Changes Coming for Millionaire's Casino Boat - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/05/2004

Changes Coming for Millionaire's Casino Boat

The man originally in charge is out; new management is in, but employees aren't sure the problems are over.

"We are disappointed with how things were going," said casino chief financial officer Mona Hill.

The boat's owners are getting serious. Managing partner Jim Monaghan is out, and Hill is taking over the casino finances. She says there is a whole new business plan.

"We have new marketing ideas we are trying to put in place right now, and I think you will see a difference," she said.

Former Millionaire's Casino advertising director and security officer Gene Witham disagrees. "It seems as disorganized then as it seems to be right now," he said.

Witham has been with the Millionaire's Casino since August. He hoped it would succeed, but claims current problems stem from deception and denial.

"They have a practice under this new management where if the ship doesn't have a certain number of people, it doesn't go out," Witham claimed.

Witham was promptly fired a few hours after speaking with WTOC.

Sometimes, it's the US Coast Guard keeping the anchor dropped. The boat has been docked since Friday, but Hill denies it was from their fault. She blames a scheduled safety audit.

"We did have to stay at dock to complete the required audit," she said.

"That's a blatant lie," said Witham. "The Coast Guard shut them down."

According to US Coast Guard Lt. Commander Larry Green: "They were shut down."

Green says a random inspection turned up some red flags. "The people they had on board were not in compliance with the safety manning certificates they had aboard the vessel," Green told WTOC.

By Monday night, the boat was back in business. Mona Hill says the Millionaire's Casino is only looking ahead and leaving the past behind.

"There's no reason why this won't be successful from this point forward," she said.

The Millionaire's Casino is expected to start running matinee cruises this weekend. Daily cruises run now, from 6pm until 1am.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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