17 August 2010 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 58 comments

With thanks to regular reader Barry Dussel for bringing this horrifying news to my attention….

Once upon a time, the Gettysburg Battlefield Protection Association really stood for battlefield preservation. It fought long and hard against the loss of the railroad cut on the first day’s battlefield–I even offered my professional services to help in that fight as a young lawyer–and it saved the Daniel Lady Farm, which although little fighting took place there, was an important spot linking the Benner’s Hill area to the Culp’s Hill sector of the battlefield. The organization did great work then.

That, however, was then. This is now. And now, the GBPA has sold its soul to the devil by coming out in favor of the casino proposal. Here’s the horrifying press release:

Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association Endorses Mason-Dixon Resort Project

Gettysburg – The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association (GBPA) today announced its support of the proposed Mason-Dixon Resort project.

The GBPA is the oldest Civil War preservation group in the nation. Since its inception 50 years ago, the land the GBPA has secured over the years now constitutes one-third of the present day Gettysburg National Military Park, a park visited by nearly two million visitors a year.

Brendan Synnamon, GBPA president, said the group’s board of directors initially determined to take no position on the project last January but, after months of learning project details, voted to support it.

“The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association would not support a commercial project that would use or impinge upon the battlefield. This has been a longstanding Association policy and this has not changed,” Synnamon said.

“In this case, the Eisenhower Conference Center, located well south of the Battlefield and which would be converted into the Mason-Dixon Resort, already exists as a commercial facility and the resort would not go beyond its already existing boundaries. This is a far different circumstance than taking open, undeveloped space near the battlefield and building all new structures. The existing Eisenhower Conference Center has never interfered with nor detracted from the Gettysburg Battlefield and its reuse as the Mason-Dixon Resort likewise will not interfere nor detract from the Gettysburg Battlefield,” Synnamon stated.

“Our primary mission and focus are on preservation,” asserted Synnamon. “We find, after very thorough review, that the proposed Mason-Dixon Resort project does not represent a preservation issue. The property site under discussion played no significant role in the three-day engagement.”

“The Board of Directors of the GBPA regard the proposed project as a local issue. The board is aware that the economy of the Gettysburg area and Adams County is hurting. We need jobs. We need more private investment. We could use additional visitation. The Mason-Dixon Resort offers all these things and would do so without one square inch of battlefield or nearby undeveloped open space being developed,” Synnamon said.

He added: “A stronger local economy is helpful to the cause of preservation. Preservation does not exist in a vacuum. Our local preservation work cannot thrive absent a local economy that helps induce and support it.”

“What is more, the proposed project is not on the scale and scope of what exists at large casinos. The Mason-Dixon Resort would have no more than 600 slot machines and 50 table games, which is considerably smaller than attractions at the large casinos.”

Synnamon said “It is the GBPA board’s belief that the Resort will draw more people to visit the Gettysburg area and encourage them to stay longer because there will be more to see and do here, not only with the resort but with the non-gaming components of the resort and the surrounding region from Biglerville south to the Mason-Dixon Line, and from Cashtown east to Wrightsville.

“In addition to the direct positive impact on jobs, the added visitors and visitor hours the resort will encourage will also bring in new tax and other revenues to the local communities and county.”

On the question of whether the proposed project would affect heritage tourism, the GBPA Board strongly believes the Gettysburg Battlefield has a unique position among all Civil War-related sites. It is considered the place where the tide of the war changed. It is considered the most significant battle of the War, and led to President Lincoln’s defining the Union cause in honoring the dead at Gettysburg.

“Our heritage-based tourism exists because of this and this does not change,” added Synnamon. “The battlefield, this hallowed ground, will always be here, and so should economically sound communities around it .” Synnamon stated.

This statement from casino opponents sums it all up: “This is the second time that the GBPA’s stance contrasts with the stance of every national and statewide battlefield preservation organization,” said No Casino head Susan Star Paddock. “Their statement contrasts with world-renown historians and they are the smallest preservation group by far.”

She quite correctly added, “I don’t understand what the GBPA is hoping to accomplish by courting favors for casino investors.” Precisely. It’s called selling one’s soul to the Devil.

Let’s examine the hypocrisy of that, shall we?

The Lady Farm, which saw little fighting, and is more than a mile from Culp’s Hill is worthy of saving, but actual battlefield land half a mile south of the park boundary isn’t? Say what?

I can’t help but wonder whose palm got greased here, what unholy deal was cut by the board of the GBPA to sell its soul to the devil.

