Caesars Entertainment Corp. has parted ways with its top executive for its three Atlantic City casinos after a lawsuit filed in federal court by a former Caesars marketing executive claimed that she was wrongfully dismissed from her role after reporting him to senior management.
Kevin Ortzman stepped in as Regional President of Caesars’ three casinos in Atlantic City in 2017. According to multiple reports, the executive was fired last week.
He left the company after he was named in a civil lawsuit filed in federal court this past May by Jocelyn Agnellini-Allison, a former Regional Vice President of Marketing for the Las Vegas gaming and hospitality giant. Ms. Agnellini-Allison claimed that she was subjected to retaliation after reporting to corporate an incident involving Mr. Ortzman that was originally reported to her by two other employees.
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Ortzman was seen “making out” with another employee after a work function in 2017 in a manner that made other employees uncomfortable.
Ms. Agnellini-Allison said that her action resulted in her becoming a target of retaliation that continued until February 2019 when she was fired without being provided with any explanation.
The Press of Atlantic City reports that Caesars denied the allegations against Mr. Ortzman in a response to the lawsuit dated July 30. According to the New York Post, which first broke the story earlier this week, the May civil lawsuit prompted an internal investigation that eventually resulted to Mr. Ortzman’s departure from the company.
Former President of NJ’s Casino Association
Aside from his role as Regional President of Bally’s Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, and Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, Mr. Ortzman also previously served as President of the Casino Association of New Jersey. He was also on the board of the state’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. Mr. Ortzman was one of the two casino industry representatives appointed to the board by the state’s Governor.
News about the executive’s departure come as Caesars is in the middle of a $17.3 billion merger with Reno, Nevada-based gaming and hospitality company Eldorado Resorts. The deal will create the largest US land-based casino operator with more than 60 properties in a number of states.
The transaction is subject to approval from shareholders, federal, and state gambling regulators and is expected to be finalized during the first half of 2020. The combined entity will be named Caesars, as it is the better recognized brand of the two.
Eldorado’s current CEO, Tom Reeg, will lead the enlarged land-based casino operator. According to the executive, the combination of the two companies will generate nearly $500 million in near-term synergies.
Eldorado currently owns Tropicana in Atlantic City, which it acquired in 2018 as part of a $1.85 billion deal. As mentioned above, Caesars manages three properties in the city. Combined, the two companies control nearly half of Atlantic City’s nine operational casinos. They are likely to be ordered to sell at least one casino as New Jersey’s casino law does not allow for a single operator to own more than three properties.
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