Stop Predatory Gambling

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Our Team

We are always seeking highly-motivated, hard-working people to join our team who want to help our country live up to its ideals. We have opportunities in almost every part of the country. Please send a resume and a cover letter to mail[at]stoppredatorygambling.org or call (202) 567-6996.

Les Bernal – National Director

Like many of the thousands of citizens who have fought against government-sponsorship of casinos and lotteries over the last twenty-five years, Les was a convert to the cause. The more he learned about how this public policy produces unfairness and inequality in American life, the more committed he became to work for a fairer and more hopeful vision of the path to American prosperity.

Les has been the National Director of the SPG Foundation since it was formed in 2008. During this time, he has spoken and written extensively about how government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries produces unfairness and inequality in America. He has testified before Congress, he has appeared on national television and radio including 60 Minutes, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, National Public Radio and The BBC.  He has been interviewed by national newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, and The Los Angeles Times. He has also spoken before dozens of business organizations, college audiences and faith groups across the nation.

Prior to joining the national movement, Les served as a Chief of Staff in the Massachusetts State Senate and worked as a campaign strategist for more than forty federal and state campaigns. He is also a former college and high school basketball coach, founder of the Robert Frost Foundation in Lawrence, Massachusetts- the hometown of America’s favorite poet – and a past chairman of the city’s Planning Board.

Les graduated from Ithaca College with a B.A. in English and earned a M.P.A. from Suffolk University.

Phone: (202) 567-6996 x1
Email: Les[at]stoppredatorygambling.org

Tom Grey – Senior Advisor

Tom Grey has helped lead the national movement against predatory gambling for almost twenty years. He first became active in the predatory gambling movement when a riverboat casino was docked in his county in 1992. Joining with other concerned citizens from across the political spectrum, hailing from every region in the U.S., Tom emerged as a leader for the movement representing a diverse national coalition of groups and individuals.

Hailed as “Prophet of the Year” by The Chicago Tribune, and “Riverboat Rambo,” Tom traveled the country, teaching local citizen groups how to organize and fight back against the enormous spending by predatory gambling interests in their bid to overpower state and local governments.

Tom has appeared in numerous major media outlets including: Time; U.S. News and World Report; The Los Angeles Times; The Nation; The Chicago Tribune; The New York Times; The Wall Street Journal; The Philadelphia Enquirer; PBS’s Frontline; and 60 Minutes.

Before becoming a minister, Tom served as the commander of a U.S. Army rifle company in Germany and as a military advisor to a Vietnamese infantry battalion in Vietnam. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. He has served four churches, including one bi-racial congregation made up of members from four denominations: Presbyterian, United Methodist, Disciples of Christ, and the United Church of Christ.

Phone: (202) 567-6996 x2
Email: Tom[at]stoppredatorygambling.org

Melynda Litchfield – National Victims Advocate

In April of 2012, Melynda’s life was permanently and profoundly affected by devastating effects of problem gambling. Through the gray clouds of ruin, she eventually found purpose in telling her story to bring awareness about the unfairness and inequality produced by government sponsorship of casinos and lotteries and its nefarious and predatory practices.

This journey has allowed her voice to be heard on TV, radio and several newspaper publications including The Wall Street Journal, Daily Herald, and The Chicago Tribune. She is thrilled to now be partnering with Stop Predatory Gambling, a 501c3 organization based in Washington DC, as a National Victims Advocate.

Melynda has been a Registered Nurse for over 30 years, in the Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Department and as hospital Nursing Supervisor. She is most proud of being presented the Life Saving Partners Award by Jesse White and the Community Pillar Award for her collaboration and efforts with Gift of Hope to facilitate and improve the Organ Donation program. Melynda has been active in her community, serving on her church council and school PTO boards, coaching girls basketball, acting in local theatre, and has been elected precinct committeeman for her township.

Melynda has been published in several nursing related journals and graduated from Bradley University with a BSN in Nursing.

Email: Melynda[at]stoppredatorygambling.org

Debbie Blank- Financial Manager

As the SPG Foundation’s Financial Manager, Debbie Blank brings over thirty-five years of business and non-profit expertise to the organization.  She has served as Vice-President of a national restaurant chain, co-owner of family businesses and Mobilization Coordinator for Gambling with the Good Life in Nebraska as well as volunteering on nearly two dozen local and national non-profit boards.  Currently, Debbie is President of Living Word Ministries and uses her financial background to assist several non-profit groups.  She and her husband, Bob, have two grown sons and live in Omaha, NE.

Jonathan Krutz, Development Director

Jonathan has been an effective and persuasive advocate against government’s predatory gambling policy at the state and national level for sixteen years. In addition to joining the SPG team in December 2012, he currently leads JK Analytics, Inc., a communications firm in Boise, Idaho.  He was named 2006 Nonprofit Executive of the Year in Lincoln, Nebraska and has served as CEO of three award-winning nonprofits and a Midwestern agricultural company.  He also has taught business at Boise State University, Doane and Concordia colleges in Nebraska, and several schools in Southern Russia.  Jonathan graduated from the honor’s college of Valparaiso (Indiana) University and earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Iowa.

Arelia Taveras, National Victims Advocate

Arelia was a  New York attorney who became disbarred as a result of her gambling addiction to casinos promoted by the government.  She is now a passionate and articulate advocate for compulsive gamblers struggling with the consequences of gambling addictions.  She supports major legislative changes to government’s partnership with casinos and lotteries and hopes to bring national attention to this deadly addiction which has been ignored by the public health community.

Adam Magaletta- Intern

Adam is an intern and a junior at North Andover High School. He has a strong interest in helping people through the political process and specifically in working towards an America where lives are not ruined by the government’s promotion of predatory gambling.

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