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Men Suspected In Gambling Ring Enter Not Guilty Pleas

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Michael Elick, left, and Daniel Dinner, right, in the Jefferson County Courthouse on Nov. 7, 2011. (credit: CBS)

Michael Elick, left, and Daniel Dinner, right, in the Jefferson County Courthouse on Nov. 7, 2011. (credit: CBS)

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GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Two men accused of running a large scale sports betting operation entered not guilty pleas Monday morning in Jefferson County Court.

The pleas come after an 18 month investigation, a grand jury indictment and federal court action seeking seizure of assets.

Daniel Dinner, 60, was charged in July with 28 counts, including professional gambling and violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act. Dinner had no comment as he left court Monday morning.

The indictment claims Dinner has been a professional booker most of his adult life. He would meet prospective clients at social events, country clubs and other locations.

Court documents claim Michael Elick, 38, started out as a runner for Dinner to arrange and receive payments, almost always in cash. He later took over the business.

“This is a criminal enterprise. Our goal, the overall goal is to dismantle the criminal enterprise,” Steve Johnson with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said.

In March Dinner’s home on Virginia Avenue in Washington Park was raided along with other locations by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. More than $1 million in cash was found.

Charlie Brown’s bar at 10th and Grant in Denver was identified as one of the places associated as part of the alleged criminal enterprise, but no charges were filed against the business. The indictment claims the bar had a credit line of more than $290,000 a week.

The manager of the Blake Street Tavern was named, but not charged as part of the alleged enterprise, as was the manager of the Sports Column in LoDo.

“It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances. I’ve been dealing with it since last April; cooperated fully with CBI. Mainly it’s nothing that the Sports Column, or the business, is involved in at all,” Sports Column bar manager Maek Kinsey said.

The operation allegedly used a website called BetJerrys.com. It has now been seized by federal agents.

Also named as a part of that enterprise was Denver Post sports reporter Jim Armstrong. He suddenly resigned from the newspaper on Friday. He told CBS4′s Rick Sallinger he had no comment.

Greg Moore, editor of the Post, issued a statement saying “readers have to believe and trust that all of us at the Denver Post cover events impartially and without a stake in the outcome.” He also stated that the newspaper takes the matter very seriously.

Dinner’s attorney told Sallinger that the indictment gave an inaccurate impression of his client who is really a “sweet generous man.”

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