I can tell you this, though: I will NEVER support the organization again, and bringing it down is now one of my prime motivations. What’s more, I vigorously encourage every one of my readers to let these Judases know precisely what you think of their sell-out. Withdraw your support. Turn off the funding spigot, and instead send those funds to a REAL battlefield preservation organization, the CWPT.

LET THESE SELL-OUTS KNOW THAT THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE AND THAT YOU WILL NOT SUPPORT THEIR SELLING THEIR SOULS TO THE DEVIL. MAKE YOUR THOUGHTS KNOWN. WITHDRAW YOUR SUPPORT, AND TURN OFF THE FUNDING SPIGOT. LET THE GBPA KNOW THAT IT HAS DEFAULTED UPON ITS PROMISE TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT THE BATTLEFIELD AT GETTYSBURG AND THAT YOU WILL NOT STAND FOR IT!!!!

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 9:31 am

    What a colossal shame. You’re right that this is hypocrisy of the highest order. I too wonder who got paid off – perhaps in time we’ll know. I regret the money I’ve given the organization in the past, the living history events I’ve participated in for the GBPA at the Lady Farm, and all other support I’ve given it over the years. They have indeed saved a great deal of land for the battlefield, but such a galatic mistake of this serves to completely erase all of that goodwill.

    I hope everyone withdraws their support for this organization, and that reenactors/living historians stop taking part in events for them. Their support of this casino is a slap in the face to all who treasure historical gems like Gettysburg.

    If this casino is built, we will have another entity besides that worthless piece of human excrement David LeVan to thank – the GBPA. The original founders of the organization must be rolling in their graves. Along with a whole hell of a lot of veterans who never would have envisioned that future generations could be so short-sighted as this one.

    It’s amazing how poor our judgments can become when we’re in one of a thousand cyclical downturns in the economy, like now. As I’ve said before, in a year or two when we’re out of it, and the casino is built, those that supported it and have to deal with the fallout will look back and wonder what the hell they were thinking. Casinos have never helped the economy in any other place they were built. For some reason, people think that one near Gettysburg will be the ONE casino that will pave Adams County roads with gold. Everyone will become rich, and all of the problems will be solved overnight. A Gettysburg casino will be come the one exception to the rule in the entire world.

    The GBPA needs to do the right thing and dissolve. They have betrayed history, the veterans, and all of us who treasure our past. Let other true preservation groups take over the mantle of protecting Gettysburg.

    Maybe the directors of the GBPA should quit their current jobs and wait for the casino to be built, to show their true support for all it’s supposed to do for the area. After all, it will work divine magic for the local economy, right?

    As in all things of this nature, follow the money. I can’t wait to hear how/how much these cretins got paid off for their support.

    J.D.

  2. Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 9:53 am

    “In this case, the Eisenhower Conference Center, located well south of the Battlefield and which would be converted into the Mason-Dixon Resort, already exists as a commercial facility and the resort would not go beyond its already existing boundaries. This is a far different circumstance than taking open, undeveloped space near the battlefield and building all new structures.”

    Is this not the case? Is the GBPA misrepresenting the facts? Is the resort actually going to occupy land outside the existing Eisenhower Conference Center boundaries? I guess I’m like the GBPA in that I view this as a local issue, so I really haven’t been following the story. Straighten me out: is the proposed resort going to occupy undeveloped battlefield land?

  3. Jennifer Nash
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 9:56 am

    Eric and JD have already stated the case better than I can, but I’ll pile on with my agreement and my intent to eliminate my support for the GBPA. They have betrayed history and betrayed the memory of the men who fought and died at Gettysburg. Sold their souls to the devil for a few pieces of silver. They should disband immediately.

  4. Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 10:00 am

    Harry,

    That’s not the issue.

    First, this was a vote of the board, not of the members. Second, the board is beholden to LeVan, the driving force behind this. This is the quid pro quo for LeVan’s support for things like the Daniel Lady Farm. This is ugly politics at work and, I believe, a complete and total abrogation of the mission of the organization.

    Eric

  5. Lew Taylor
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 11:45 am

    The GBPA seems to be heading the same direction as the GAC — follow the money! It is time for a new group to form — I tried to be part of one last year that fell apart because of the agendas of some of the people — we need a group that is interested in preservation and history. As a re-enactor I will not be attending any of the GAC events because they are more interested in money than putting on a class event. If there are folks who want to start a new organization I will be glad to do whatever I can — and I know several others who would take part as well.

  6. Bernadette
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 12:07 pm

    What a slap in the face! A preservation group selling out to the almighty dollar. What’s next, renaming the town and the battle to Levanburg? It’s not even a done deal and everyone acts like the ink is dry. Has Gettysburg gone mad?

