FIESTA DEAL AWAITS FINAL HURDLE

Monday, November 20, 2000
By JEFF SIMPSON
 

   LAS VEGAS - North Las Vegas gaming and liquor license approvals are 
the remaining obstacles blocking Station Casinos' $185 million 
purchase of the Fiesta hotel-casino, after the Nevada Gaming 
Commission approved the deal Monday.
   The commission voted 5-0 to approve the Fiesta purchase, which 
Station Casinos expects to complete in early January.
    The North Las Vegas City Council voted 5-0 Wednesday to postpone 
Station Casinos' city gaming and liquor license applications after a 
union official raised concerns about layoffs expected from the 
pending sale.
   City officials have yet to decide whether to place the applications 
on the council's Dec. 6 agenda or to schedule a special meeting to 
consider the matter.

   Station Casinos Executive Vice President and general counsel Scott 
Nielson told the gaming commission that union criticism of his 
company is misguided.
   Labor organizers point to the expected layoffs of about 1,000 
Fiesta workers and the layoff of 900 workers at the Santa Fe before 
Station Casinos bought that nearby neighborhood casino for $205 
million.
   "I don't want to use a sensitive term, but I think that's fuzzy 
math," said Nielson. "We're creating more jobs at Santa Fe Station 
and the Fiesta, and those jobs have higher wages and benefits."
   Culinary Local 226 Staff Director D. Taylor disagreed.
   "These firings are quite bad for the community, quite bad for the 
industry and quite bad for the workers," Taylor told the commission. 
"Wholesale terminations are not necessary for successful gaming 
companies, but only with Station have we had wholesale terminations."
    Taylor spoke during the commission's public comment session after 
regulators had approved the Fiesta purchase. His union doesn't 
represent workers at the Fiesta, a nonunion property, although Taylor 
said he was speaking on the workers' behalf.
   The labor organizer also criticized Station Casinos for letting the 
Fiesta workers go while negotiating a deal with Ameristar to buy The 
Reserve in Henderson.

   Station Casinos, which is selling its two Missouri gaming 
properties to Ameristar, agreed to protect the jobs of Reserve 
workers in return for the same guarantee at their Missouri properties.
   Nielson said he believes a huge majority of the Fiesta's workers 
will eventually be offered jobs with Station Casinos, although he 
admitted that only 200 of the 700 Santa Fe workers who applied for 
jobs with the company have been hired to date.
    "We owe it to our team members and shareholders to hire the very 
best employees we can find," he explained.
   Nielson said 269 current Station Casinos employees have applied and 
been accepted for transfer to the Fiesta, and that about 800 of the 
Fiesta's current employees have filled out applications at the 
company's hiring center.
   The Fiesta currently employs slightly more than 1,000 workers, 
Nielson added, with his company planning to have 1,016 employees on 
staff when the purchase takes effect.

   In other Monday action, the commission voted 5-0 to approve the 
licensing of the Herbst family's Terrible's hotel-casino.
   It is built on the site of the old Continental Hotel, which was 
forced into foreclosure and later closed on March 31, 1999.
   The new property is tentatively scheduled to open in early 
December, general manager Mark Sterbens told the commission.
 

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