Gardena City Council gives in to Larry Flynt’s casino demands

Larry Flynt and the Normandie Casino at 1045 West Rosecrans Avenue
Larry Flynt and the Normandie Casino at 1045 West Rosecrans Avenue

Turns out he wasn’t bluffing.

Just two days after Larry Flynt shut down his recently acquired Normandie Casino, the Gardena City Council called a special meeting to revoke their previous vote and comply with Flynt’s demands.

The council had backtracked on a no-strings-attached tax break for the redevelopment project, which led Flynt to say he’d back out of the project if they didn’t go back to the original agreement. He herded dozens of Normandie casino employees to City Hall Wednesday night, urging council members to save their jobs. Flynt had promised to hire them after the Normandie’s previous owners were convicted of money laundering.

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Last week, the council voted 3-1 that the city would only grant Flynt tax incentives if he pays at least $800,000 every month for his two casinos, the Hustler and the Lucky Lady, into which the Normandie would be transformed after some million-dollar renovations.

“That’s a proposal only a fool could sign and I’m no fool,” the porn and gambling mogul told the Los Angeles Daily News. “In my 50 years of business, I’ve never heard ever of a deal like that.”

Flynt said he was planning to invest more than $60 million to redevelop the run-down casino and eventually build a hotel next door, on Rosecrans and Vermont Avenues.

In the reversal of their last vote, the Gardena council removed the monthly payments with a provision that allows them to renegotiate the deal if city revenues drop at the two casinos. The city will reimburse Flynt’s taxes by half on revenue over $2 million a month, as the two parties initially discussed. This reimbursement is partially a loan that Flynt must repay to the city in eight years. [LADN]Cathaleen Chen

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