Today's news that Cathy Brackbill has resigned from Tri-State Racetrack and Gaming Center is more evidence that things are not as they seem to be at our local casino. Let's review:
In the early days of the public relations campaign to convince the voters of Kanawha County to approve Tri-State's wishes to become a full-fledged table games casino, Cathy Brackbill was trotted out as the public face of the track. Up until that time (2006) she had been serving as Director of Marketing and it was surprising to a lot of people that she was named General Manager. Some said that she was "window dressing" and had been promoted after a focus group didn't like Dan Adkins as the public face of the track during the campaign. These same people asserted that since it looked suspicious having a person who was known as the PR person leading the effort while the real boss hid in the shadows, Brackbill was given the title "General Manager" and suddenly became the face of the campaign. She remained in that role through the campaign.
The next phase of the project was the lead up to construction - or rather the explanation of why construction wasn't happening. You see, during the campaign the track had been saying it would build a $250 million "tourism and entertainment complex" and it would begin within 60 days of the election if the measure was approved. About 59 days after the election the track, through Ms. Brackbill, began crawfishing as excuse after excuse came out as to why construction hadn't started. It's good to have a PR specialist as the point person when the questions are tough and the answers aren't very good. She continued in this role until, well, we really don't know when it changed.
All we know is that in February it came to light that she was no longer the boss, that a new person had been installed over her: Rich Tesler had been appointed to the new position of Executive Director of Casino Operations. When a Gazette reporter inquired in response to some rumors that were circulating at the track, Dan Adkins said that there had been no announcement and would be no announcement, that the employees would read about it in the paper with the rest of the world. He said there might be a change in Brackbill's title, but he wasn't sure.
As of this writing, the Tri-State website lists Brackbill as Coordinator of Community Affairs. That doesn't sound like another name for General Manager, now does it? Sounds more like a PR person, doesn't it?
I hope the real story comes out, but I think reasonable people can deduce from the facts in evidence that something a little shady has been going on in Cross Lanes. Imagine that, dishonesty from a gambling institution.
As for me, I'll go on record saying I don't think there were ever plans for a $250 million anything and that Cathy Brackbill was a pawn in an elaborate scheme to swindle a gambling license out of Kanawha County voters and officials.