GCG CEO resigns after posing as hotel worker to get COVID-19 vaccine

Rodney Baker is polishing up his resume with one hand while massaging his arm with the other. The now-former CEO of the Great Canadian Gaming Corp. (CGC) has stepped down after it was discovered that he and his wife broke health protocols (and probably a few moral codes) in order to jump in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. His resignation is seen as almost a guarantee that the casino operator will now be sold to Apollo Global Management.

According to Casino.org, Baker and his wife, Ekaterina, chartered a private jet to take them from Whitehorse to Beaver Creek, both located in Yukon, Canada. The goal of that trip wasn’t to get away to do some last-minute skiing or hiking; instead, it was to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. They showed up at a mobile vaccination clinic operated by Moderna, one of the companies that have produced a vaccine, posing as hotel workers in order to get preferential treatment to receive their shots.

When the news broke, Baker admitted to what he had done and tendered his resignation. In the meantime, he and his wife could still face charges for their actions and are looking at accusations of having violated Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA). They have 30 days to contest the charges or face penalties of as much as $500 and/or six months in jail.

Baker was discovered as a result of due diligence on the part of the team administering the vaccine. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation explains that the team, as part of their standard operating procedures, notified the hotel the Bakers claimed to work for after the couple received their shots. The hotel, however, confirmed that the Bakers were not employees, and the ruse unraveled from there.

According to Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker, “We just didn’t anticipate that anyone would go to this length to effectively deceive the team to get vaccinated, and I think we all felt pretty offended at the whole thing. We will put in place additional procedures. I don’t imagine that this is going to repeat itself.”

Baker took the helm at CGC ten years ago, a year after having been appointed its president in 2010. It has over 20 Canadian casinos in its portfolio, and is now closer to becoming an asset owned by Apollo following Baker’s departure. The investment firm has been working on a deal to acquire the operator for the past couple of months and is ready to pay $1.9 billion to complete the deal. CGC shareholders have already signed off on the arrangement, which now has to go through the typical bureaucratic maze before it can be completed.

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