Culinary Union Attacks Fertitta Brothers’ Political Donations for Containing False Information

Posted on: December 22, 2022, 09:41h. 

Last updated on: December 22, 2022, 11:19h.

The Culinary Union is continuing to go after Frank III and Lorenzo Fertitta, the Las Vegas casino tycoons who control Station Casinos and the billionaires’ publicly traded arm, Red Rock Resorts (RRR).

Culinary Union Fertitta brothers Las Vegas casinos
Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III. The Fertitta brothers donated heavily to Republican candidates during the 2022 midterm elections. The Culinary Union believes some of their contributions were facilitated in error. (Image: Getty)

Culinary, an affiliate of Unite Here, represents about 60K workers in Las Vegas and Reno who are employed in the Nevada gaming industry. The trade group has unionized most casinos in Las Vegas. But Station and Red Rock properties remain unorganized.

The Station-RRR empire includes Red Rock Resort, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, Sunset Station, Boulder Station, Santa Fe Station, Barley’s, The Greens, Wild Wild West, and Wildfire Gaming. Station is additionally developing another locals-focused casino southwest of the Strip called Durango.

Culinary and Station-RRR have long been at odds over the efforts to unionize the company’s casinos. Culinary has repeatedly raised grievances that the Fertitta casinos have routinely interfered with labor organizing efforts.

In March, the union filed a mass action lawsuit against Station Casinos for alleged violations of Nevada’s “Right to Return” law. Culinary has also recently scolded RRR for maintaining an all-male, all-white board of directors.

The Fertitta brothers are distant cousins of fellow casino billionaire Tilman Fertitta, who owns five Golden Nugget casinos in three states.

Culinary Targets Fertitta Donations

The Fertittas are two of the GOP’s most resilient supporters. During the 2022 midterms, Frank and Lorenzo, plus their two wives, collectively poured more than $1.5 million into GOP political action committees.

But Culinary officials have taken issue with some of the 2022 Fertitta money. In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Culinary went after the Fertitta brothers’ recent political donations to the Republican Party.

Culinary believes the Fertittas wrongly inputted donor information for $756,300 of their federal political contributions. The union says the two billionaires included “outdated, false information.”

Union officials reportedly contacted the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in May regarding the Fertittas’ erroneous information about their donations. The FEC confirmed receipt of the Culinary complaint and said the matter is “under review.”

The Federal Election Campaign Act requires that PACs regularly disclose their receipts and disbursements. The law also requires that committees acquire each individual contributor’s legal name, address, occupation, and employer for donors who give more than $200 during an election cycle.

Culinary alleges that some of the Fertitta disclosures included outdated information. The union points to one filing that listed Lorenzo Fertitta’s employer as the UFC and his occupation as CEO of the mixed martial arts promoter.

The Fertittas sold the UFC in 2016 for more than $4 billion to a group led by William Morris Endeavor, now known simply as Endeavor. Culinary claims to have identified at least 23 additional receipts from the Fertittas with wrong donor information.

Wrong Info Not Uncommon

As anyone who has perused political donation reports knows, the accuracy of such records certainly isn’t without errors.

In 2019, reported on Steve Wynn still listing Wynn Resorts as his employer and job role as CEO of the Las Vegas-based casino operator. Wynn resigned from his namesake company in February 2018 and sold off his entire stake in the business the following month for $2.1 billion.

The FEC can issue a fine against a PAC that has allowed false donor information to be included in its filings. The independent regulatory agency says it calculates fines based on the severity of the error and the number of prior violations.