Cumberland Times-News

January 18, 2013

‘Very grave concerns’ for Rocky Gap labor

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— ROCKY GAP — A local union leader and Delegate Kevin Kelly wonder whether the developers of Rocky Gap’s casino are making good on their promise to use local union labor to build a casino at the site.

“I have some very grave concerns. ... I’m looking into it,” said E. William DuVall of Carpenters Local 1024.

Both Kelly and DuVall agree that some local union labor is being used at the site, but they are concerned about whether that’s standard practice and if local carpenters are being excluded from the work.

Kelly cited license plates of apparent contractors from North Carolina and other states in the parking lot.

“I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this, as have others,” DuVall said. Local unions have been cooperative and have tried to help make the project a success, he said.

“They feel miffed about it,” Kelly said. “Hopefully, Lakes can resolve it, because this is wrong.”

DuVall and Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine spoke to the Times-News on Thursday. Kelly raised the issues at Friday’s delegation meeting in Annapolis.

The delegation meeting was attended by Sen. George Edwards, Kelly and Delegates Wendell Beitzel and LeRoy Myers Jr.

Brandon Butler of Greenwill Consulting Group LLC, which represents Lakes Entertainment and its subsidiary Evitts Resort LLC, was also at the delegation meeting.

The lodge and resort are located in Rocky Gap State Park.

Valentine said Lakes is doing a good job employing local workers and that any nonlocal labor is likely being employed to meet minority business participation requirements set by the state.

Kelly said Friday that DuVall had offered to provide Lakes representatives a list of minority-owned contractors that would employ local union labor. Kelly said he’d recently been on a phone conference with DuVall and Butler.

Butler told Kelly and the delegation that he appreciated their concerns.

Tim Cope, the president of Lakes Entertainment, has previously said that local labor and contractors will play an important role in work to  transform Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort into a casino and then building additional conference space.

About 50 construction workers would likely be on-site daily through the construction period, Cope has estimated.

Myers asked Butler on Friday for an overall progress report on construction. Myers said such a report “would be helpful.”

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.