In Brief

Reduced expenses help boost earnings for Herbst Gaming

Herbst Gaming LLC said its third-quarter income rose sharply from a year ago, helped by cost-cutting.

In a Monday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Herbst Gaming said it earned $3.3 million in the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with income of $385,000 a year earlier. A $9.1 decrease in operating expenses helped the company improve its results. The company also said it reduced payroll and related expenses by $3.4 million, partly because of layoffs executed in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Revenue fell 9.5 percent, to $42.9 million from $47.4 million.

Herbst Gaming LLC is the company left after a judge approved a bankruptcy reorganization plan in which Herbst brothers Ed, Tim and Troy ceded ownership and control of the casino and slot machine route operation they’d founded and built.

The bankruptcy reorganization wiped $1.1 billion in debt off the books but left a consortium of lenders, including a Connecticut-based hedge fund, owning the business.

Grand Café restaurants will return at five Station casinos

Station Casinos Inc. on Thursday said it would bring back its Grand Café restaurants to five of its properties replacing Coco’s Bakery Restaurants less than two years after the company made the switch to a national chain.

The first Grand Café will open on Dec. 27 at Palace Station followed by Sunset Station in mid-January. The other openings — Boulder Station, Santa Fe Station and Texas Station — were expected to be complete by summer 2011.

Station Casinos Chief Operating Officer Kevin Kelley said reopening five Grand Café’s will cost about $3 million for capital improvements and training.

The properties had been home to the Grand Café brand for 5 years, before Station Casinos began replacing them with Coco’s in July 2009. All five remodels were finished by Dec. 1, 2009.

Kelly said Coco’s employees will be given priority for job interviews at the Grand Cafés. Coco’s employs about 150 people at its five restaurants within Station Casinos’ properties. He said the company expects to hire 150 more employees.

People may apply for jobs at the cafés online at www.stationcasinos.com.

LAS VEGAS

Teamsters face investigation, credit-card misuse accusations

Nevada’s largest Teamsters union is facing an internal investigation amid allegations of political retaliation and misuse of credit cards.

Board members of the long-troubled Las Vegas local have accused each other of spending union dollars on gasoline and other personal expenses and gifting credit cards to allies.

Members also complained that their employment had been threatened for refusing to pledge their support to the board’s leader in future elections.

Local Union 631 represents more than 5,500 convention workers, trash collectors and United Parcel Service drivers in Las Vegas.

James P. Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, sent a letter to the local this month that detailed the allegations and advised members that his watchdogs could take over in December.

A hearing is scheduled Dec. 13 and 14 in Las Vegas. The outcome will determine whether the union will be placed under emergency supervision, or trusteeship, for the second time since 2000.

NEW YORK

Thirty-year mortgage rates climb higher during week

Any borrowers who were betting that mortgage rates would fall even further lost out this week. The best rates may now be behind them.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage jumped to 4.39 percent from 4.17 percent, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday. That was the lowest level on records dating back to 1971.

The 15-year loan, a popular refinance option, climbed to 3.76 percent from 3.57 percent, the lowest level since that survey began in 1991.

The jump in rates has rippled through the mortgage market. The number of people applying for mortgages slid last week, the Mortgage Bankers Association said.

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