Friday, May 30, 2008

What is the Real Story at Tri-State Casino?

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.


CarpetCwby said...

"I think reasonable people can deduce from the facts in evidence that something a little shady has been going on in Cross Lanes.... an elaborate scheme to swindle a gambling license out of Kanawha County voters and officials."

First, what are the facts in evidence? The only quantitative information I see posted is the delay of expansion and opening of table games, otherwise you've just thrown a bunch of personal opinion out there.

I think it's very reasonable to ensure proper plans are in place before throwing hundreds of millions of dollars into a facility in the middle of Kanawha Valley. What benefit is a gambling license without a facility? Bragging rights? The track generates jobs with respectible pay scales, not to mention pumps quite a bit into the business community. I think they should be commended for encouraging growth in an otherwise depressing economic time.

Charles said...

First, I did not mean the facts that I placed in evidence. I was referring to the facts that are out there in the public domain (published news stories and Tri-State press releases) along with a lot of hearsay from people who work at the track (or who used to).

Certainly it is "reasonable to ensure proper plans are in place..." but where was that due diligence before the election? It was Tr-State who said construction would start within 60 days, not me.

We will differ whether the track is encouraging economic growth, except for growing the economy of their parent company who will reap huge profits from table games. I think they can do that without delivering on the promised economic development of the $250 million building project, and it looks like to me that is exactly what they are doing.

I will be amazed if the project ever comes to fruition, and I will be the first to apologize if it does.

The naked truth said...

The vote No people are still here. As you know the millions spent getting the yes vote only produced a 350 + differential. The option will return in a couple of years and we will see a much different vote. The Danny Jones’ and the Kent Carpers’ will not be able to sell the lies of the track.
To the Carpetcyby you sold it once, you cannot sell it again.

Pissed Off Hillbilly said...

You left out that the track dumped ZMM as soon as it was feasible.
I'd look for them to dump the local contractor as well.

Anonymous said...