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Isle of Capri hires firm to find minority-, women-owned business for casino construction

Thursday, October 27, 2011

(Photo)
Workers at the Isle of Capri casino site begin pouring the concrete for the basin which will hold the floating casino floor on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011.
(Kristin Eberts) [Order this photo]
ST. CHARLES, Mo. -- Isle of Capri has hired a company that specializes in finding minority- and women-owned businesses to participate in the ongoing construction of its $125 million casino in Cape Girardeau.

The company informed the Missouri Gaming Commission of the decision during a closed-door meeting Wednesday, chairman Jim Mathewson said.

"They have anticipated at some point they were going to run into a problem," Mathewson said. "But finding a minority contractor in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is not an easy task. Consequently, now they're focused on it."

Isle executives would not comment on the private discussion, which took place Wednesday morning following the commission's open meeting at city hall in St. Charles.

The commission only requires that casino companies make their "best effort" to use such companies, both during construction and after toward operational costs. Commission spokeswoman LeeAnn McCarthy said there are no specific goals casino companies have to reach or maintain.

But the commission, which regulates the state's gambling industry, takes an active interest in promoting minority- and women-owned businesses and reviews participation, Mathewson said.

Isle knows what the commission's expectations are, said spokeswoman Jill Alexander. In this case, the commission was talking about the construction phase, which would include plumbers, electricians, suppliers and the like, Alexander said.

At the same time, she said, Isle is committed to including local vendors.

"It just makes it a challenge," Alexander said. "In our quest to maximize our efforts, we recognize that there are some hurdles to overcome, and we had a dialogue with the gaming commission to that effect."

Isle declined to release any numbers about how many minority- and women-owned businesses have been used so far in the construction of the casino, which is expected to open in December 2012.

Such scrutiny continues following the construction of casinos. During the regular meeting, commissioners questioned executives from Lumiere Place Casino and Hotel in St. Louis. One pointed out that Isle of Capri's casino in Boonville, Mo., does a better job of using minority-owned vendors for operating its casino than Lumiere does in metropolitan St. Louis.

"How does that happen?" commissioner Barrett Hatches asked.

Locally, the demographics may offer the biggest clue: according to 2010 U.S. census data, Cape Girardeau County is 88.7 percent white, while the largest minority group, blacks, make up 7 percent of the population.

Of the 7,342 companies in the county, only 2.5 percent are owned by blacks, the data shows, while 24.6 percent are owned by women. Construction, however, is a field largely dominated by men.

So finding a local firm that is owned by one of those two groups looks to be difficult, according to economic development officials.

In 2009, the Cape Girardeau city government was forced to rebid a contract for construction on Fountain Street because not enough minority- and women-owned subcontractors were involved at first.

"I think the biggest thing is to find the two together," said Mitch Robinson, executive director of Cape Girardeau Area Magnet. "You can find local. You can find minority and women-owned businesses. But in Southeast Missouri and in other parts of the state, there's a major shortage of those eligible companies to do business with."

During the open meeting, Isle's vice president of design and construction Dick Meister gave the commission a construction update. Construction is slightly ahead of schedule, he said, adding that the concrete portion of the basin that will hold the floating floor is complete. The floating floor, he said, is expected to be completed by February.

Mathewson said after the meeting he was pleased with Isle's progress.

"They're really moving," he said.

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I am of the belief that actions and policy like this is what keeps racism alive and thriving. If minorities wanted this work, then let them contact them and apply.It's the division and classifications they give people that brings about racism.

-- Posted by mohacker on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 6:04 AM

lol just build the **** thing! Good grief lol

-- Posted by Pops90 on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 7:37 AM

And people wonder why our country is in a recession. Too many liberals with stupid rules that punish good companies and cause reverse discrimination. Maybe we could find some chinese company to do the work and bring all the building materials too.

-- Posted by stinker on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 7:49 AM

They come to a town with an 88% white population. They go to the community leaders who are mostly white. They speak to local union members who have a white majority. They speak to the firemen, police officers, and other groups consisting mostly of white people. They search for a location in a predominantly white area. They take the VOTE from white voters. Did they take votes from 50% white voters, 30% black voters, 20% other race voters? They will take the money from white gamblers or only 50% white gamblers, 30% black gamblers, and 20% other race?. They will take the money from white diners. And NOW they say they can't hire the local people because there are not enough blacks and minorities? Seems to me their yard signs said 400 JOBS. They didn't say 200 white jobs. 150 black jobs, 50 other race jobs. Why is this a racial issue? Will they have someone at the door letting customers in based on race?

