Ormsby House closes Sunday night

The Ormsby House closes at midnight tonight.

Anybody still inside when the clock strikes 12 may continue playing until they're done, but once the late-night gamblers cash out, that's it for the Ormsby House.

"We have eight hotel guests leaving Monday," general manager Bob Cashell said.

By noon Monday, the Ormsby House officially will be closed for business.

Behind locked doors, remaining employees will strip down and remove the near 300 slot machines during the next week.

The Ormsby House could have closed sooner but casinos in Carson City and at Stateline waited until the Nevada Day weekend passed before claiming the Ormsby House employees they hired at a job fair earlier in the month.

Cashell said more than 100 employees found jobs at other casinos, including Caesars Tahoe, Harrahs Tahoe, Horizon, Harvey's, Carson Valley Inn, Carson Station and Pinon Plaza.

"A lot of them said 'we want you to stay (at the Ormsby House) until after Nevada Day," Cashell said. "It seems like everybody was working along with Nevada Day."

Cashell had an employee meeting Friday at 2 p.m., where he determined he would not have enough employees to safely operate the 200-room hotel/casino. He figured about 140 to 150 people were working at the Ormsby House during the Nevada Day weekend. A month ago, the employee count was 230.

Ormsby House owners Al Fiegehen and Don Lehr announced Sept. 20 they would close the Ormsby House in two months to give contractors room for a massive renovation inside and out from roof to street level.

The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act requires the large employer to give 60 days notice prior to plant closings, but a business can close sooner if not enough employees remain.

The Ormsby House will remain closed for an indefinite period, well into the second half of next year. There is no firm reopening date.

This launches the second prolonged closure for Carson City's largest hotel in the past seven years. Bankruptcy shuttered the Ormsby House from January 1993 to February 1995.

A second bankruptcy troubled the Ormsby House from February 1997 until Fiegehen and Lehr, owners of the Carson City computer software firm Cubix, bought the property in September 1999. The partners early this year promised to give the Ormsby House a $10 million overhaul to turn it into a five-star hotel.

Their plans call for expanding the casino across the ground floor, so that one can see all the way through the casino from the Carson-Fifth street entrance to the south entrance, which will become the main entrance.

Furnishings were cleared out of the 10th floor rooms in February and March. The eighth and ninth floors were emptied during the last three weeks, Cashell said.

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