The Real Deal Los Angeles

Larry Flynt threatens to back out of new casino project amid dispute with City of Gardena

City Council backed out of granting Flynt an unequivocal tax break

July 21, 2016 08:30AM

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Larry Flynt and his Hustler Casino in Gardena (credit: LinkedIn, Wikipedia)

Larry Flynt and his Hustler Casino in Gardena (credit: LinkedIn, Wikipedia)

Is Larry Flynt bluffing?

The casino mogul and porn aficionado has threatened to walk away from redeveloping the aging Normandie Casino after the Gardena City Council backtracked on a no-strings-attached tax break for the project. The Council has said it would only grant him a tax break on the project if he pays the city a minimum of $800,000 every month for his two casinos in town — the Normandie, which would become the Lucky Lady, and the Hustler Casino nearby.

“I’m walking away from it. Four hundred people are going to be out of a job,” Flynt told Los Angeles Daily News. “I feel like I’m treated as a second-class citizen and I don’t like it one bit, especially when I know I’m picking up the city payroll every week and I’m a large part of the budget.”

Casinos in Gardena are expected to pay 12 percent of their monthly revenues in taxes. In 2014, the Hustler and Normandie paid about $9.5 million to the city.

The $800,000 stipulation is based on the average of what the Hustler and Normandie have paid in the past, according to the council

“Yes, I did add a ninth-hour provision that the two casinos must meet $800,000 a month to effectuate the other part of the agreement,” City Manager Mitch Lansdell told the News. “I totally understand the feeling of Mr. Flynt relative to this, but I also have to look at what it takes to make the city sustainable.”

Flynt said he planned to invest an initial $17 million into the worn-down Normandie Casino, which he leased after the owners pleaded guilty earlier this year to laundering money for high-stakes gamblers. He has already spent about $1 million on design plans, staff uniforms and monogrammed chips.

Last week, the disgruntled Flynt told the Daily Breeze that in the next election, he will campaign against the City Council members that don’t back his interests. [LADN]Cathaleen Chen