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2007-12-12

Kentucky Fried gaming license

SEATTLE, Washington - It's not easy to be denied a gaming license in New Jersey, but Kentucky-based Columbia Sussex Corp. has managed to do it. Columbia Sussex bought the parent company of the Tropicana Atlantic City this past January and has been operating under temporary licensing.

In the months following the acquisition, about 25% of the workforce was laid off (including several friends of mine) and allegations have flown that the deep layoffs left the property in a filthy, poorly operated state. During licensing hearings last month, fired executive Fred Buro (bitter laid-off guy, or conscience of a casino?) discussed the alleged hissy fits of CS head William J. Yung regarding layoffs and regulatory oversight:


The new owner of Tropicana Casino and Resort chafed at regulatory oversight and flew into a rage when told he would not be allowed to make all of the job cuts he wanted, the casino's former president testified Wednesday.

"He said, 'I told you not to tell the regulators. Now you go back and make these cuts, or I'll find someone else who will,'" Fred A. Buro recalled of an angry warning from William J. Yung III, the Kentucky businessman who acquired Tropicana in January.
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Buro said Yung was irate after learning that Buro had discussed proposed job cuts with the New Jersey Casino Control Commission and its sister agency, the Division of Gaming Enforcement. Gaming regulators were concerned about hundreds of layoffs Tropicana had made under Yung's ownership and wanted to be told of others that were being considered.

Yung planned on making $30 million to $40 million in payroll cuts at Tropicana as his company, Columbia Sussex Corp., prepared to take ownership of Tropicana. He began aggressively cutting jobs from the very beginning and complained that New Jersey casino regulators were interfering in his business when they objected to additional layoffs, Buro testified.

"It became a New Jersey thing with him. 'Is this the way you do business in New Jersey?'" Buro said of Yung's reaction to the regulatory system.

Yeah, Mr Yung, that's exactly the way you do business in New Jersey.

Columbia Sussex will appeal the ruling, but unless they win the appeal they're going to have to sell the property.

The old Atlantis casino was the last operating property to be denied a license, in 1989. Hilton was denied a license to operate a new property (that they had just finished building!) in 1985; this property was prompty sold to Donald Trump and is now the Trump Marina casino.

1 comments:

Christine said...

Maybe Yung became just a little too local and was enamored with the old tires and rusted appliances on the sides of the roads and stuff. He may have thought the overflowing garbage pales added to the ambiance of the lovely Tropicana. Heck, spotting odd litter is one of my favorite parts of a Philly trip. ;-)