How pro-Trump Sidney, Nebraska was devastated

by WorldTribune Staff, December 6, 2019

A Nebraska town which voted for President Donald Trump by an 80 percent margin in 2016 has been all but destroyed by hedge fund manager Paul Singer, who is also a major Republican Party donor, Fox News’s Tucker Carlson reported on Dec. 3.

Cabela’s, a specialty retailer of outdoor recreation merchandise, was based in Sidney, a town of 6,300. It was the town’s largest employer.

Paul Singer was the second largest donor to the GOP in 2016.

Sidney Mayor Roger Galloway told Tucker Carlson Tonight that the town lost 2,000 jobs when Cabela’s was sold to Bass Pro Shops in 2016, a year after Singer’s Elliott Management disclosed an 11 percent stake and said Cabela’s should explore a possible sale.

According to securities filings, Cabela’s was profitable at the time of the sale, but in mid-November 2015, Elliott Management “stated that they believed the Company should be sold through a public auction process” and that if they didn’t engage in the sales process, the hedge fund “was prepared to take further steps with respect to the Company.”

After the sale announcement, the stock price surged and Singer’s hedge fund cashed out within a week. Elliott Management reportedly made at least $90 million, Carlson’s report noted.

“They got in there to get the business sold and the business was sold, so they took it and ran,” Damien Park, managing partner at consulting firm Hedge Fund Solutions, told the Omaha World-Herald in October 2016. “They made a fortune, so they’re happy.”

Tim O’Connell, a local lumberyard owner, told Tucker Carlson Tonight: “I hope Paul Singer is proud of what he did. I don’t know how he sleeps at night.”

Before the Cabela’s merger with Bass Pro Shops, O’Connell said his lumberyard did great business. But over the past two years, just one new home has been built in Sidney, he said.

City official Melissa Norgard told Tucker Carlson Tonight: “We were going to build a new housing subdivision to meet housing needs … instead, we are working our tails off to try to figure out a way to survive.”

Mayor Galloway noted that “Cabela’s was the keystone employer in town. Everything, not everything, but most things revolved around that.”

One former Cabela’s employee, speaking on condition of anonymity due to fear of retribution, said, “I cried the second I got the phone call. I couldn’t help it. I bawled.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, has never commented on what happened to Sidney, Tucker Carlson Tonight said.

Sasse, like many other Republicans, is a recipient of Singer’s cash. The hedge fund owner gave the maximum donation to Sasse’s 2014 campaign.

In 2016, Singer was the second biggest donor to Republicans.

“We’re not saying Ben Sasse or any other senator is doing Singer’s bidding purely for the cash,” Carlson said. “But why not remove all doubt? If one of your biggest donors turned out to be a pornographer or a mass distributor of OxyContin, you’d send back the donation. You wouldn’t want to be associated with someone like that. You’d want to be clear about your own values. Senator Sasse should be clear about his.”

In response to the Dec. 3 report, Sasse issued a statement saying: “Melissa and I know the families in Sidney and I’ve constantly told companies — including Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops — that nobody out-works or out-hustles Nebraskans. Sidney hasn’t given up and neither have we. There’s a real problem with American communities coming apart, and it is going to require creative policymaking, but this problem isn’t going to be solved by the easy, overpromising big-government advocates on either the right or the left.”

In response to Sasse, Carlson said: “No more baby talk. Stop with the bumper sticker phrases from 1986. It’s a different country now. The question isn’t whether we’re getting big government. Too late. We already have it, in part thanks to you, Republican senators. The question is whether we’ll become a socialist country run by a terrifying alliance of authoritarian big tech moguls and wild-eyed identity politics cult members. That could happen. We’re closer to it than Republicans in Washington acknowledge … These are supposed to be the guardians of capitalism. Somehow they don’t seem to notice it’s in mortal peril.”

Carlson added: “Wake up. We’re almost out of time. If we don’t reign in the excesses of our system, and soon, we could very easily lose the whole thing.”

O’Connell, the lumberyard owner, told Tucker Carlson Tonight that Singer “ruined Sidney. Like I said, it was a good American town, a good solid USA town and [he] just destroyed it.”

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