Isle general manager is on homecoming of sorts

Published 12:43 am Tuesday, May 20, 2008

NATCHEZ — For Tony Scudiero Monday was more like a homecoming than a first day at work.

Scudiero, the Isle of Capri Casino’s new vice president and general manager, was actually the casino’s senior director of operations from 2001 to 2006.

On a walk from his office to the boat Scudiero was stopped by a handful of employees surprised to see him back at the casino. Since 2006 Scudiero has been working at an Isle property in the state — Lula.

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“There are a lot of good people here,” he said. “It’s a great team.”

Greeted by hugs and handshakes the casino’s employees appeared to be genuinely excited to see their new boss.

And for the casino’s employees Scudiero is their latest boss in what has been an awkward time at the Isle.

Last month the flooding Mississippi River forced the casino to close, Monday marked its first full week back open.

While the casino was closed, the former general manager, Jack Sours, was reassigned to another of the Isle’s properties.

After Sours left Michael Tamburelli was expected to take over as the casino’s general manager, then declined to accept the position.

Since then the casino has been operating under the direction of interim general manager John Moran.

Moran was acting GM when the casino reopened after the river receded.

Just a week later the casino welcomed back its newest GM.

Scudiero said if the changes in management appear to have happened rapidly it’s likely because the corporate office wanted all its GMs in place before the next year’s budget needed to be completed.

But for Scudiero the change was a positive one.

“This is like coming home,” Scudiero said. “I love this town.”

Scudiero, originally from Kansas City, said he has come to think of Natchez as his home.

“This is where we raised our family,” he said. “This is where my son learned to drive.”

And Scudiero said he plans to make Natchez his home for years to come.

“I’ll be here as long as they need me,” he said.

This is Scudiero’s first opportunity to act as GM after 21 years in the casino industry.

Scudiero said while he plans to focus on things like safety and cleanliness at the casino he doesn’t foresee any major plans for changes on the boat.

On thing that has changed on the boat however is the fact that it’s making money again after being closed for a month.

The casino’s marketing director, Tana Ferrington, said the numbers for the first week since the reopening have been good.