Sunday, July 11, 2010

Station Casinos' Executives Out To Lunch Without a Cell Phone: What's the Potential UFC Impact?

By: Rich Bergeron

$900 an hour lawyers should know better than to come into a casino bankruptcy without an open dialogue going with state gaming regulators. Yet, Station Casinos attorneys were caught with their pants down by the Reno, Nevada judge handling the case recently. It seems there has been no effort to even contact state regulators yet, though the company is already deep into bankruptcy. This Las Vegas Review Journal Article Says it All:

Lack of talk in Stations' bankruptcy case puzzles judge

Dana White Twitters with the best of them. Why can't the Fertittas or their attorneys follow his outspoken lead and pick up a phone and talk to some regulators? Probably because they are worried and leery of regulators finding out what's been going on there since the privatization of Station Casinos. That leveraged buyout is now being shrouded in conspiracy theories, and high-caliber lawyers are just now starting to dig into how that deal was done and who benefited most. We reported here on the suspicious lending anomalies regarding Station Casinos long before the bankruptcy was even looming. Frank Fertitta III had his signature on a few senior secured credit facilities for Station Casinos that are eerily similar to the one illustrated here (from a few years ago).

Another player, Vulture Capitalist Tom Barrack (His Colony Capital is part owner of Station Casinos and financed much of the buyout) is also raising eyebrows with billion dollar deals like this one. If the SEC slept on Bernie Madoff, they are in a coma in regards to this case and the tiers of corrupt players. From Xyience to Station Casinos, from Arc Investments to Zuffa this whole web of corruption is astounding in its scope and structure. This web is Global (Global Cash Access), National, and Local, and the longer it goes on unchecked the bigger the risk that MMA will end up with the black eye as a sport because of a few misguided people at the top levels of the sport. It is going to come crashing down at some point as all great schemes do. The Fertittas have made their money by borrowing upon borrowing and taking "dividends" from the company proceeds. They found a way to legally rape and pillage their own company with promises of a better tomorrow that turned out to be untrue.

Today, one can only hope the bankruptcy court and the regulators (whenever they do get involved) will find all the red flags and figure out what's really been going on all these years. The brothers Fertitta will have to eventually face the music. It's an open question as to how that will affect the UFC. If they have to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars in considerations and potential settlements with Station creditors, the family fortune may be so dwindled that they are forced to sell a large piece of the UFC organization to a friendly player. Mark Cuban or Vince Jr. (Shane McMahon) could be potential future insiders who wind up with controlling interests in the UFC if the Fertittas' funding sources run out and their credit dries up. Whatever happens, keep your eye on this Station situation and watch for the ripple effect.

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