Billionaire Lays Off 45,000 Workers Early as a ‘favour’

Tilman Fertitta, the chairman, CEO, and owner of Landry’s, Inc., one of the largest restaurant corporations in the United States, said in an interview last weekend, that employers like himself are doing workers a “favor” by laying them off quickly to help them get unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 crisis.

In his Fox News interview on the “Ingraham Angle,” the Fertitta was asked who owns Laundry’s and the Houston Rockets among other businesses, and how he and his empire were “holding up” amid the coronavirus crisis.

“I’m holding up pretty damn good,” he said during the interview. “But I’ve got 45,000 employees out there that we’ve had to furlough that is so tremendously unfortunate, that we have to get back to work as soon as we can. These unemployment numbers of 16 million, and there’s no telling what it’s going to be next week. That’s what’s so sad about this whole crisis.”

“How hard was that decision to lay off your employees?”  Fertitta was asked.

“You know, Brian, I went through the ’87 crisis, the 2000, the 2008,” Fertitta responded. “You’re doing the people a favor if you get them furloughed first because you have them first to unemployment line after the severance that you give them. It’s a trick that I’ve learned many years ago.”

“It’s just unimaginable,” Fertitta, who is estimated to have a net worth of about $4.8 billion, continued saying.

“We’ve all had to do little layoffs over the years. But you have to basically shut down the whole company,” he continued. “When you think of having amusement parks, aquariums, a basketball team, casinos all over the world, and nothing is open. It’s just like a sci-fi movie you’d never believe.”

The billionaire was then asked if he knew how much money his empire was loosing during the crisis, which has forced many businesses across the country to close down as the government tries to stop the spread of the virus.

“Give us an idea of how much cash is going out the window and what you need to sustain it,” the host said.

“This is what people don’t understand, is we all pay today, yesterday’s bills with today’s money,” Fertitta answered. “And when we just got shut down in a 48-hour period, you still have a payroll and severance, $100 million for me because my payroll is $1.5 billion a year, which is done now. But my cash burn today is still $2 million a day, which is unfathomable. But that’s why we’ve got to stay liquid. I went out and did some finances this week that will take me to the end of the year.”

This comes as President Donald Trump starts looking into reopening parts of the economy at the start of next month in hopes of saving millions of people who have filed for unemployment benefits and are currently fighting for survival due to the pandemic.

What are your thoughts on Mr. Fertitta’s comments? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve found it informative. 

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