  7. Rea Andrew Redd
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I understand who you feel about the issue. But to say that GBPA has ‘sold it’s soul to the devil’ is hyperventilating. There is too much ‘damning’ the opposition on most blogs. I’ve contributed dollars to the GBPA’s work of ‘saving’ the Lady Farm. Dissent and disagreement on the Adams County slots is allowable. You don’t agree with another’s position, you don’t have to send them to hell. I’ll still contribute to the preservation of the Lady Farm. I signed petitioned against the first casino. I live in SW Pennsylvania and I’m about 6 miles from the casino. To my surprise, it is not as horrific as I expected. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looked into the dollars generated angle and found that the jobs are starting at above $12 an hour, that the tax revenue was coming in as planned and there were no spikes in crime are automobile accidents.
    In the best of all worlds, there wouldn’t be a casino in Adams County and I’d be happy.
    But with the agricultural employment base collapsing, the county is getting poorer. My wife is a property owner in Gettysburg and the real estate tax went up on her property by 15%; I talked to Tim Sheads of the S&S Sutlery and the tax on his store went up 20%. As a tourist/heritage supporter, I don’t like the casino but as someone who knows Gettysburg real estate owners and store owners I’m not sending anyone to hell for disagreeing with me.

  8. Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to write, Rea. I appreciate the situation, but some issues are bigger. You are, obviously, entitled to your opinion, even if it is wrong.

  9. Jim Lamason
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 12:58 pm

    OK… A deep breath here.
    I want to share some insight into the “improvement of jobs in the area thing”..
    Keep in mind I live in New Jersey, and my wifes family is still in and around the Atlantic City area. They have lived through the “boom” and now the area is having to deal with the BUST. Atlantic City is about to either go under or have the state come in and take it over. Though it took almost 30 years for the collapse,to come, its not suprising. And now the area is paying a huge price for it. All the improvements that have been done, ie roads and such are now going to fall where? On the state and those of us left to pay off the bonds. The City of AC is going broke. The surrounding area since it has to cover pensions and such to the increase size of the law enforcement that was required, well guess who is going to pay for that?
    In all of this no one has brought this cost in. No one has thought about this who is in favoro of it. Yes for a short while you will have some improvement. But that improvement could have come through research and investment into how to increase heritage tourism. Which would have been long term. Not a short term fix.

    As an “outsider”, who spends a couple of grand a year in going to Gettysburg, who was seriously giving thought to retiring into the area, is now going to seriously reconsider doing so.

    One more thing. In my letter to the gaming commision as part of my testimony against this blight on this most sacred ground, I pointed out that for a whole regiment of men from New Jersey, for a number of them, the last sight they see is the tree line where this blight will be built. I am with all those against this. No way. No Casino. Ever.. Never.
    As for this organization… I admit I never gave a dime to them. However, I am on the board of Trustees for the New Jersey Civil War Heritage Association. And I will work within that organization to make sure not another dime goes there, nor any support by any means does so.
    JIM

  10. Randy
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Eric:
    Thanks for the heads up on this. I have already contacted the GBPA to let them know of my disgust at their betrayal of Gettysburg Battlefield. I don’t live in Gettysburg; I am a North Carolinian that visits Gettysburg frequently. Gettysburg Battlefield is a national historic resource however, not merely a local site, and I feel completely justified in opposing the casino and the GBPA. Indeed all Americans have a stake in this proposal and in the future of the battlefield.
    The excuse that the economy is bad strikes me as hollow and is in any event, quite beside the point. If every economic downturn resulted in actions like the building of casinos or walmarts on the doorsteps of our historic treasures, we’d have long ago lost our national historic sites. Fortunatley this hasn’t been the case, and needn’t be now. The casino project has very little to do with economic development and very much to do with greed. Just my opinion.

    Randy

  11. Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Well said, Randy. My understanding is that this was done strictly by the board with no input from rank and file members. Perhaps it’s time for someone like you to step up and lead a member’s revolt against this disgusting turn of events.

  12. Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Whether or not the proposed casino is to be placed on undeveloped battlefield land may not be “the” issue, but it is “an” issue and a pretty important one, in my view. We’re talking property rights here. A cornerstone of American society.

    I’m certainly not anti-preservation: in fact, I’m VP of an established battlefield preservation group that has done some pretty good work over the years. I differ from some in the “community” in that I see hyperbole not as a useful motivating tool for our supportors, who are and always will be a minority, but rather as a negative agitator to those on the outside – or other side, if you will – who are much more concerned with property rights and livelihoods than battlefield preservation. Before we can settle on a strategy to effectively deal with a situation, we need to accurately describe and understand what the situation is.

