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Derby senior center boycotting Foxwoods

By Kathleen Edgecomb

Publication: The Day

Published July 21. 2012 4:00AM   Updated July 21. 2012 12:29PM
Column quoting casino president sparks outrage

Mashantucket - Hell hath no fury like a senior citizen scorned, or something like that.

Scott Butera, president and chief executive officer of Foxwoods Resort Casino, has found himself in the middle of a firestorm of sorts over disparaging remarks he may or may not have made about his elderly casino customers to a Boston Globe columnist.

The senior center in Derby is calling for all seniors to boycott Foxwoods and wants Butera to resign. It has canceled future trips to Foxwoods and is sending its buses to Mohegan Sun casino instead.

State Rep. Linda M. Gentile, D-Ansonia, on Friday issued a statement supporting the center's action.

"I'm outraged by these disrespectful remarks and encourage Derby and all seniors to boycott Foxwoods until they receive a public apology," Gentile said.

At issue is an interview with Butera by columnist Joan Vennochi, which was published in the Globe.

"The chief executive of Foxwoods Resort Casino is also candid about customers he can do without - for example, those stereotypical busloads of senior citizens who show up with walkers and oxygen tanks,'' the May 24 column reads, although the words are not attributed to Butera.

Butera is quoted saying jokingly, "We've dropped a lot of that ... not for humane reasons," referring to the seniors.

The column goes on to say: "... those darn elders don't gamble away enough of their money to help Foxwoods reach its goal, which as this point is basic survival.'' The statement also is not attributed to Butera.

Foxwoods officials had no comment Friday night but pointed to an article in the Valley Independent Sentinel in Ansonia, in which Butera said his words were taken out of context.

"We're doing a lot of really good things here at Foxwoods,'' Butera is quoted as saying in an article Friday in the Sentinel. "We've been spending a lot of time and money turning the property around. We absolutely love and care for all our customers, certainly our senior citizen customers who have been with us the longest."

Butera told the Sentinel he never said anything disparaging about seniors and he intends to contact the head of the Derby senior center and explain his side of the story.

According to the Sentinel, the Globe stands by its column.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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