- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
Is Foxwoods Going Down?
Because the news out of Connecticut just isn’t looking good:
On the brink of default, the Mashantucket Pequots are seeking to restructure $2.3 billion worth of debt, a senior adviser to the tribe said in interviews this week.
The debt is $1 billion more than the tribe's Foxwoods Resort Casino - North America's largest casino and once the world's most profitable - can sustain, the adviser said. . . .
In a letter distributed by e-mail last week, Michael Thomas, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council, updated tribal members on the seriousness of the situation.
”Earnings are down considerably and there are no signs of immediate improvement,” he wrote. “... These are dire financial times for our Tribe.”
According to Bloomberg News, Foxwoods could be the largest tribal casino to default. So what to do?
Thomas – who faces tribal election this fall – apparently issued a letter saying he could give two cents about corporate rules and Malaysian investors and says he’ll pay his tribal members no matter how much debt he owes. And just to make super sure, Thomas states that he’s even passed a resolution calling upon the tribe to – and yes, this is a quote – put their "last borrowed dollars" into a lock box.
”Foxwoods is here to support our people not Wall Street,” he wrote. “Those who put the interests of bankers and bond holders ahead of our tribal community will have to answer to me. To make sure, I have introduced a resolution to take our last borrowed dollars and put them in a lock box only to be used for Government and Incentive.”
Now that’s a plan!
In case you’re wondering what type of mindset it takes to come up with a brilliant idea like that, it’s worth remembering that Thomas, a convicted felon who slid by gaming board rules against granting casino licenses to felons – is fighting a lawsuit on his own personal default of $5.2 million by claiming, and yes, again, this is a quote, he was bribed.
Glad to know that this is who Ron Rubin, City Council, the City Planning Commission, the Mayor, the Gaming Control Board, the DAG president, and a mess of others have lined up to back. Meanwhile, others who actually live with the consequences of these business ventures - like Gramercy and Foxwoods' former partners in Kansas - can't seem to put enough distance between them and this flailing company.
From Thursday's Daily News:
"We're acting on our own behalf, in our own best interest," Gramercy general counsel Edward Matey Jr. said this week. "None of our tenants favor a conversion of the use of the property from an office building to a mixed use, including a casino."
In following Foxwoods over the past year, I'm constantly reminded that this is not so much a powerhouse industry as it is a bizarre study of random and poor decisions and shady business dealings by folks like Thomas. From financing a $67 million road construction project to failed casino ventures in random spots like the Virgin Islands to a commitment to open a $225 million Kansas casino by 2010 - is it any wonder that the Market East project - once the city's biggest done deal - has been stalled since it was announced almost a year ago?
And the issue before all of us Philadelphians has less to do with what the Gaming Board rules on location or extension, than it does on emphasizing the bankruptcy of ideas – as well as literally finances – that has doomed gambling in Philadelphia from the start.
The Gaming Board will rule this Friday but, as I wrote about here, Foxwoods future hardly relies on them.