|By Tom Wilemon, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Aug. 18, 2005 - Jeff Dahl's leadership of MGM Mirage's Mississippi properties came to an abrupt end Tuesday when he and two other top executives at Beau Rivage left their posts in a management shake-up.
Jon Corchis, the casino's former chief financial officer, will temporarily manage the Biloxi resort as well as the Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica, while MGM searches for permanent replacements. The other vacant posts are chief financial officer and vice president of hotel operations.
Dahl had been put in charge of the Tunica property after MGM Mirage acquired it from Mandalay Resort Group in a corporate merger earlier this year.
Beau Rivage issued a statement Wednesday about the executives' departure. The three men could not be reached for comment.
"Effective immediately, the following individuals are no longer with the company: Jeff Dahl, president and chief operating officer; Todd Raziano, senior vice president and chief financial officer; and Mickey Culberson, vice president of hotel operations," said Bruce Nourse, director of public affairs for Beau Rivage. "All three individuals have outside business interests and have chosen to leave the company to further pursue those interests."
"These three individuals are highly accomplished professionals who will do very well going forward," Nourse said. "We wish them the very best."
Nourse declined further comment on the personnel matters.
Dahl's outside business interests have included partial ownership of Hooters Restaurants on the Coast, Toscana Development Co. LLC and DTMV Properties LLC, a real estate company that rents apartments to Jamaican citizens employed at the casino. Dahl's wife, Debra Dahl, is identified on courthouse deeds as a managing member of DTMV. Culberson is also a member of DTMV.
None of the deeds identified Raziano as having an interest in DTMV. The company owns property on McDonnell Avenue in Biloxi that consists of a Victorian house and a series of small apartment buildings on the same lot.
Dahl took the helm at Beau Rivage in March 2000 and began polishing the casino's reputation with local customers. Dahl, a Las Vegas native who has held five executive posts with Coast casinos, already had a record of community involvement, serving on the boards for organizations such as Hope Haven and the Alzheimer's Foundation. He was previously general manager at Casino Magic Bay St. Louis.
Under his leadership, Beau Rivage has sponsored fund-raising events for numerous community arts and social organizations.
When Beau Rivage opened as the state's most elaborate casino resort, it had an image problem with local gamblers who thought it catered to out-of-town high rollers and did not want their business. Dahl hired employees with strong Coast connections to serve in key community affairs posts.
However, in more recent years, Beau Rivage has been out of step with other casino operators. It ended membership with the Mississippi Gaming Association before the organization was absorbed into another casino operator's group.
The Beau was also the only Coast casino to actively oppose a bond issue to finance the expansion of the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.
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Copyright (c) 2005, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.
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