Local Leaders Not Thrilled With Fox News Story On Sidney

Sidney City Manager Ed Sadler isn’t completely happy about an 11-minute story Tuesday night on Fox TV that put the blame for Cabela’s sale to Bass Pro Shop on hedge fund manager Paul Singler, criticized Senator Ben Sasse for staying mute after having received the maximum political donation from Singler, and painted Sidney as a dead town.

Sadler, who was not interviewed in the Tucker Carlson story, told Rural Radio News that Carlson was wrong when he said Singler and Elliott Management had “destroyed a good American town.” Sadler said that while some 2,000 jobs have been lost with the closure of Cabela’s corporate headquarters, Sidney is far from dying.

Sadler said many of the former Cabela’s workers have found new, albeit lower-paying jobs, school enrollment has held steady since a dip the first year after the sale, and the housing market has remained good with over 1,000 new family units since 2016 and only 72 houses currently for sale.

Because of all that, he feels Carlson was also wrong in saying people are “stuck” in Sidney. He thinks the people in Sidney want to be there – adding that Sidney has been declared dead many times in the past and has always responded and prospered.

Sidney Economic Development Director Melissa Norgard was in the broadcast story, but agrees with Sadler – pointing out to Rural Radio News that two dozen new businesses have come to Sidney in the past two years.

Norgard admitted Sidney faces uncertainty and challenges, but is full of resilient people and a hard-working, talented, knowledgeable and loyal workforce that makes Sidney marketable and attractive to new companies.

She thinks the Fox story will actually benefit Sidney because the national exposure will bring awareness and attention to companies and business leaders, which is what she feels is needed to continue growing Sidney – adding that “Once they visit, they’ll see Sidney for its small-town values and big-time opportunities.”

The underlying facts of Carlson’s story have been well-known in Nebraska for years, that Singer and Elliott Management bought an 11% stake in Cabela’s, then essentially forced a sale. When the deal with Bass Pro Shops was announced, the stock price surged and Singer’s hedge fund cashed out within a week – reportedly making a profit of at least $90 million.

Ed Sadler agreed that Singer and Elliott Management were the catalyst for the loss of the 2,000 Cabela’s jobs in Sidney, but said “for the most part, Paul Singer didn’t lay off anybody.” He also thinks the Fox News story treats Sasse unfairly because even if he had spoken out as did Senator Deb Fischer and Gov Pete Ricketts, it would have had little to no impact on the sale.

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