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Atlantic City Round-up

17 January 2002

by Joe Weinert

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey –- Claridge Casino Hotel cut 11 more executive positions as a result of its June 2001 acquisition by Park Place Entertainment Corp.

The casino eliminated nine directors and two managers, whose jobs had become redundant with functions being performed elsewhere among the company's three other Atlantic City casinos.

Each of the affected employees received six months severance pay, and the nine directors also received 10 weeks' pay for a "stay bonus" stipulated during Claridge's bankruptcy reorganization last year.

Park Place bought Claridge in a bankruptcy sale for $65 million. Soon after the deal closed the company eliminated five officers and four directors.

*****

James Whelan lent his expertise as former mayor of Atlantic City to another city hoping to introduce casino gambling.

Whelan, who left office Dec. 31, was in the town of Blackpool, England, last week to answer questions from business, civic and political leaders, as well as residents. Blackpool, about 190 northwest of London, is like the old Atlantic City: a slumping seaside resort overtaken by snazzier tourist attractions elsewhere.

"What is being proposed here in Blackpool is very different to what happened in Atlantic City," Whelan told his audience, as reported in the Blackpool Gazette. "You are not talking about 12 casino hotels, you are talking about one."

United Kingdom firm Leisure Parcs wants to build the country's first casino resort in Blackpool. The company is proposing to build 100,000 square feet of gaming space, 1,000 hotel rooms, a 3,000-seat theater and a large retail, dining and convention complex.

"You are asking the right questions. Keep asking them, but whether this is right or wrong is for Blackpool to decide," Whelan told the group.

*****

The nearly 15,000 members of the Atlantic City casino industry's largest labor union will vote for president on Friday.

Local 54 of the Hotels Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union is the equivalent of the Culinary Union in Las Vegas.

A federal judge ordered the election due to the failure of current President Bob McDevitt's administration to mail notices and ballots to more than 1,500 members during the 1999 election.

Three challengers, including a Bally's bartender and a Trump Marina bartender, are trying to prevent McDevitt from a third term in office.

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