The first thing you notice is the crowds standing around the exits having a
smoke or just chatting. No real anger, just a sense of resignation and a reluctance to actually leave this one last time. I talked to woman who had opened the Siena 9 years ago – she had just enough time to pack a couple boxes of things from her office (mugs, service
certificates, a couple stuffed animals, an autographed picture) and get them out the door. All the employees leaving seemed to be taking a few small objects with them to remember their time at the Siena – a cook with a salad bowl holding the contents of his locker and a
cherished fry pan, a woman with a vase of flowers.
The casino doors were chained shut from the inside with yellow chain
link and locks. Casinos never expect to have to shut the doors, and don’t
have the right hardware to do so elegantly. Signs were up telling the
sports book customers that their tickets would be honored at any Cal Neva
book location. The linen services was stripping the table cloths from the
restaurants and hauling them away before they got locked in.
At 11:50, the closure notices started getting pasted up at the hotel entrance, then around the entire facility. Siena wasn’t allowing press on the property, though all the TV stations had reporters on the street. Security politely asked me to join them, and I melted into the stream of employees leaving their jobs for the final time.
I guess you can look at the complete closure of the Siena as either sudden or excruciatingly prolonged. This Court Filing from 20 October 2010 sheds some light on the final hours. On 8 October, Siena faced “liquidity” issues and couldn’t make their weekly payments to NV Energy to literally keep the lights on. While considering shuttering the entire operation at that time, Siena claimed that they were in ongoing negations with parties (the number fluctuates) to either provide capital or to purchase the facility. The decision to close the casino freed up funds from the bankroll to pay NV Energy. The final party still looking at the Siena will complete their due diligence by 29 October, and the decision to proceed with Chapter 11 Bankruptcy or to enter Chapter 7 (liquidation of assets) will be made then.
The filings in the BK case have been fascinating, with the Siena trying to get court approval to add consultants and protection from creditors. They wanted a “reduced rent” for $11,000 per month approved (down from over $525K!) even though the operation wasn’t making money. They even tried to get Barney Ng’s son-in-law’s law firm a $7000 per month retainer at a “family discount” price. This brought a stinging rebuff from the Administrator of the BK action, but illustrates the underhanded tactics still being persued by the Siena parties even in bankruptcy.
So 7 or 11? Roll the dice on 29 October.