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They burned the Monte Carlo ... and may get away with it
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They burned the Monte Carlo ... and may get away with it
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Posted At : January 15, 2009 11:08 AM | Posted By : D McKee
Related Categories: Harrah's,The Strip,Dining,Current,Entertainment,Tropicana Entertainment,Reno,California,Economy,Marketing,Politics,MGM Mirage,Columbia Sussex,James Packer,Mesquite,Planet Hollywood,Regulation,Cannery Casino Resorts
After a fitful start, blogorrhea is sweeping the business desk of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, resulting a veritable flood of news nuggets today ...
Planet Hollywood prexy Michael Mecca has resigned to pursue the proverbial "other opportunities" at a time when revenues have been up. On the next Vegas Gang, Jeff Simpson predicts -- with unassailable logic -- that Mecca is going over to Crown Ltd. to head up James Packer's North American gambling operations (in which case Mecca will have his work cut out for him, but congratulations all the same).
A less-charitable alternative theory would be that Mecca has been scapegoated by Planet Ho for having been in charge when it got dragged into the Omar Siddiqui scandal. (The indicted ex-Fry's Electronics exec lost $9 million there in one gambling session alone.) Planet Ho's lawsuit against Siddiqui got tossed last month.
"No more wire hangers!" Whatever the case, somebody leaked Siddiqui's player profile to the San José Mercury News and, geez, this "whale" sure is a whiny little bitch. (Sorry, I meant that to read, "a high-value, loyal customer and a good friend of our casino staff, who look forward to his every visit.")
Good news for visitors: The Nevada Department of Transportation is at least talking about widening I-15 south of Tropicana Ave. Whether NDOT can get the money from Gov. Jim "Scissorhands" Gibbons is another matter, but it can at least remind Midnight Jim that he himself identified California as Nevada's Numero Uno tourism priority in the course of disparaging Asian marketing as "a waste of taxpayer money."
And who knew that the Circus Circus RV park was the new "in" place to stay?
Randy Black, aka Mr. Thrift. Many of his employees are out of work, the former Si Redd's Oasis may be a hollow sepulchre these days and his Black Gaming has defaulted on debt. But we don't need to pass the hat for the self-aggrandizing Black Sr. quite yet.
Seeing financial havoc all around him, Black decided that austerity measures are for other people (like his employees) and awarded himself a nearly 4% raise for this year, escalating to 5% for each year afterwards. Whatever meagre EBITDA Black's Mesquite casinos achieve, 5% of that will be redirected into Black's pockets as a "management fee," on top of $21,200 in other goodies.
At a time when Nevadans from all walks are being asked, or sometimes told, to accept wage freezes and outright reductions, Black's greed is a disgrace to the state. R-J reporter Arnold Knightly is to be commended for keeping tabs on SEC filings and ferreting out not-so-niceties like this.
In other news ...
Folies Bergere: 49 is the new 50.
From showgirls to no-girls: What's Ron Thacker's first official act as president of the Tropicana Las Vegas? What else but shut down Folies Bergere well shy of its 50th anniversary? The no-frills spirit of Columbia Sussex remains, protestations to the contrary, clearly alive and well [sic] at the Trop.
Thacker's press release made noises implying that the Trop had a replacement for Folies waiting in the wings but, when pressed by Norm(!) Clarke, a Trop flack could only weakly respond that it was "exploring options" and was "definitely not closing up shop." (The Trop gave the Las Vegas Sun a different, more definitive story, saying it does have a new show en route.) Unspecified property improvements are also promised. Pardon my skepticism, but we've heard that before -- and are still waiting.
Geez, first Titanic and Bodies take a hike over to Luxor (where they're doing even bigger business). Now this. Since it's a just a wee bit too cold for swimming right now, is there any reason left to visit the Tropicana? Bueller ... Bueller?
Harmon blame game: It looks as though the truncation of The Harmon into a 25-story stump is ultimately the fault of the same people who overlooked scofflaw remodeling jobs at sundry Harrah's Entertainment properties: Clark County's ever-(not)-vigilant building inspectors. "What? Fifteen floors of deficient rebar you say? Gosh, I guess I missed it. My bad. When's lunch?"
The Las Vegas Sun's story comes with a helpful graphic that shows how Perini Building Co. and its subcontractors ineptly installed and then further compromised the rebar that ultimately turned the (would-have-been) 49-story Harmon into what we might call The Half Harmon. In the accompanying video, Clark County's Ron Lynn threatens the culprits with a "potential disciplinary hearing." Oh, they must be quaking in their boots.
Peppermill exec in line for state job. No, not the beloved Peppermill restaurant on the Strip but rather Reno's Peppermill Resort Casino. Director of Marketing Kim Stoll is one of six finalists for the job of Nevada's tourism czar. Not making the cut was underqualified Gibbons crony Kirk Montero. Then again, Gibbons wants to eliminate the selfsame job that he tried to gift-wrap for Montero, so maybe the also-rans in this competition are its real winners.