And if they are so smart, why didn't they know this was going to be an issue? Look at the population. This is reverse discrimination. This insanity has got to stop. Not everything is a racial issue.

-- Posted by smart_mom on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 7:53 AM

Attitudes like these comments are precisely why there are regulations to govern those who hold government contracts and licenses (such as a gaming license).

-- Posted by hello7777 on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 8:23 AM

This is why we the people have to defeat the insanity and take government back from corrupt career polititians. Go to http://goooh.com/ and take a look around. Spread the word. Only YOU can stop this.

http://goooh.com/ GET OUT OF OUR HOUSE!

-- Posted by thewonder on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 8:54 AM

Equal opportunity does not begin with preferential treatment - in anything. Preferential treatment just breeds the expectation of more of the same.

-- Posted by malan on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 9:03 AM

All one has to do is look at the bios of the commission members on their website.

Did you take the initiative to go look, or are you waiting for the rest of my comment?

...I'll go get a cup of coffee while you go look...

OK, I'm back. Did you go look?

See what I mean?

-- Posted by Hawker on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 9:06 AM

Reverse discrimination, plain and simple. It happens in the government work force too. If they really want to take away bias, then any type of application or bid, once it makes it to the deciding official, should not contain any names, sex, race or age. Hire based on experience, success rate, accomplishments, education, etc. It's these types of situations that make my blood boil. It's just as bad as when I was in college and there were black only scholarships. Not once did I see a white only scholarship. We're all suppose to be equal right? It's those types of things that keep racism alive in this country.

-- Posted by truetiger98 on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 9:24 AM

Great post at 7:53 Smart Mom.

-- Posted by Thought Criminal on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 9:33 AM

Call it what you want Spaniard, it is what it is. By trying to be PC and not discriminate against the minority group, they end up doing it to the majority. For some reason they think they need to have a certain percentage of minorities involved. By trying not to discriminate against the minorities, they are then reversing the whole thing and discriminating against the majority, hence the term reverse discrimination. I say award the job based on merit. Of course some professions are dominated by males so there will be a higher percentage.

-- Posted by truetiger98 on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 9:34 AM

Cape's actually about 81% white, but I digress.....

-- Posted by Pops90 on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 9:35 AM

Cape city, that is

-- Posted by Pops90 on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 9:37 AM

there goes the local construction jobs that the pro casino group touted would come to the area...

-- Posted by TommyStix on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 9:50 AM

Spaniard, You're right! Makes about as much sense as "the senate ethics committee" or a "hot water heater" or "irregardless".

-- Posted by malan on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 1:29 PM

Seems they have reinvented discrimination.

-- Posted by yy4me on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 2:09 PM

NO discrimination would be no discrimination.

Reverse discrimination is discriminating against non-minorities.

There is a difference between an adjective, preposition and a verb.

Instead of Occupy Wall Street how about an "Occupy Isle of Capri" protest for all the local hard working non "minority, women owned" businesses (Capri's words, not mine).

-- Posted by Dug on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 2:33 PM

This is discrimination against white folk

-- Posted by Make no mistake about it on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 3:22 PM

Reverse discrimination is nonsense because the underlying principle is that all races other than white are subject to discrimination.

-- Posted by runswithscissors on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 3:54 PM

so, what kind of hiring practices for the actual casino will there be? do we have enough minorities to fill their personnel needs or will we have to bus or move them in?

-- Posted by TommyStix on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 3:56 PM

'why haven't we all focused more on the small construction companies right here in the city? why haven't we put more jobs into their hands?! i am not a little stunned that we have not given them more contracts in the building of this huge project!... and, is it to late? i doubt that it is...

-- Posted by tennisnut on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 4:30 PM

Here we go with some bringing in the race card happens every time, I get so tired of hearing that just build the casino and let's move on good gosh

-- Posted by swampeastmissouri on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 4:42 PM

Well we can only expect so much from a company based out of St. Charles/St. Louis

-- Posted by Pops90 on Thu, Oct 27, 2011, at 4:44 PM

First of all- who cares whether the term "reverse discrimination" is a proper term or not? This is the same problem I read about in politics every time I pick up the newspaper. Stop arguing about things that don't matter like our friends up in Washington and focus on what is really important. The point is they are attempting to beat discrimination by helping out women/minorities and in turn are discriminating against the majority- i.e. most of the population of cape.

