Update @5:09 pm- From an anonymous email…
I read your blog post and felt compelled to do some digging through a few SEC reports. Here is a nice tidbit from MTR Gaming Group, Inc.’s most recent SEC filing (8-K, July 15, 2009)
“The Registrant expects EBITDA [this means earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amoritzation] from continuing operations of approximately $18.5 to $20 million (after severance costs of $160,000 and strategic costs associated with lobbying and gaming efforts in Ohio of $350,000), compared to EBITDA from continuing operations of $18.0 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2008.”
This could answer some of your questions about who paid for what private plane. MTR spend $350,000.00 solely on lobbying Ohio to adopt slot machines in the last few months? Makes you wonder when they knew Strickland was considering it.
Compare this with what MTR Gaming has spent to lobby in Penn. in the last five years.
On July 10th, Kim Redfern, lobbyist for Mountaineer Gaming and wife of Ohio Democrat Party Chairman Chris Redfern, wrote as her Facebook status: “Great, I’m making national headlines now! I guess there is more than one “Redfern” grabbing the headlines. Ha!!” It included a link to AP’s Julie Carr Smyth’s report about politically connected lobbying interests, including Kim’s, which would directly profit from the passage of Ted Strickland’s flip-flop on VLT’s.
She may had had even more to laugh and smile about, as Mountaineer Gaming would be the provider of VLT’s to Ohio’s racetracks and their company’s stock price increased by 50% the same day that the Senate budget compromise was announced.
But after more media reports, and after Chris Redfern held a press conference where he was peppered with questions over his discussions with the Governor regarding Mountaineer Gaming (and blamed the story on me!), he isn’t smiling now.
A good question for a reporters to start answering is: Who pays for the Redferns’ extravagant travel? As I have mentioned before, Redfern married into wealth, so extensive travel is not surprising. However, a round-trip to D.C. on a chartered jet like this would cost roughly $10,000.
Here is a picture from Kim’s Facebook profile, which includes the caption: “Flying in style to the Obama Inauguration! Reese’s first plane trip at 1 1/2 months old!”
It is highly doubtful that the Ohio Democrat Party paid for the plane, as: 1) there is no record of this expense I can find, and 2) You can tell just by how they are sitting. My reasoning is: Most private jets have a layout with four “captain’s chairs” facing each other, with two on each side, and a sofa along the wall. It is proper etiquette for the host (or owner) to use captains’ chairs to face forward. Therefore, we can be quite certain this is someone else’s plane. (The windows show that this is not a Gulfstream or a Lear, so it is probably a Cessna or Haker.)
Was the jet provided by Mountaineer Gaming? Or was it provided by some other special interest trying to buy access to the most powerful Ohio Democrat via his lobbyist wife?
And, as Democrats claim to be the party of the common man- the poor, the downtrodden, the losers in life’s lottery- how many average Democrats would be able to spend 1/4th of their annual salary on a short airplane ride?
And while we are on the subject, did some special interest fund the Redferns’ extravagant trip to Florence?
And with the recent boost in Mountaineer Gaming stock prices, perhaps they can afford a new home in Tuscany?
Something about this stinks, and if this story involved all Republicans, Chris Redfern would have already been forced to quit his current position in disgrace.
It was less than three months ago when Gov. Strickland came out strongly against gambling, only to change his mind. Chris is a former State Representative, and left office so recently that he is prohibited by law from lobbying. But can Chris honestly say that he- the CHAIRMAN OF THE DEMOCRATIC PATTY- had NO conversations with the DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR Ted Strickland about this giant scheme to fill the budget deficit with VLT’s from a company which employs Chris’ wife? If you believe that, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.