The Governments of Madrid and Barcelona have finished the acrobatics and “bidding” to attract America’s 3rd wealthiest man Sheldon Adelston to their respective Cities. But what is known about the man and what he does, a shadowy figure with casinos in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore and money to burn in Spain. A recent article in Rolling Stone makes a great deal of his $16.5 million donation to Newt Gingrich’s presidential tilt which just collapsed. Not only renowned for his search for political influence, he is also renowned for his union busting exploits in America and use of cheap foreign labour to work 24/7 on Asian projects where labour laws are ill defined.
Indeed, Adelson’s anti-union mania is the most important thing to know about him. For it reveals just how crazy, and how unscrupulous, the man is.
The following film is of a “sworn deposition” given by Adelston accompanied at the hearing by an armed bodygaurd !
A recent news item on Adelston’s proposal, “from a crisis to the gutter”, looks at the issue of prostitution as an ‘unwanted’ outcome, but little is said of the known “side effects” of the gambling industry – domestic violence, indebtedness, money laundering, racketeering, and, given the already vociferous approval by regional and federal Spanish governments, the “impression” that gambling is a legitimate “business” that should be encouraged.
Adelston’s backing of Newt Gingrich has recently made reporters look at the history of the pair back to 1996 when Gingrich was able to “neuter” the proposed Federal Gambling Commission,“House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) has recommended a substantial weakening of a bill to examine the runaway growth of legalized gambling in America.” http://wthrockmorton.com/2012/01/24/anti-gambling-group-gingrich-thwarted-efforts-to-regulate-gambling/ The issue of Adelston’s desire for political influence must be high on the agenda when deciding whether “EURO VEGAS” is a acceptable for Spain. He is recently quoted as saying; “I got to tell you something, I don’t want him (Rick Santorum), to run my country,” and with Adelston’s fortune, and Murdoch’s News Corporation as a mouthpiece, money doesn’t talk, it screams. The Catalan Government is presenting the “brand Barcelona”, buildings of Antoni Gaudi and the Barcelona football club as references. Reports suggesting that Adelston build Guadi’s model of a New York hotel are being suggested. The proximity of the land at Viladecans to the airport, despite the fact that it is good for attracting tourists, cannot accommodate Euro Vegas as seen by Adelson, whose intention is to build several skyscrapers. The Mogul made already clear what meant by skyscrapers: when he visited Barcelona to talk about the project, the Catalan authorities showed him the Agbar Tower, the third highest in the city, 145 meters in height. Adelson responded that “it was not a skyscraper.” Adelston’s list of requirements before investing in the city that is chosen, include : the complete renouncement of rights over all public property in the defined zone; exemption from social security contributions for two years; exemption from the Value Added Tax for ten years; the reform of workers’ legal status, notably that of foreign workers; the bearing of the costs by the Autonomous Community for the building of all public transport infrastructure to the complex; authorised access to the casinos for minors and banned gamblers. Madrid is in the lead. Its regional premier, Esperanza Aguirre, has met Adelson five times. “We should change whatever norms have to be changed,” she said recently. “We have to encourage this … and spoke of creating a “fiscal and legislative island” - though there are some demands that can be accepted and others that cannot.” Aguirre said. Despite the governments making all the right noises, the EuroVegas No! initiative has come out firmly in opposition ; “Jobs and investment are not worth what they want in return,” Maria Fernández says as she passes out flyers in Madrid’s main plaza, Puerta del Sol. Could she be persuaded with more information though? “No. This is not the economic model we need. We don’t want a Sin City here. We don’t want Adelson’s money here. The entire project is intolerable.” Adelston is no doubt using his experience in Asia to promote the Euro Vegas. Jose Maria Aznar is interviwed below setting out the types of reforms Adelston would welcome, no doubt spruiking Spain to Asia as a gambling destination of choice. Spain already has 30 casinos operating, creating an existing unacceptable level of social disruption. Portraying Euro Vegas as a creator of 350,000 jobs has obviously impressed the Spanish authorities but there are no details at this stage so they are very “rubbery” figures, some estimate 35,000 jobs will be created. What is known is that Adelston seeks to build cheaply, both land value and labour, and is succesful at both. His Singapore Sands Casino and casinos in Macau used both elements, construction continuing around the clock until the projects were finished. Singapore Sands casino, and an endless pool 53 stories in the air. It is the profits from the Asian casinos that is bankrolling Adelston as the economic growth in Asia shows little sign of decling. New figures show that “shopping sprees” to Europe are common, with the average Asian shopper snapping up bargains to the tune of $10 – 15,000 per visit. Spains extreme surplus of airports (twice as many as Germany !), is no doubt another reason governments, and more than likely Aznar, are backing Euro Vegas. Gambling the future? most certainly, and remember the fate of the Hungarian Euro Vegas stated in 2011 as a project to be completed in 2010, then in 2012 ???http://www.euro-vegas.eu/ A blog begun in 2008 suddenly went quiet with the GFC but you have to wonder whether this was Adelston too http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=714110