and business entities that he controlled invested in the project.

The appeals court rejected the investors' claims, saying Troha was never a personal investor in the project or party to the operating agreement. The court noted that NII-JII's plans failed when the group withdrew its proposal after two of its investors' questionable activities were made public.

Troha was indicted in March for allegedly committing fraud and lying to the FBI about more than $100,000 in donations he and family members made to Doyle and others. He has pleaded not guilty.

Days before the indictment, Troha withdrew from the project with the Menominee to build an $808 million casino in Kenosha. The Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut bought Troha's stake in the project, which still needs approval from the federal government and Doyle to become reality.