Trump Pal, Casino Owner Phil Ruffin Furloughs Employees

Thursday 30th April 2020

President Donald Trump's longtime friend and Las Vegas billionaire, Phil Ruffin, has furloughed more than 4,000 of his employees amid the pandemic, despite claims that he could keep his casinos closed for 20 years without aid, Forbes reported.

"We have zero income coming in and a lot of expenses, but we don't plan on taking any loans," Ruffin said of taking a loan from the government's Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). "That's not just no, that's hell no. I don't want their money. If you don't need the money, don't take it. We have plenty of cash -- I could go 20 years, maybe."

Ruffin's empire is worth more than $3 billion, as he owns the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino as well as half the Trump International Las Vegas hotel. Forbes also estimated corporate reserves of $500 million in cash. The casino mogul, however, is no longer paying the majority of his employees, and the ones still getting paychecks are still working to remodel his hotel rooms.

Ruffin explained that he has isn't paying them because he is neither MGM nor Caesars, the Strip's largest operators, did. The companies have actually given employees two-week pay amid furlough, and Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, and Red Rock Resorts have all pledged to pay their employees throughout the shutdown.

"We're trying to get open as fast as we can. No one is hurting worse than we are," he told Forbes. "Our losses are [huge] and that's okay, that's part of the deal. The government shut us down and our people understand that."

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