The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Hedge Fund Blamed for Sidney Job Loss

 

December 11, 2019

About three years ago, the purchase of Cabela's by Bass Pro began. A few days ago, a Fox News team and Tucker Carlson met with Sidney city officials for a story on the impact of hedge fund trading.

In the course of the story, hedge fund manager Paul Singer was credited with the demise of Sidney.

However, officials quickly note that the community is not dying. It is changing, but it is not dying.

Fox News, the producer of the Tucker Carlson show, contacted Sidney Mayor Roger Gallaway and Economic Development Director Melissa Norgard. According to the interview, several former Cabela's employees were also interviewed but would not go on record. Their message, according to Fox News, is Sidney is dying as a result of the Bass Pro-Cabela's merger.

A search of Neworks.nebraska.gov, the State's job listing site, there are 249 jobs listed representing 356 positions as of Dec. 9.

The message from Gallaway and Norgard is realistic, but positive.

Gallaway said he was surprised the news coverage comes to Sidney so long after the sale was announced. However, the interview focused on Elliott Management Corporation and Singer. He said he knew going into the interview it would be focused on what happened to Sidney. He also recognized it as an opportunity for Sidney to be recognized, create a discussion to accentuate the positives.

“We've had over 300 new jobs in the last two years,” he said.

He added it does not replace the 2,000 that were lost, but it is progress.

Gallaway added as a result of the buy-out by Bass Pro, the Sidney community is going through a state of “rebranding.”

“You don't replace a keystone employer like this overnight,” he said.

According to the Nebraska Department of Labor, Cheyenne County had 4,202 employees in 2013, with an average hourly wage of $19.55 and average annual salary of $40,664. In October 2019, 4,129 were employed of the 4,310 work force in Cheyenne County with an estimated 181 unemployed.

Norgard agreed that the interview gave Sidney exposure not normally accessible. She said while not everyone will agree with the City taking part in the program, it put Sidney in front of a national audience.

“My answer is this segment gave Sidney the spotlight, even if for only 2 ½ minutes,” Norgard said. “I think the exposure itself to people on the national scope will cause people to think about Sidney.”

Carlson also called for Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., to return campaign contributions made by Singer. Carlson is quoted saying Sasse should “remove all doubt” about his affiliation with Singer. Singer donated the maximum allowed by law, $2,600, in Sasse's 2014 election campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission.

In a written statement to the Sun-Telegraph, Sen. Sasse stood with Sidney as a community that is not giving up.

“Let's be really clear about this: Sidney hasn't given up and neither have we. Yes, there's a real problem with American communities coming apart, and it is going to require creative policy making, but this is problem isn't going to be solved by the easy over-promising big-government advocates on either the right or the left. Nebraskans aren't anybody's talking point – we're hard workers,” Sen. Sasse said.

Tucker Carlson's segment focused on the impact of hedge funds on small communities in rural America, and specifically Paul Singer's Elliott Management Corporation. According to Wikipedia, Singer has a net worth of $3.5 billion as of November 2019.

 

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