  13. Lew Taylor
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 2:31 pm

    I think what bothers me the most is that the Board of the GBPA came out and made this statement without (as it appears) any input from the members of the group. I would think that a statement regarding something that has caused this much controversy should be addressed by the entire membership, not just the Board.

  14. Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Lew,

    So I have learned, and that’s the part about all of this that bothers me the most.

    Eric

  15. Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Where’s the hyberbole, Harry? Everything I have stated is factual.

  16. Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Hyperbole is not by definition false, although the Faustian bargain described in the title of your post would be difficult to prove. To me, whether the GBPA is promoting the development of undeveloped “Battlefield Land” into a casino resort vs. not opposing the use of ancillary land already developed for commercial use is a vital distinction. I have no dog in the fight, at this point. I’m trying to gather information. That’s why I asked the question in the first place. It was prompted by this statement:

    “The Lady Farm, which saw little fighting, and is more than a mile from Culp’s Hill is worthy of saving, but actual battlefield land half a mile south of the park boundary isn’t? Say what?”

    So, what I need to know is whether or not we’re talking about undeveloped battlefield land here, which is what the above statement implies. Or are we talking about land (be it battlefield or ancillary) that has already been commercially developed? Is the real focus not potential commercial development, but rather existing commercial development, a change to which would result in a different, more negative impact?

    I only have so much attention to spare, and need to apply it where it can do the most good.

  17. Mark Snell
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Harry-

    The land where the casino will be placed already is developed, and has been for quite some time. My concern is with the ancillary businesses that most likely will spring up to take advantage of the casino’s clientele. The land in that vicinity is zoned “mixed use,” and I have no doubt that the Cumberland Township supervisors will allow even more construction along the Emmitsburg Road. Another problem will be the increased traffic along that road. It’s difficult enough, with all the traffic noise, to give a tour of Merritt’s brigade’s positions. Imagine what it will be like with more buses and cars zipping along that thorougfare. And just so everyone knows: I’m not an outsider. My farm is about a mile and half away. There are lots of locations in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to put a casino, but Gettysburg should not be one of them.

    Mark Snell

  18. Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks Mark.

  19. JohnK.
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 5:12 pm

    I first read your initial response to Harry quite a few lines up regarding “That’s not the issue”, and was REALLY confused. I thought, “Gosh, is this whole thing a personal issue between the General and the GBPA?” NOW I have a much clearer picture. It comes down to not necessarily the casino, but the secondary business that will undoubtedly want to crop up with hopes of getting a bit of that cash the casino hopes of cashing in on, and leading to even more pressure on the battlefield itself. The GBPA has extremely short sightedness, and have turned their backs to the Blue and Gray of Gettysburg National Battlefield in favor of the Green. Thanks for the info.

  20. Chris Evans
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 7:22 pm

    How horrible and reprehensible. What disgusting actions taken by such a group. I don’t see how they have any self respect.
    Thanks for ripping them,
    Chris

  21. Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Correct, Mark, the land in question is already developed. And it’s not specifically land that saw fighting, but it was the staging area for Merritt’s attacks on July 3. I’ve testified as such for the No Casino Gettysburg group in a letter that received wide circulation a few months back.

    As for property right, I’m as libertarian as anyone else. But even I admit that there must be limits and boundaries when dealing with historic national treasures. And there is precedent… the proximity of the old casino proposal to the battlefield was the reason the state commission denied the license then. And that was a mile away, this one is only half a mile. And remember the National Tower? That was privately owned, on private ground – and the government condemned it and took it to restore the solemnity of the field. In both cases, private property owned by private entities.

    Yes, easements and voluntary sales to the NPS are the preferred way to go. But when it’s necessary based on moral grounds for the greatest common good, private property is damned. And like I said, this comes from one of the most libertarian folks you’ll ever meet. Other than keeping me safe through national defense, I’m a person who prefers that the government otherwise get the hell out of my life.

    There’s precedent. The other developments that will spring up around this blight – and most assuredly up AGAINST the park boundaries (tell me who will refuse to sell their 1/2 acre property for a half a million dollars to X company) will ruin the Emmitsburg Road corridor. There’s a good reason the Gaming Commission refused a license for a casino a mile away from the battlefield.

    And now there’s a damn good reason to refuse one for a casino that would be even closer.

    Kudos to the Gettysburg Battlefield Exploitation Association for saving the Lady Farm. For what they may now have a part in making happen, I join others in indeed condemning them straight to hell.

    J.D.

