Faces in the crowdWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
- Welcome to Richard St. Jean, who has been named general manager of the new Hollywood Casino in Toledo. Penn National Gaming said St. Jean has more than 25 years of experience, which he will apply to recruiting and training the 1,200 employees who will work in the $300 million facility. St. Jean has served as president of Native American Gaming and was in charge of Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, Calif., and the Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, Mich. St. Jean also worked at The Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, the Colorado Belle Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nev., Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.
Having once spent a day job-shadowing Tony Rodio, the general manager of Penn National’s casino in Lawrenceburg, Ind., I have a small amount of insight into the major amount of work St. Jean faces. We welcome him to Toledo and look forward to seeing what he and Penn National can build in our community.
- General Motors Chairman Dan Akerson visited the Toledo Transmission Plant on May 10 to announce GM will invest $204 million and 240 jobs in the plant to manufacture a new eight-speed transmission. “The last time I was here one thing was perfectly clear,” Akerson said. “I was told about 100 times, ‘We need more jobs’ and ‘We need more investments.’ When we made the decision to build an eight-speed transmission, I had heard of … the outstanding work ethic that is consistently demonstrated with the quality of the product that’s produced. It had to be Toledo.” This is welcome news and a sign there is still plenty of fight left in our city.
- Greg Maher, senior vice president of lending for the national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), was in Toledo on May 12 to deliver good news to more than five dozen local mortgage holders who are struggling to keep their homes. LISC is loaning $600,000 to Neighborhood Housing Services of Toledo (NHS) so it can purchase 63 mortgages from Wells Fargo bank to keep financial relationships and service local as the economy continues to challenge some of our hardest-hit citizens. Kudos to NHS Executive Director Bill Farnsel for pursuing innovative methods of community development.
- TARTA General Manager James Gee is not riding the wave of good news. First, Rep. Randy Gardner’s amendment to allow individual communities to withdraw from TARTA passed the Ohio House on May 6. Gee described the legislation as potentially “disastrous” to TARTA and that is not hyperbole. Gee is also in the center of an investigation involving public funds that were loaned by TARTA to a TARTA campaign committee for a levy. Ohio Auditor David Yost has declared the loans illegal and the Lucas County Prosecutor’s office is investigating. There are still many unanswered questions, and calls for Gee to be removed or prosecuted are premature. The Secretary of State’s advice which Gee said he followed, is being called into question, but there was no effort to hide the loans or deceive the public. Gee has been a trustworthy keeper of TARTA’s mission and there should be no rush to judgment or condemnation, especially from a prosecutor’s office that sometimes picks or passes on cases based on community and media relationships. We offer a vote of confidence that Gee will do what is best to make this right and to ensure that there will be no further issues with how public money is handled.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.