Woman: Casino offered steak dinner instead of $43 million jackpot

A slot machine told her she hit a massive jackpot, but the casino claimed it was a machine error and offered her a meal on the house. Now, she’s taking this to court.

Katrina Bookman captured national attention last year when she played a “Sphinx Slot Machine” at Resorts World Casino in Queens, New York, and it appeared as though she’d won $43 million — which would have been the largest jackpot ever won on the slots in U.S. history. She excitedly snapped a selfie with the screen, believing her life was forever changed.

But when Bookman came to collect her prize, a casino worker told her she hadn’t actually won anything and offered her nothing but a complimentary steak dinner and $2.25.

Bookman’s lawyer said she did not accept either the dinner or the $2.25.

At the time, Resorts World spokesman Dan Bank apologized and told CNN that “casino personnel were able to determine that the figure displayed on the penny slot was the result of an obvious malfunction — a fact later confirmed by the New York State Gaming Commission.”

The New York State Gaming Commission also said in August that the machine displayed a disclaimer stating, “Malfunctions void all pays and plays.”

Bookman’s attorney Alan Ripka says he has been fighting for months to get the casino to pony up more cash for Bookman, but to no avail. So, on June 14, he filed a lawsuit.

Ripka also says the casino’s excuses are “ridiculous.”

“You can’t claim a machine is broken because you want it to be broken. Does that mean it wasn’t inspected? Does it mean it wasn’t maintained?,” Ripka told CNNMoney. “And if so, does that mean that people that played there before [Bookman] had zero chance of winning?”

Ripka also said he’s asked Resorts World Casino to explain how the machine malfunctioned, but the company did not offer him anything.

The complaint alleges that Resorts World Casino was “negligent” and did not adequately maintain their lottery equipment. It also posits that Bookman suffered “mental anguish” as a result of the incident and she sustained a “significant” monetary setback because she “lost the chance and/or opportunity to win” on the machine.

The complaint also names video lottery operator Genting New York LLC — which is Resorts World Casino’s parent company — and slot machine maker International Game Technology as defendants.

Ripkin says he plans to seek at least $43 million in damages.

The casino did not immediately respond to CNNMoney’s request for comment regarding the lawsuit.

The suit is similar to an earlier case against an Iowa casino.

The Chicago Tribune reported that a court ruled in favor of Isle Casino Hotel when a penny slot machine indicated that a 90-year-old woman won $41 million. The court ruled that “the game’s rules capped jackpots at $10,000 and didn’t allow bonuses,” according to the newspaper.

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When to avoid, when to book: Summer travel do’s and don’ts

Have you planned all your summer getaways already? We realize it’s already mid-June, but it still feels like a question worth asking, especially considering that travel search engine Kayak has analyzed summer travel dates and pricing trends to let you in on some secrets.

So let’s squeeze one more vacation into your budget, shall we?

Kayak has determined …

The worst date for U.S. travel is Sunday, June 25.

This is the most expensive departure date for domestic travel, probably thanks to people counting on a long break for the Fourth of July, the website Mic reported.

Sundays are the most expensive departure day for travel in the U.S. all summer long, so keep that in mind as well.

Your best deals on domestic travel can be found typically two to four weeks before your intended vacation date, Kayak discovered, adding that domestic airfare is pretty consistent in price throughout the summer months.

The worst date to take off for international travel is Friday, June 30.

Try to book before or wait until July, Kayak said. Friday, June 30 is also the most expensive day for airfare overall, with the median price up by more than $400, due to the Independence Day holiday.

Weekdays are actually the most expensive days for international departures, so save your long trips for weekends, Mic reported.

Oh, and unlike domestic travel, international flights get cheaper the further in advance that you book them, so don’t hesitate when it comes to reserving your airfare ASAP.

One final thing, according to a Kayak blog post: Wait until summer’s end. If you travel in August or September, you’ll start to see prices drop to international destinations. It’s also when the crowds ease up, so that’s an added bonus.

The best day to fly for Fourth of July weekend is Sunday, July 2.

Well, flying ON the actual holiday is known to save you the most money. But if you’re not into that idea, Kayak recommended taking off Sunday, July 2, and returning Wednesday, July 5, for the best deals.

Median airfare for these dates is currently $200.

The cheapest weekend day for July travel is Friday, July 7.

Pack your bags and head out after Independence Day.

Mic said July is the most expensive summer month for travel. So maybe plan a road trip for this month, and book your airfare for August.

The cheapest weekend day for August travel is Friday, August 25.