On the other hand what is wrong with our country today? Why do you HAVE to be a woman or a minority to land the job? What happened to earning things based on your hard work and reputation rather than a bunch of things that don't matter and you have no control over (race/sex). What does this teach our kids and how is this any different than discrimination against minorities in the first place? Disgusting and a major step back after so many hard-fought steps forward.

-- Posted by semo09 on Fri, Oct 28, 2011, at 9:58 AM

I, for one, would like to see the minorities get a hand UP for a change !! I am an industrial commercial residential painter and have an incredible time trying to find work. I have been painting for about 13 years. I know and can do anything any other painter can do, yet, when companies call my business agent, he states that he has a woman needing work and they bluntly tell him "we arent hiring women". I have finally come to the conclusion that I am going to have to find a job, that is more suited for a WOMAN, if I am going to continue to work. What I am finding is, MOST jobs that will hire women want to pay minimum wage with NO benifits. Everybody has an equal opportunity employer poster up but its just for looks. It means NOTHING !!! Okay, enough ranting, I need to be looking for a job right now, so, ....

-- Posted by sk8tamom on Fri, Oct 28, 2011, at 10:52 AM

Sk8tamom,

I will agree with you- that's not right, but that sounds like you need to take that up to a higher power. In today's world I am surprised that someone would be telling you "we aren't hiring women" and it sounds like you should do something about that. Why would you tell your business agent to say he has a "woman" needing work instead of a "painter"- why even go there? That being said I still maintain that the answer to discrimination (such as that you are facing) is not in fact more discrimination but in the other direction. Two wrongs don't make a right and that is not the way to handle the issue.

-- Posted by semo09 on Fri, Oct 28, 2011, at 2:23 PM

semo09,I dont tell my business agent what to say, as a matter of fact the last job he found for me, the guy that was doing the hiring, got on the phone with me and kept calling me brother. I didnt correct him for fear of not getting the job. I worked that job for 9 months but now its over and im right back where I started. Please believe me when I tell you Im not trying to whine. I just want to work !!! I have my osha 10 card and am certified to operate any kind of lift. I can brush, roll, spray, pressure wash, finish drywall, faux finish and caulk. That should be all of the requirements needed to do any painting job that I can think of.

-- Posted by sk8tamom on Fri, Oct 28, 2011, at 3:16 PM

Why not take gender and race off every type of work or education application?

-- Posted by bebacksoon on Sat, Oct 29, 2011, at 8:14 PM

bebacksoon - then how would things be tracked as far as compliance? Human Resources people will drive others nuts in this regard.

One drawback to this type of profiling is that companies may hire persons of protected classes that meet the minimum qualifications in order to meet key protected class (sex, race, color, national origin or ancestry, age, religion or creed, disability, veteran status, genetic testing and screening, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression) criteria, instead of simply hiring the best person.

As an extreme, if one were to need medical attention, would one hire a doctor graduating at the bottom of his/her class who met the minimum criteria of surviving medical school, or look to hire the best doctor regardless?

-- Posted by fxpwt on Sat, Oct 29, 2011, at 9:35 PM

Fxpwt- compliance with what and to whom? I am for the best suitor, not ideal race or gender

-- Posted by bebacksoon on Sat, Oct 29, 2011, at 10:32 PM

bebacksoon - just relating to experiences in prior jobs, where the HR manager would challenge the candidate of choice from the interviewing team, citing a candidate from a protected class in the pool as (barely) meeting the minimum qualifications for the position, along with the need and the pressures from Corporate HQ to better align with the EEOC guidelines for diversity.

It got to the point that if we stuck with the 'male, stale, and pale' candidate - there was a tremendous amount of documentation involved as to 'why', sort of a CYA.

On the positive side, many job descriptions were subsequently rewritten to more clearly and specifically describe the qualifications necessary for the positions.

I agree with you - a company hires a person to solve problems and to make money, with the identified best candidate offering the greatest potential for the highest return-on-investment.

-- Posted by fxpwt on Sun, Oct 30, 2011, at 1:47 PM


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