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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Report Shows Station Casinos Insiders, Not the Recession, Drove the Company into Bankruptcy 

Press Release from Culinary Workers Union Local 226:

Report Shows Station Casinos Insiders, Not the Recession, Drove the Company into Bankruptcy: Labor Union Calls on Company Creditors to Demand Significant Equity Investment from Insiders

Las Vegas—In light of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Station Casinos, Inc., the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 is calling on creditors to demand a significant equity investment by insiders, who have amassed over $1 billion from the company. According to an analysis released by the union, the company could have averted bankruptcy if not for the substantial debt it took on largely to enrich a small group of company insiders. The report examines how this debt enabled insiders to extract over a $1 billion from the company in recent years and that these insiders, not the global recession, drove the company into bankruptcy.

Station Casinos is a major employer in the Las Vegas Valley, many of whose over 13,000 employees are family members or friends of Culinary Union workers. The union’s members, as well as the larger community, are rightly concerned about the continuing uncertainty over the future of the company and its impact on Las Vegas.

“Station Casinos is a uniquely Las Vegas company that owes it success to Las Vegas locals like our members,” said D. Taylor, Culinary Workers Union Local 226 Secretary-Treasurer. “The company has a special obligation to our community. Its owner-managers have a responsibility not just to their Wall Street lenders and investors, but to their employees, customers, suppliers, and vendors right here in this community. The livelihoods of a lot of people and their families are closely tied to this company’s financial well-being. Clearly, the owner-managers and other insiders were more interested in extracting wealth from the company for themselves than ensuring its and its employees’ future. Now it’s time for them to give back.”

The report shows:

· Company insiders, led by members of the Fertitta family, nearly tripled the company’s long-term debt load between 2005 and the end of 2007 from $1.9 billion to $5.2 billion.

· Of the new debt incurred during this period, more than two-thirds was used to buy back shares and to complete a management-led buyout, both of which significantly benefited a small group of insiders.

· In 2006 and 2007, the company borrowed $990 million to buy back 14 million in outstanding shares. This was the true cost of the company’s stock compensation program over the previous years, which had been described by an independent proxy advisory firm as “the most expensive and liberal we have reviewed” and an “excessive transfer of wealth” to insiders.

· In 2007, the company took on $1.6 billion of new debt to complete a management-lead buyout. More than $660 million – or 40% – of the proceeds went to company insiders. The Fertitta family received $495 million alone as a result of the buyout.

· If the company had forgone these two non-productive transactions – the share buybacks and the buyout – it would have $2.6 billion less debt, significantly less interest expense, and could have averted bankruptcy.

· Since 2001, company insiders received more than $1 billion in executive compensation and from the buyout even as they led the company down the path toward bankruptcy. In contrast, other stakeholders in the company have had to suffer the consequences of their financial mismanagement. Not only is the company in Chapter 11 reorganization under the bankruptcy code, the company stopped matching employees’ 401(k) contributions, more than doubled PPO health care premiums for rank-and-file workers, slashed shifts and cut hours for workers, and terminated hundreds of long-time employees by replacing coffee shops with subcontracted restaurants.

The Culinary Workers Union, Local 226, an affiliate of UNITE HERE, is the largest local labor union in the gaming industry. The Culinary represents approximately 55,000 casino and resort workers on the Las Vegas Strip, in downtown Las Vegas, and in downtown Reno.

For a copy of the report please contact Ken Liu at 702-387-7001 or kliu@culinaryunion226.org.


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