In August, get ready to hit the road or the skies just before Labor Day for the best deals. Kayak also said booking Labor Day travel as soon as you see a good deal is worth it — because waiting will most likely result in higher prices for procrastinators.

If you can postpone your trip till mid-September, you’ll likely pay less than you would over the summer, not only for airfares but also for hotels.

One more note on Labor Day.

If possible, leave Sunday, Sept. 3, and return Tuesday, Sept. 5. The most expensive day to travel is Thursday, Aug. 31.

Is your summer travel booked already? Let us know in the comments.

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JPMorgan Chase accused of discriminating against fathers

The father of a newborn boy says JPMorgan Chase’s parental-leave policy discriminates against men.

Derek Rotondo, who has worked for the bank in Ohio since 2010, says JPMorgan grants 16 weeks of paid leave for a “primary caregiver” who has a new child, through birth or adoption. The parent considered the “non-primary caregiver” is granted only two weeks of leave, the complaint says.

Rotondo says he asked human resources to classify him as the primary caregiver so he could take the full 16 weeks. He says he was told that bank policy considers the birth mother the primary caregiver, and the father can only get the extended leave if his spouse returns to work early or is medically incapable of caring for the child.

Rotondo’s wife is a teacher who is off for the summer as part of her normal schedule.

“It was like something out of the 1950s,” Rotondo said in a statement. “Just because I’m a father, not a mother, it shouldn’t prevent me from being the primary caregiver for my baby.”

JPMorgan Chase said it was reviewing the complaint and declined to comment further.

Rotondo’s second child was born June 6. The policy granting him two weeks was set last year, according to the complaint. When Rotondo’s first child was born, in 2015, he was granted one week of leave. He told CNNMoney he did not consider filing a complaint at that time.

He said he is not nervous about filing the complaint against his employer this time.

“I’m pretty confident we’re doing the right thing,” he said.

The complaint seeks to be a class action on behalf of all fathers at JPMorgan. It says the bank “has discriminated against me and other fathers” because of its presumption that biological mothers are the primary caregivers.

The complaint was filed Thursday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces employment discrimination laws, and is supported by the ACLU.

Rotondo’s lawyer, Peter Romer-Friedman, said he’s not concerned that the Trump administration’s business-friendly stance will make the EEOC less likely to rule in favor of fathers at JPMorgan Chase.

“The law hasn’t changed. It’s longstanding and established on this issue,” he said.

But many major employers still have unequal leave policies for new mothers and fathers, despite laws requiring equal treatment, said Galen Sherwin, senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.

“It is widespread,” Sherwin told CNNMoney. “Many large and small companies are out of compliance with the law. It’s unclear why employers still haven’t gotten the memo.”

But part of the problem is that many employees are unaware of the law or are scared to file complaint, she said. Rotondo’s is the first known complaint filed at JPMorgan Chase, according to Romer-Friedman.

“Paid parental leave is crucial for both parents, and when corporations like JPMorgan Chase push men to stay at work, they’re effectively pushing women to stay at home,” said Freda Levenson, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio.

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CEOs to Trump: You’re failing

President Donald Trump talked during the campaign about his business skills. Now that he’s in charge, business leaders seem alarmed by his political skills.

A stunning 50% of the CEOs, business execs, government officials and academics surveyed at the annual Yale CEO Summit give Trump an “F” for his first 130 days in office.

The survey, released earlier this week, found that another 21% give Trump’s performance a “D” so far. Just 1% of the 125 leaders polled awarded the billionaire an “A.”

The overarching message from CEOs is: “Stop the random 3 a.m. tweets and stop the needless brushfires diverting from the agenda,” said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, the Yale School of Management professor who led the summit.

Sonnenfeld noted that 80% of those surveyed are CEOs, including Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman and IBM boss Ginni Rometty, who sit on Trump’s advisory council and Merck CEO Ken Frazier, a member of the president’s manufacturing initiative. (Individual responses by each CEO were not released.)

“This was not a granola-eating crowd of Democrat entrepreneurs. It’s a cross-section of the business community, including some who are quite pro-Trump,” he said.

The Yale findings are the latest evidence that some pockets of the business community are growing disenchanted with Trump as his administration struggles to implement its economic agenda amid scandal and missteps.

Earlier this month, Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord sparked an unprecedented revolt by CEOs. Business leaders led by Tesla founder Elon Musk, Disney CEO Bob Iger and JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon publicly bashed the decision. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein even sent his first-ever tweet to slam the move as a “setback” for U.S. leadership in the world.

