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Tropicana eyes layoffs, pay freezes

Jan 21, 2009 8:09 PM
Staff & Wire Reports |

As its proposed sale to a Baltimore developer nears, the Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City is freezing pay for top earners, capping wage increases for others and considering laying off as many as 117 employees.

Casino president Mark Giannantonio says the Tropicana is doing everything it can to avoid layoffs because it knows it will need staffing once the economy improves.

"We're working our way through a very difficult economic situation and attempting to try to avoid layoffs," he said Wednesday morning. "We're trying to do other things like reduced work weeks and altering schedules to keep people employed so that when the economy does improve, we'll still have them around."

In the interim, the Tropicana is instituting a pay freeze for employees making $50,000 and up, and capping annual raises for lower-paid employees at 2 percent per year, Giannantonio said.

The casino's future is to be a main topic of discussion at Wednesday's Casino Control Commission meeting, where investors and debt holders will seek a say in who will eventually wind up with the gambling hall.

"They're seeking the right to have their lawyers receive information, ask questions, and file objections," said Dan Heneghan, a spokesman for the casino commission. "In short, they want to become a stakeholder in the process."

The Tropicana has been operating under a state-appointed conservator for more than a year since its former owners lost their casino license after poor performance and massive layoffs.

The conservator, former state Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein, has named Baltimore-based Cordish Company as a potential purchaser in a bankruptcy court auction. he had hoped to have a purchase agreement ready to present to the casino commission for their approval at today's meeting, but now says he needs another two weeks.

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