pop culture, pittsburgh, and potpouri
Friday, April 18, 2008
Don Bardem Says: Screw The Hill District I Have My Own Problems!
Back When there was talk of the new Penguins arena having a slots license, Don Bardem pledged 3 million dollars to help revitalize the area around the Penguins areana known as the Hill District. Well, that was sooo 2006. Barden has backed out of his pledge due to "the grant of development rights to another party." This comes as no surprise because Bardem has been in a financial mess recently with the financing of his North Shore Casino. He included the request to withdraw funding from the Hill with a request seeking to modify the financing for his Pittsburgh casino, which is scheduled to open in May 2009. In an annual report filled last week, Majestic Star Casino LLC reported $26.1 million in losses last year and claimed $556.7 million in debt, leaving it with very little cash to upgrade its properties to better compete, particularly in Indiana and Mississippi. Bardem is assuring Pittsburgh that this won't have an impact on the North Shore Csino, but it already has. Barden's Pittsburgh company PITG Gaming LLC, obtained a $200 million "bridge" loan to start construction of the North Shore casino because PITG Gaming has yet to obtain the $450 million in permanent financing required to build the casino more than a year after winning the state license to operate it. UH OH. Barden insists that the debt and inability to acquire permanent financiing are unrelated. PITG Gaming LLC is a serperate entity than Majestic Star. They are both subsidiaries of Barden Development INC. Most have blamed the subprime mortgage disaster for some of the financing problems. Barden says that the issues with his other casinos are distinct and related to competition, which the Pittsburgh Casino won't have a problem with. Regardless, this is not great news for Pittsburgh, especially when the city has soo much riding on this Casino.