  22. Dr. Walter L. Powell
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I am very sorry to learn that the GBPA has endorsed the casino–but not surprised, as the current Board seems so disposed. I have to wonder if they made any effort to poll the membership? The organization accomplished some great things in the past, including, of course, support for the expansion of the boundaries of GNMP, the purchase of hundreds of acres (including the Daniel Lady Farm), and raising awareness of the NPS/Gettysburg College Land Exchange Fiasco of 1990 (which we then called “The Great Terrain Robbery”). But I’m not sure many people can point to much of what the GBPA does now, and in the future they may be more likely remembered as one of the few Civil War organizations that endorsed the casino. I, for one, don’t think that is a legacy to be proud of.
    Mark Snell and others raise compelling points about the ancillary problems that the Casino could raise, despite all the apparent promises of the casino investors. Cumberland Township does not have a stellar record with preservation–witness, most recently, the construction of a multi-story motel right up against the boundary of Evergreen Cemetery.Then, too, Cumberland stands to gain perhaps $1,000,000 or more in revenues if the draft agreement offered by the casino developers is realized–a powerful incentive or “bribe” depending on your point of view.
    The issue of “how close” the development would be to the “Battlefield” is really a red herring– for as almost anyone realizes, the Casino would have a “Gettysburg Address” and a 17325 Zip Code, and is clearly part of what the vast majority of people consider “Gettysburg.” Perhaps the investors might wish to contemplate Littlestown? Dr. Walter L. Powell, Past President, Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association (1990-2001).

  23. Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Harry,

    What if this casino was to be built in Sharpsburg? I guarantee you that SHAF would go bonkers. Let’s remember that this is the same organization that spent tons of money and wasted lots of time and resources on litigation over a statue that someone FRIENDLY to the park erected…..

    Eric

  24. Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Thanks very much for your insight, Walt.

    I wish you were still in charge. I never would have had to have posted this sort of news…..

    Eric

  25. John Hennessy
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 8:59 pm

    The first duty of any preservation group is not to undercut the efforts of those seeking to preserve. Silence on their part would have been a perfectly acceptable option. But by publicly disagreeing they damage the preservation movement at large. Nothing plays worse with the public than (in this case, apparent) preservationists arguing among themselves.

  26. Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Eric,

    If this same thing was happening at Sharpsburg, I’d be asking the same questions. I find it very difficult to make decisions without facts. And thanks to Mark, I now have some!

  27. tom
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 9:42 pm

    its my understanding that levin donates heavily to the gbpa.they were bought and paid for.

  28. Steve Basic
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 10:08 pm

    While I have no say in this matter, I urge the people of Gettysburg to look at how casinos have “helped” Vicksburg. I have only visited there once, and while the casino parking lots were packed, many of the businesses in the downtown area were closed and boarded up. If those in Gettysburg think they are gonna make money on this they are not informed. The only ones who will are those who will be running the casino.

    Hope all are well.

    Steve

  29. Barry Dussel
    Tue 17th Aug 2010 at 10:34 pm

    I really need to question what the GBPA has in mind for the Lady Property . Do they own the property free and clear or is there a chance they could default on it? Maybe their benefactor LeVan has something in mind. Maybe it’s too early to speculate but I don’t believe the current Board, Hierarchy, etc has Preservation of anything other then their personal finances in mind.
    Here’s a thought. For the legal minds. What does the Charter of the GBPA state. In other words maybe legal actions against the organization is warranted. In the least they( the board, etc) have violated the trust of the membership. Quite possibly using funds generated by the membership in a way contrary to what the membership would want. Just a thought.

  30. Sal Prezioso
    Wed 18th Aug 2010 at 2:37 am

    Unfortunately, I believe the GBPA has made a huge mistake in taking the stand it has. Many above have adquately pointed out many of the problems associated with it. Harry, I know you asked if it was going to be in an existing building or something new being built, so i say this only for your information, not as a criticism. IMHO – that argument being played to you is a popular one that the Pro Casino people play to everyone. That you will not see it from the road, its in an existing building, no new soil is being disturbed is the chant they continue to make etc. Thats a diversion.

    What they like to ignore is the fact that its still a CASINO they wish to put in here – a half mile from the park boundry. If its buried under ground, you couldn’t see it or it is wrapped in a mink coat – it is still a CASINO and brings with it everything that a CASINO brings.

    It will forever change the “Gettysburg” brand of being a historic community. Sure, the battlefield will be here, but we will be the next Vicksburg. We will neve be able to go back. By their own numbers in their impact report, about 89% of attendees will come from withing an hour of here. Those millinons of dollars that will be spent there will be coming out of the restaurants, stores and service businesses in the area, not from mobs of tourists. We will lose at least as many jobs as they say they will create. It will create havoc in our community.

