CHESTER - Officials at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort confirmed Tuesday that 35 employees received pink slips last week.
Several people left The Review phone tips over the weekend, stating 40 to 50 people were let go on Friday.
Calls to the public relations office of Tamara Pettit are being routed elsewhere with the message, "the number of the person you are trying to reach is no longer in service." A switchboard operator confirmed there were layoffs and forwarded Pettit's calls to Missy Lawrence's voice mail.
Lawrence left a voice mail at The Review on Tuesday confirming the layoffs. She stated the company was not going to have a press conference or issue any type of press release because, the layoffs affected "just 35 people."
Lawrence declined to comment on whether Pettit was among those laid off. She said, however, that Pettit is no longer with the company, and the new media contact is Leslie Campbell.
Repeat calls to Lawrence and Campbell were not returned Tuesday, nor was one to the office of Jack Sours, Mountaineer CEO.
Last week's layoffs are not the first in Mountaineer's recent history.
The company handed out 35 pink slips Aug. 29, 2009, on that occasion issuing a press release stating the layoffs were "to enable Mountaineer to operate at optimal efficiency in a difficult economic climate." The release stated job cuts were permanent and mostly involved administrative personnel.
In November 2009, the company added 700 jobs to its table games department, having previously laid off 93 other workers in different departments that same month.
In January 2009, the resort cut 175 employees from several of its departments.
In December 2009, Mountaineer reached a three-year agreement with the Horsemen's Benevolent Protection Association, just weeks after the West Virginia Racing Commission (WVRC) agreed to cut two months from the 2010 live horse racing schedule. The West Virginia Racing Commission approved an altered version of Mountaineer's original request to shut down live horse racing in January, February, November and December.
The approved schedule was for live horse racing five days a week from March 1 through Dec. 21.
The schedule approved by the WVRC kept the racing schedule at 210 days, the minimum number of racing days required by the the state for the Hancock County resort to legally operate slot machines and table games.