Allegations that Berman was involved in this year's casino effort were made early in October after a business proposal written in January surfaced that named My Ohio Entertainment, with Berman as a participant, as a partner to one of the casino campaign's consultants.

Tony George, a Cleveland developer, told The Associated Press at the time that Berman had approached him after the 2008 proposal failed in search of partners for a repeat effort.

"My understanding through his representatives was that he felt that this is the time to pass gambling in Ohio," said George, chairman of the George Group. "But he realized it wasn't just going to be one casino, that you've got to include the major population areas like Cleveland-Akron, Toledo, Columbus, Cincinnati. He was looking for allies."

George didn't know at the time whether Berman had succeeded in finding a business link to the 2009 effort, and the pro-casino Ohio Jobs & Growth Committee denied any relationship. They said the document appearing to name Berman as a player was merely a proposal that had not been accepted.

Bob Tenenbaum, a committee spokesman, said Thursday that the deal with Berman was struck after that time.

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