With all news media eyeballs dazzled and blinded by the glam-celeb front people renting out their egos to casino developers eager to get licenses in Pennsylvania, (like Sylvester Stallone, Donald Trump, and Pat Croce — Quincy Jones was also mentioned), no one seemed to notice that the Inquirer’s first-day story on the last-minute license rush included an affluent but obscure player: David LeVan.
In its “Power players look to cash in on slots” story on December 28, the Inquirer described him thus:
“David LeVan: A member of Rendell’s transition team as governor, he wants to build a casino in Gettysburg.”
Geez, Dave. How quickly they forget that you were once the chairman of one of Philadelphia’s largest employers, Consolidated Rail Corporation, a/k/a Conrail . Where’s a good transportation reporter like Tom Belden when you need him?
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which still apparently has business reporters with some sense of history, at least realized there was a story here.
Yes, Dave was chairman of Conrail and thought he’d found a “white knight” in the CSX Corporation.
Unfortunately for Dave (and the thousands of Conrail employees whose jobs were ultimately vaporized), CSX got a better offer from Norfolk Southern, Conrail’s old nemesis from the Reagan years when Liddy Dole wanted to sell the whole railroad to NS. So CSX and NS agreed to carve up Conrail, leaving nothing but a shell of the company. (Note to political wonks: Yes, the chairman of CSX who blindsided LeVan on that one was none other than our US Treasury Secretary, John Snow.)
LeVan and a few others pocketed huge severance payouts but many Conrail folks had to learn second languages (“would you like fries with that?”) while he was growing his pony tail and opening his Harley Davidson dealership — and donating generously to his alma mater, Gettysburg College.
Wonder if they will sell casino chips on the private rail cars hauling gamblers to Gettysburg from points east?