    This will be a resort casino – you can’t just walk in and play. If you’re not staying at the hotel itself, you have to spend at least $10.00 to play. One of the things that qualifies is food – there will be at least 2 restaurants at the hotel. If they provide comps or reimbursement for that $10.00 buy in, how will the local restaurants, clubs and bars be able to compete with that discount? Also, you can smoke in the casino as compared to restaurants, another disadvantage for local restaurants. Watch our tourism infrastructure begin to break down. I could go on, but you get the idea, I’m against the casino.

    I come by this view in that I’m not against gambling, but against what will happen to Gettysburg if a casino is put here. I make my observations as someone who has been in the Travel and Hospitality industry for 40 years, so I’ve seen it happen and how it works – Atlantic City and Detroit are prime examples. Plus, its going to be in my back yard as well, about 4 miles from where I live on the Battlefield. For me living in Gettysburg, there should never be time for it to come here, and Gettysburg should never be the place for a casino. Like there should never be one next to Normandy, Arlington, Pearl Harbor or Ground Zero – never in Gettysburg

    To repeat a quote – “There are a thousand casinos but only one Gettysburg”

  31. Barry Dussel
    Wed 18th Aug 2010 at 7:34 am

    The building / complex ? Somehow I don’t believe that Levan and his cronies will settle in the long term for the existing complex. Somewhere they will gnash their teeth and push for new . Such as when this casino begans to fail . They will say it’s the buildings fault .It’s drab, it’s downtrodden, it’s not conducive to the crowds, etc.
    Supposing this casino gets built. Casinos are like a new toy. They only hold interest/enthusiasm so long. Currently the Commonwealth of Penciltuckey holds their gaming up as a shining success . No doubt for the 1st few years it will be. Until the luster is gone. Think New Jersey. In the beginning there were crowds. There was enthusiasm. Then came PA’s games and folks abandon NJ in droves. No doubt some other political entity will get gaming / casinos. Then PA will suffer the fate of NJ .
    To quote. We have only one Gettysburg. It has been sucessful for 100 + years.There are thousands of Casinos. They will only be sucessful for 10 at the max. Then it’s all downhill . Along with the surronding environs ! We can not allow Gettysburg to be sacraficed.

  32. Brianna
    Wed 18th Aug 2010 at 8:25 am

    I live here. About 3 miles from this. My home is my Hallowed ground. I fight for my home. Pa ppl are naive when they say there is no casino crime in pa. Gambling is still in the early stages here and “Casino” crimes have not shown their true colors yet.

    I just wonder with the millions that this man has why here. Adams county has other areas. I know it is a catIII license but he tried with a CatII also and that could be “Built”

    Why doesn’t he try to bring a business that can improve the area instead of distracting from it?

  33. Wed 18th Aug 2010 at 9:06 am

    Sal, there is no argument being played to me. I asked a question. The reason I asked the question was because I didn’t know the answer. I was not making some sort of veiled statement with my question. It was, in fact, a question. Mark has answered my question, for which I have thanked him.

  34. Wed 18th Aug 2010 at 9:55 am

    Sal,

    Thanks for reminding us about the classification of the casino proposal – “resort” casino. It’s important for everyone to know exactly what will be in it regarding the hotel, restaurants, comps etc. I hear many supporters claiming that it would bring customers to other area businesses, but that’s not the case. When you’re in the casino, everything is there, and you have to spend your money there – all it will do is hurt all other area restaurants and hotels. The visitors who are casino-minded won’t be coming for the battlefield or the history, either – if they weren’t motivated to visit Gettysburg before, it’s not as if the casino will suddenly bring millions of history buffs to the area.

    And thank you, Dr. Powell, for chiming in – I wholeheartedly agree that the Gettysburg Battlefield Exploitation Association (formerly known as the GBPA) could have easily remained silent. The fact that they made a public statement, in my opinion, is direct evidence of the financial influence going on. The board HAD to know that in doing so they were going to alienate a large percentage of their supporters and members. As far as I’m concerned I hope they’ve just signed their own death warrant – with a “preservation” group such as this, the battlefield doesn’t need any enemies.

    J.D.

  35. Alejandro
    Wed 18th Aug 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Eric,

    There is any chances that these Judas was bribed? And bringin’ a court case with such charges affects theirs agenda negatively?
    These guys are naturally John Wilkes Booth in several faces, hope they get what they deserved.
    Anyway, wish you best luck in all efforts on preserving Gettysburg Battlefield.

    Alejandro.

