Casino Workers, Wawa Day – Thursday’s Roundup

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Local 54
Local 54 head Bob McDevitt went before the Casino Control Commission yesterday to talk about the hedge funds and private equity funds that have been buying up big stakes in casino companies, and every other company in god’s green America for that matter, and the threat they pose to local wage-earners.

Legal casinos were invited into Atlantic City, if I remember correctly, and granted a monopoly on the condition they’d employ lots of people and pump money back into the community. But if a few hedge fund managers who play jet-ski water polo together on the weekends own big stakes in a few of them, why not close down one or two to reduce labor costs? The pool of gamblers is more or less stable, so you make more money. It’s only a few thousand people your putting out of work, and your bonus is tied to performance. Those funds down outperform their indices by themselves!

I’m just speculating here, but there’s very little political downside to precipitating another casino crisis in Atlantic City. People assume Atlantic City is in crisis anyway because it’s a “disgusting liberal city” as one charming person put it to us recently. And every crisis is an opportunity for a politician to swoop in with some world-salvational redevelopment project that rewards his real estate friends. It’s the circle of life.

“No one could have thought that a profitable casino (Showboat) would close down in Atlantic City,” Cindy Pemberton, of Hammonton, told the commission, per David Danzis’ report. “We do not want to repeat the TPG and Apollo years at Caesars. My coworkers and I will not stand by while New York billionaires and millionaires strip our company for their own gain.”

  • A Local 54 PAC gave us a $500 contribution a few weeks ago (a proud day for us since my dear mother was in Local 54 and quit so she could watch my football games), which will help pay Route 40’s internet bill for a few months, a fact we feel the need to disclose while adding that we’d happily have written the above anyway. If you want to contribute to our reporting costs and help us spend more time on Route 40, you can also contribute here or via PayPal here. If you want to know more about who we are and what we do, read this.

Shameless Jersey Devil Promo
In unrelated news, today is Wawa Day! I say that not to promote Wawa (though god bless them) but because I’ll be hanging out at the Leeds Point Wawa with Brian Donohue, host of Positively New Jersey! on News 12 to discuss my charming book, The Domestic Life of the Jersey Devil, some of which was researched at Wawa.

John Stout
David Weinberg at the Press of AC has a delightful story about John Stout, the longtime wrestling coach at Southern Regional, who is retiring. Southern won the state Group V championship this year, and Stout’s son is off to wrestle at Penn next year. Bless.

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