Wednesday, December 20, 2006

197: An Early Christmas Gift for Gettysburg


In a stunning and staggering blow to all things LeVan, the Pennsylvania Gambling Control Board today unanimously rejected a license application for the proposed casino at Gettysburg, opting instead to award the two free-standing casino licenses to the city of Bethlehem and the old Mt. Airy resort in the Poconos. Despite last minute “push advocacies” from Wall Street analysts [who could have just as easily offered their “analyses” as far back as 18 months ago], the Board simply agreed with the majority of those polled, both nationwide and locally, that a casino here in Gettysburg was a bad idea.

LeVan will likely appeal the rejection to the state Supreme Court because he refuses to shy away from a project no matter how much it stinks, refuses to admit he used bad judgment, refuses to admit error. Failing that appeal, or the filing of it [he could be over ruled by the other investors], you can bet your bottom dollar – and it would be your bottom dollar – that David LeVan will find some other way to insult the nature of the Gettysburg area.

He has been described by many as a philanthropist. Let us get one thing straight: David LeVan is no philanthropist. Philanthropy is silent, mostly anonymous. When LeVan gives money, everyone hears about it. It is not given out of generosity, it is given to curry favor, apply influence, engender a feeling of debt to be repaid at another time and to purchase good will.

We have heard recently [and cannot support this but it sounds correct], that there are more people living in the Gettysburg area who moved here from somewhere else, than there are who were born and raised here. It is safe to say that most of those who moved here did so, at least in part, for the history. So far, it is our opinion that those who are native to the area generally care much less for the history than those who moved here. That is a generalization, and is the impression that has been made upon us by the people we have met here.

David LeVan is a native of Gettysburg, born and raised and educated here. He is the epitome of the generalizations in the preceding paragraph. One of the first things he did after moving back here with his “golden parachute” from Conrail was to open up a Harley Davidson dealership. Not just a dealership, but the largest Harley dealership on the East Coast. He also set his wife up in a downtown business. The Harley dealership was built about a half mile from East Cavalry Field, the part of the Gettysburg Battlefield where Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer (among others) turned back an attempt by Major General J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry to reach the rear of the Union lines on Cemetery Ridge. In a pitched battle fought with cannons, rifles, revolvers, sabers, knives, axes, and bare hands, Stuart’s vaunted cavalry was repulsed repeatedly, and Custer won kudos for his leadership there.

Now, instead of the roar of battle, we hear and feel the roar of hundreds of Harleys riding up and down almost all weekends of the year, and several weeks during the summer. All sponsored by David LeVan and his “Battlefield Harley Davidson” dealership on East Cavalry Field Road. No, as he has said repeatedly, he will not trade on the history of the area. Not much anyway.

LeVan ascended to the Board of Gettysburg College, his alma mater. Suddenly, the old Majestic Theater was now “The Majestic at the David and Jennifer LeVan Performing Arts Center”.

Whatever he touches seems to leave an unctuous residue that identifies itself as coming from LeVan.

In the midst of all the brouhaha over the proposed casino, LeVan openly admitted offering a bribe to the Borough Council of Gettysburg to have them testify favorably at hearings conducted by the Gambling Control Board. He offered them $1 million, no strings attached. To their great and undying shame, the Borough Council agreed to the deal. Then, after their testimony, we suddenly find out there are indeed strings attached. LeVan built in an escape clause. If the law was changed regarding distribution of money from the casino, and Gettysburg Borough would become a recipient of $1 million or more from their [newly legislated] share of the funds, LeVan would not have to pay the bribe out of his pocket.

And that is indeed what happened…the law was changed. Now the Borough Council is off one hook - for their highly unethical, ill-advised, weak-kneed, and downright stupid participation in a bribery scam – and on another hook to come up with the missing $1million they think they need anyway!

Dealing with David LeVan often brings out the baser instincts in people. Borough Council proved that.

We are pleased to see LeVan defeated, though he will surely find another way to “stick it” to the people of Gettysburg now that we have defied him. We are pleased to see the Gettysburg Borough Council moved from one hook to another.

We go back to something we wrote about a year and a half ago:
"Greed knows no limits, and has no character. Greed endures no absolute moral values, and has its own ethics. Greed has no memories but vengeful ones. Greed has no friends, and no family, only partners, and partners are expendable. Greed consumes and corrupts absolutely. Greed is blind to itself."
We are always pleased when an evil like greed is defeated, even if only partially. It is defeated here at Gettysburg, but our gain in the fight against evil is someone else’s loss - in this case the City of Bethlehem, and Mt. Airy Manor. Slot machine gambling should never have happened in Pennsylvania, but if it had to, it should never have gone past the race tracks, as originally planned. Too bad a concerted, statewide effort never fully materialized to gain a legislative repeal to the Gambling legislation.

Merry Christmas, Gettysburg!

And may the General Assembly and Governor of Pennsylvania be forever damned for authorizing the doling out of free liquor in the casinos across the state. Curry one addiction to feed off another.

Merry Christmas, Pennsylvania!

GettysBLOG




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4 comments:

Casey Roncaglione said...

Good going, GettysBLOG.

Anonymous said...

Amen and well said.

Next, to get rid of that damned Bike Week away from Steinwehr, and keep it out on York Road.

Randy said...

Thank you for your tireless advocacy. The veterans of Gettysburg will rest easier tonight.

Anonymous said...

Now that the threat of a casiNO has passed, Gettysburg residents should get rid of the Council members that supported it; start with Bill Monahan, who said he had no conflect of interest (his brother owns the property that the casino was to be built on) and used tax payers dollars to consult with the Bourgh solictor. Along with him four others who voted for it should be removed. This group accepted a hugh bribe from Lavan to speak in favor of the casino,relizing that after two public meetings, most of the residents spoke against it. No doubt, council members can be bought for a cool million. Time to clean house!