Omaha, NE.—When news broke a few years ago that Cabela’s was up for sale it wasn’t just news to everyday Nebraskans, it was also news to Gov. Pete Ricketts—that according to the Ricketts campaign.
(See Joe Jordan’s Full Video Report Above)
As Democrat Bob Krist continues to push his claim that Ricketts played a nasty role in the break-up and sale of the Sidney based operation shedding 2,000 jobs, Team Ricketts denies any (my word) collusion.
“Governor Ricketts had nothing to do with the sale of Cabela’s or any related deal, and learned of Bass Pro Shops’ intent to buy Cabela’s the same day as the public,” campaign spokesman Matthew Trail tells News Channel Nebraska.
Trail says Ricketts and Bass Pro did talk during the run-up to the sale of Cabela’s but downplays those talks as no more than discussing “the importance of Cabela’s to Nebraska.”
During their one and so far only debate at the State Fair last month, Ricketts said he “didn’t have anything to do with the sale because it was a private sector transaction.”
Krist insists otherwise arguing that Ricketts “sat back and allowed a family friend and political supporter…Paul Singer, known as an activist ‘doomsday investor’… to mastermind a corporate raid on the iconic Nebraska family business…Singer has donated a total of $7.9 million to Pete Ricketts and his family’s political action committees.”
Krist also maintains that in December, 2015 Ricketts “offered to speak to Paul Singer and investors at Singer’s firm about the sale of Cabela’s.”
Team Ricketts’ comments followed a series of questions from News Channel Nebraska starting with talks Ricketts held with Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris in October, 2016:
Joe Jordan, NCN: What specifically did the Governor and Morris talk about?
Ricketts Campaign: Governor Ricketts and Mr. Morris discussed the importance of Cabela’s to Nebraska, its stellar Nebraska workforce, and the opportunities for Bass Pro Shops to retain Cabelas’ operations and invest in Nebraska employees.
Joe Jordan, NCN: Was this their first discussion?
Ricketts Campaign: It was Governor Ricketts’ first discussion with Mr. Morris.
Joe Jordan, NCN: If there were more discussions, what was said during those talks?
Ricketts Campaign: In further conversations with Mr. Morris and other members of the Bass Pro Shops management team, Governor Ricketts continued to advocate for retaining Cabelas’ Nebraska operations and workforce. Bass Pro Shops has retained elements of Cabelas’ Nebraska operations and many of its employees.
Joe Jordan, NCN: Doesn’t the fact that the two spoke about the deal indicate that the Governor had something to do with the deal?
Ricketts Campaign: Governor Ricketts had nothing to do with the sale of Cabela’s or any related deal, and learned of Bass Pro Shops’ intent to buy Cabela’s the same day as the public. From the first speculation about the sale of Cabela’s, Governor Ricketts offered his support to Cabelas’ management team and Sidney officials in retaining Nebraska jobs and attracting new jobs to Sidney.