By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A city council committee has heard applicants in the running for a 2nd casino license in Philadelphia brag about their plans to hire minorities.
PHL Local Gaming’s Bruce Crawley says their Casino Revolution in the warehouse district of South Philadelphia at Front Street and Packer Avenue includes “meaningful, substantive levels of diversity beyond its ownership structure,” he said. “PHL local gaming has committed to the most aggressive goals in the bid process in every construction-related and casino operations related diversity category.”
He says it has the largest local minority-controlled equity participation among the five bidders. Bennet Lomax, an African-American businessman, has a 12.3-percent stake.
Former councilman George Burrell advocated for The Provence, on North Broad Street on the site of the former Inquirer property. He says rather than focusing on percentages, their group will work minority and women-owned companies into prime and tier one contracts.
“We will not embrace the age old retort that qualified minority and women owned businesses cannot be found to do important work.”
The MARKET8 proposal on a vacant lot at 8th and Market Streets includes six local minority investors with a combined 10-percent stake.
It worked with four groups representing African-American interests, and Regine Metellus of the Urban League says the MARKET8 project has ‘the greatest economic benefit to the local community.”
“This approach speaks volumes about the group’s commitment to inclusion.”
She then walked committee members through their strategy of having a workforce that includes 40-45-percent minorities and women both during construction and in ongoing operations.