Speaker Accepts Rep. Laurie Sanborn’s Resignation from Gaming Study Commission

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Rep. Laurie Sanborn, R-Bedford

Concord, NH – House Speaker Sherman Packard, R-Londonderry, released the following statement after accepting the resignation of Rep. Laurie Sanborn, R-Bedford, from her position as Chairman of the Commission to Study the Effect of Recent Changes Made to the Charitable Gaming Laws, Including the Newly Authorized Historical Horse Races: 

“Given its importance, I feel it was appropriate for Rep. Sanborn to resign as Chair of the Commission to Study the Effect of Recent Changes Made to the Charitable Gaming Laws at this time, so there will be no distractions from the good work they intend to do.”

Packard did not immediately provide her resignation letter to InDepthNH.org.

House Democratic Leader Matt Wilhelm, D-Manchester, had called for Rep. Sanborn’s removal from any House position with oversight of the gaming industry.

“It was appropriate that Rep. Laurie Sanborn has decided to step away from the commission directly involved in the oversight of charitable gaming, however she remains the Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, where members will resume work on retained bills specific to charitable gaming this month. I have asked that Speaker Packard remove her from her leadership position on Ways and Means Committee to salvage public trust in our legislative process,” Wilhelm said Friday.

On Thursday, Attorney General John Formella announced that Rep. Sanborn and her husband former Republican state Sen. Andy Sanborn are under investigation in connection with a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan of $844,000 and using it to buy personal luxury items.

Formella said Mr. Sanborn bought at least three race cars, two Porsche 987 Cayman S racers for himself, and a Ferrari F430 challenge racer as a gift for his wife, Rep. Sanborn.

Formella said in a news release that former state senator Andy Sanborn is not suitable to be associated with charitable gaming in New Hampshire due to evidence of COVID-19 relief fraud involving his Concord Casino charitable gaming business.

Formella said his office has opened a criminal investigation, including a review by the Public Integrity Unit of the actions of all of the individuals and entities involved.

That includes Andy Sanborn and Rep. Laurie Sanborn, who is also House Speaker Pro Tempore, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and was recently named chair of a new commission formed to evaluate charity gaming operations.

Formella also made a criminal referral to the United States Attorney’s Office – District of New Hampshire.

His determination now triggers administrative action by the Lottery Commission that could result in Concord Casino’s loss of its facilities license and game operator employer license, the news release stated.

Andy Sanborn said in a statement to WMUR that he did nothing wrong.

“Like so many businesses and organizations, we applied for federal relief to assist in meeting the operational challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the process, we did our due diligence to ensure compliance with all application requirements and standards,” he said in the statement reported by WMUR. “While I strongly disagree with the Commission’s statements, I welcome the examination ahead as I have full confidence our actions were transparent and in complete accordance of the law.”

Formella said the “compelling evidence of COVID-19 relief fraud” was discovered during a legally mandated suitability review.

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