  36. Wed 18th Aug 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Alejandro,

    Bribery (indirectly) in the form of buckets of money LeVan gave the Gettysburg Battlefield Exploitation Association. We don’t know how much (perhaps the books should be ordered open) but it wouldn’t surprise me if it wasn’t substantial.

    I also wonder, too, what form the GBEA is incorporated under, and if any discussions by board members with LeVan individually and collectively shouldn’t have to be made public.

    JD

  37. Ed Flanagan
    Wed 18th Aug 2010 at 5:23 pm

    How can the Board of Directors of the GBPA look people in the eye and ask for money for preservation? It boggles the mind why they would think a casino is a good idea for any place, let alone a place like Gettysburg.

    Casinos rarely meet the promises of “good jobs” and a boost for the economy, just look at Atlantic City to see the rot casinos breed.

    People should come to Gettysburg to experience and appreciate the sacrifices that Americans made in defense of liberty, and not place were to blow their social security and welfare cheeks.

    GBPA President should Brendan Synnamon, resign in disgrace for selling out to a sleazoid like David LeVan.

    Hopefully this piece of blight will meet it’s rightful karmic fate: “Going Out of Business!”

    ps: Repeat don’t give GBPA a wooden nickel till the Board resigns!

  38. William Houston
    Thu 19th Aug 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Like the rest of you, I am upset over the GBPA’s endorsement of the casino. However, I am far more upset at the lack of effort by GBPA and the CWPT to raise funds to buy the Gettysburg Country Club, the development of which totally spoils the viewshed on the first day’s battlefield. Occasionally I question CWPT’s judgment, such as spending a huge amount of money to buy a golf course at Franklin, a battlefield essentially gone, while not seriously pursuing the Gettysburg Country Club.

  39. Jeff Mancini
    Thu 19th Aug 2010 at 9:30 pm

    I have grown up around the casino business and been subjected to them since a very young age. Quite simply a casino is like a crack house. If you build it people will come regardless of its location.. Therefore where you locate it is not important. So I ask why does a casino have to be built at or near the Gettysburg Batttlefield? Simply put because some brain dead idiot(s) say it’s a good idea. I have news for all of you. We have brain dead idiots (including one in the White House) who says its OK to build a Muslim Mosque at Ground Zero in New York. That is not a right to build a mosque at ground zero. I have no problem with a mosque in Manhattan just not at ground zero. Can I build a church or synagogue in Riyadh or Tehran? Can I locate my church or synagogue in Mecca or Qom? Tolerance can be accepted. Poor judgement on where to locate a casino or church or synagogue or mosque needs careful and thoughtful consideration. I’m shocked and chagrined by the decision to locate a casino at Gettsburg just as much as I am by some’s opinion to locate a mosque at ground zero. If people are opposed to the building of a casino or mosque at a place that is inappropriate then don’t use some type of nonsensical jargon to shoe horn an idea into reality.

  40. Lisa
    Fri 20th Aug 2010 at 10:01 am

    I am an Adams County resident and I work in Gettysburg. I too am horrified at the prospect of the casino becoming a reality. It’s obvious that the GBPA is in Levan’s back pocket. My question is does anyone know when Brendan Synnamon suddenly became president of the GBPA? The last anyone here knew, Craig Caba was president, and it still has his name listed on their web site with that title, with Brendan being a member of the Board of Directors.

  41. Barry Dussel
    Fri 20th Aug 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Does anyone know anything about Brendan Synnamon ? What is his connection to LeVan, The Fat governor, and the Casino Gaming Industry ? There is something for him in this. What is it? When did he become active with GBPA ? Where does he work. what’s his profession?

  42. Barry Dussel
    Fri 20th Aug 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Please remember the spokesman for GBPA
    Brendan Synnamon
    Café Saint-Amand
    48 Baltimore St.
    Gettysburg, PA 17325
    (717) 334-2700
    He’s the spokesman for the group that has prostituted itself to the Gaming Industry. Keep the business in mind when in Gettysburg and Boycott it.

  43. Sat 21st Aug 2010 at 8:06 am

    This story is national on FOX news
    First American Legion Commander calling the casino a “national disgrace”
    http://video.foxnews.com/v/4310360/battle-at-gettysburg-over-plans-to-build-casino
    Then 2 interviews on 8/19, (I only can find a link to the second one)
    http://video.foxnews.com/v/4315502/gettysburg-casino-fight
    And coming up this Sunday, 8/22 on fox and friends at 7:45AM another live segment between No Casino Gettysburg and GBPA
    Regarding boycott, for the record No Casino Gettysburg does NOT boycott any business in Adams County. Brendan is a young father who may or may not know all the sordid history of the GBPA, even though he has been on the Board for years.

