On many occasions, this corner has reported on rumors that came from my trusted rumor mill. Before submitting them for your perusal, they are investigated and determined to have some semblance of truth before being printed.
However, what has been taking place over the past couple of weeks concerning Dennis Gomes' and Morris Bailey's purchase of Resorts Atlantic City is a downright disgrace.
There are those who have been repeating rumors that Gomes and Bailey do not have the financial ability to complete the deal and Gomes was personally escorted off Resorts' property. Both of these are outright lies, and the people who spread the rumors seem to have joy in repeating them despite the fact there is not one iota of truth in them.
When I heard the rumors for the first time, I called Gomes, and he told me they were false. He said he has a signed contract for the deal, and he has already hired 17 of his top personnel. These 17 are prepping plans for the takeover. Having known Gomes for many years, I knew he was telling me the facts.
Unfortunately, the rumor spreading is not only from the doomsayers who dwell on the negative aspects of just about any item of benefit for this community, but also some of the people of our area who are allegedly more knowledgeable. They have not taken the time, nor made the effort, to verify the truth of the stories they were spreading.
There were even those who said they were told by an eyewitness that Gomes was escorted off Resorts' property. This never happened, as Gomes has not been on the property during the past three weeks.
The truth is Gomes and Bailey have signed a contract to purchase Resorts, and on Dec. 1, they will meet with the Casino Control Commission to obtain a license to operate that facility. It is anticipated that it will be granted. Shortly after, they will take over operations at Resorts,
These ridiculous rumors reminded me of the development of The Walk shopping area in Atlantic City. When it was announced that Cordish Corp. was going to build retail outlets on Michigan Avenue, there were those who called my talk show and said it would never be done.
When Cordish broke ground, there were those who came for the free food and beverages and stood in their group saying "They'll never build." When Cordish built stores and opened them, the doomsayers said "No one will come. Who's going to come to Michigan Avenue in Atlantic City to buy their merchandise?" The answer to that question came from the thousands of people from all over southern New Jersey and the Atlantic City tourists.
The stores did great. As the holiday season approached, it was announced that they would be open at night in December. The doomsayers again shouted, "Shop on Michigan Avenue at night?" Again, they were wrong as people came, and there were no problems. We now see that Cordish is in its third phase of expansion that will open in the spring, and Phase 4 Atlantic City Live - will follow next fall.
Rolling chair changes
Over the past few years, rolling chair operations on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City have become a problem. Concerns have been raised about the number of rolling chairs on the Boardwalk and the licensing of the operators. Mayor Lorenzo Langford's Strategic Planning Committee, led by Chairman Ken Calemo and Anthony Cox, the city's director of licenses and inspections, has come up with a series of changes that will be presented to City Council for a first reading Tuesday, Nov. 23. (Please note, the Council will meet on Tuesday instead of its regular Wednesday meeting due to Thanksgiving.)
Under the proposal, there will be a significant increase in the fee schedule for the number of chairs. The new plan will cost rolling chair owners $100 for each of their first 50 chairs, $200 for each of the next 50 chairs, $400 for each of the next 50 chairs and $800 for each chair after that. There will be a change in the fee for the operators of the chairs. For those who apply before April 30 for a license to operate the chairs, the fee will be $75. For those who apply after April 30, the fee will be $150.
Another major change is the owners of the rolling-chair operations must employ the operators of the chairs.
There will be no more independent licenses. The owners will be responsible for the manner in which their operators conduct themselves. Their employees also must conform to the dress code. It is anticipated that the Division of Licenses and Inspections will hire six summer employees as inspectors to ensure the rules and regulations are adhered to.
Last week, I attended a meeting of Atlantic City's City Council. I was there on behalf of the Boardwalk Committee to speak about the importance of the Special Improvement District and the excellent work they do.
As chairman, I urged council to allow them to continue their operation as it is. After my three-minute presentation, I sat and listened to a police officer express his views about Atlantic City's begging ordinance. He requested council to withdraw that ordinance. He said that the ordinance makes it easy for anyone to get a license to beg.
As the one who found a begging ordinance in Raleigh, N.C., and presented it to former first ward councilman Bruce Ward, now city solicitor, who shepherded it through council to become law, I would like to inform those who seek to change the ordinance that, if it is changed, it would revive the problems it now prevents.
The United States Supreme Court people have the right to beg. Raleigh and other cities established a regulatory ordinance for begging, and the ordinances have been upheld by the courts. The Atlantic City ordinance sets licensing, with no fee, time limits and specific areas where begging is banned. Those begging must adhere to the rules. If there is no ordinance, people can do as they did before the ordinance and beg anytime and anyplace.
(Pinky's Corner airs 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WOND 1400-AM. His TV show, "WMGM Presents Pinky," airs 7:30 p.m. Saturdays on WMGM -TV40. Pinky's e-mail address is: email@example.com.)