    In September 2006 the Civil War Courier investigated the origins of the GBPA’s loss of credibility. These quotes are from that story.

    The Courier noted that,

    “It was in 1999 when the GBPA began to change dramatically.

    It was then that the administrative officers accepted $100,000 from a developer to not oppose site development of an historic property known as Camp Letterman during the Civil War.

    There was a written legal agreement between the developer and the GBPA that stated, “the Association, through any of its officers and directors, shall not object, oppose, publicly criticize or otherwise attempt to prevent or delay Caldwell Development from proceeding with the pending site development.”

    Neither the membership nor the public knew of this. Indeed the letter between the
    attorneys involved stated that this “is being given to you on a confidential basis to be shared only with those officers of the Association at this time who are instrumental in entering into such arrangement.”

    The investigative piece by the Courier further explained that in 2005 the GBPA,

    “Initiated a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with the developer who has land adjacent to the Daniel Lady Farm on Route 116. With the promise of “no adverse actions” towards the development of the George Wolf Farm, the GBPA would receive a narrow strip of land equal to the 10-foot setback along a common boundary. This boundary is 2,000 feet long and the total amount of land to be set aside for a historic interpretive trail would be less than one-half acre. A pittance compared to the over 80-acres due to be developed. Additionally, the developer promised to give to the GBPA all of the stones from the foundation of the Wolf farmhouse the GBPA wanted in order to complete some project on the Daniel Lady Farm.

    This too, is a meager amount, hardly enough to make a pick-up truck’s load. The loss of this land, like most in the vicinity of the town of Gettysburg, would be a tragedy.

    This land was the site of the encampment of the Louisiana Brigade of Johnson’s Division. It also contains, besides the farm buildings, possible entrenchments dug by those troops for defensive positions. This is precisely the type of endangered battlefield the GBPA originally was created to protect and preserve. “

  44. Barry Dussel
    Sat 21st Aug 2010 at 10:37 am

    It begs the question then. Why does anyone still belong to the GBPA? It’s time to get the word out as to what they are about.
    A sidenote. Last evening on the news there was a article about a tax protest in Adams County. It seems that the County Government had all property reassessed recently. From the way it was presented. Some property owners are going to se as much as a 400 % increse in their taxes . What a manipulation by the County Government. Jack up the taxes so more people will swallow the hard pill of a casino/ resort as a panecea to their tax situation. Those that were against the casino last month or last year will surely reconsider now .
    I used to have some faith in humankind and in those of this Commonwealth . No more! If Adams County allows this , and it’s not a question at the State level. That’s a done deal because “The too fat governor” owes LeVan for Politicking on his behalf. There will be another reassessment in 10 years +/- to cover more government costs. The Casinos will be looked back on in a decade or so as a failed venture that are no longer viable w/o government support. Ie more taxes, just as the Convention centers in Philadelphia and Lancaster are . Taxes will need to be raised to insure the resorts stay operating so that the few minimum wage jobs continue to be available at the resorts , etc . That situation will open the door for general development . More development will be touted as the way to reduce the new tax burden caused by the failing Casinos.
    So it goes . In another 1/4 Century gettysburg will not be vaguely recognizable .

  45. Sat 21st Aug 2010 at 12:03 pm

    John H. nailed it. While I agree with Eric’s, J.D.’s, and others’ comments, let’s assume for the moment that there are pros and cons. What on earth is a preservation group doing coming out in support of this project? Talk about compromising your mission. There is an unmistakeable whiff of something that stinks.

  46. Jean
    Sat 21st Aug 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I don’t even know how to express my disgust about the possibility of a casino in Gettysburg – near the battlefield or anywhere in Gettysburg! Just think, people from all over will connect “Casino” with Gettysburg if this is approved. Please, everyone, write the PA Gaming Control Board and express your disapproval!

  47. mike
    Mon 23rd Aug 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Brendan Synnamon and his fathe Bill are both on GBPA Board of directors. Bill and Brendan own The Union Drummerboy, The Union Cigar shop and a Bistro near the Court House. When was Brendan elected President? Craig Caba was President in the spring 2010 Newsletter by the GBPA. I assume he was put on point for this Cigar Store customers. Bill assumes he will get the Cigar concessions at the Casino. He already sells them during Bike week. The GBPA has been bought by LeVan’s greed.

  48. William Richardson
    Tue 24th Aug 2010 at 2:45 am

    Mr. Whittenberg you and I often do not agree but on this one I have your back !! I agree with you totally. I will no longer give support to this group. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

    Respectfully,

    William

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