CEOs surveyed by Yale agree with that sentiment. Two-thirds of respondents indicated that Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord diminished America’s global standing. Another 86% expressed concern about Trump minimizing Russian security mischief.

Business leaders are not impressed with Trump’s budget either. Three-fourths of survey respondents said the administration’s budget proposal is not sound.

Corporate America’s poor marks for Trump have not spread to Wall Street, at least not yet.

Trump’s promises to slash taxes, ramp up infrastructure spending and cut regulation have fired up investors. The Dow has surged roughly 3,000 points since Trump’s election and it hit yet another record on Wednesday.

Yet Trump’s economic agenda has been stalled due to opposition from Democrats and Republican infighting. Wall Street has dialed back its expectations for the size and timing of the tax reform Trump promised.

CEOs don’t think it’s a slam dunk. Just 42% of leaders surveyed by Yale think Trump will pass corporate tax reform.

David Bianco, chief investment strategist at Deutsche Asset Management, warned this week about the impact of the political trouble on stocks soon.

The Trump rally is “vulnerable to summer fatigue and rising anxiety over whether Congress can make pragmatic decisions,” Bianco warned in a report this week. He advised clients to be safe by moving some money from stocks to bonds.

“We think (the rally) has reached its near-term limits,” Bianco wrote.

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Smaller stores and virtual reality: Is this the future of Ikea?

Ikea wants to evolve beyond the big-box.

The Swedish retailer has embarked on a series of retail experiments and technological innovations that it hopes will keep shoppers coming back.

The emphasis on experimentation comes as retailers — especially in the U.S. — come under relentless pressure from e-commerce giants including Amazon.

“We understand that the world is changing and customer expectations are changing and we want to continue being relevant,” said Michael Valdsgaard, the head of digital transformation at Ikea. “We’re trying to do as many things as possible to see what works … it’s like, the more the merrier.”

That’s the thinking behind one of Ikea’s key initiatives: A pilot program, set to launch next year, that will allow the company to sell its furniture via third party websites.

Here’s some other ways Ikea is working to keep pace with changing shopper habits:

Augmented reality

Ikea and Apple are planning an augmented reality app that lets customers “visualize what Ikea products will look like in their own homes, before buying the products.”

The app, scheduled for release in the fall, would let shoppers virtually preview Ikea furniture in 3D in their homes before committing to a purchase.

Valdsgaard said customers will initially be able to preview about 500 to 600 items through the app, and new ranges will be added over time.

Ikea has been encouraging shoppers since February to test a new in-store virtual reality app that lets people explore an Ikea kitchen and cook virtual pancakes.

“Buying a new kitchen is often a big investment and we want our customers to feel confident about their purchase,” said Anders Grafstrom, a member of the Ikea kitchen team. “We believe in virtual reality as one of several tools that will support people in realizing their home furnishing dreams.”

The virtual reality experience is available in four locations.

Mini stores

Ikea is known for operating massive big-box stores in the suburbs.

But it started opening smaller outlets that are closer to city centers in 2015. There are now 44 of the stores — some of which are roughly one-tenth the size of a typical Ikea — in countries including the U.K., Canada, Norway, Italy, Japan and China.

Customers are able to place orders online, and then collect their items from local stores with less hassle.

“For most consumers, the nearest Ikea store is too far away and we are developing the concept to enable more people to reach the Ikea range,” a spokesperson said.

Pop-up shops

Ikea has tested dozens of temporary pop-up stores to promote its bedroom and kitchen ranges.

Ikea’s “Dining Club” pop-up restaurant appeared in London late last year and encouraged visitors to use Ikea products to cook their own meals for friends. Another pop-up shop featuring Ikea bedroom furniture encouraged visitors to come in for breakfast-in-bed treats.

The company denied rumors that it planned to launch standalone Ikea restaurants to sell its popular Swedish meatballs. You’ll have to keep going to the big stores for that experience.

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Sears Canada warns it’s running out of cash, may close

Sears Canada warned Tuesday that it’s running out of cash and could soon go out of business if it doesn’t find a financial lifeline.

The company, which has more than 200 stores and about 17,000 employees, posted a 15% drop in sales in the most recent quarter Tuesday, and a net loss of 144 million Canadian dollars. Sears Canada was spun off as a separate company from its former U.S. parent, Sears Holdings in 2012.

What’s more dire is Sears Canada’s warning about its cash position and its future. In last quarter alone it burned through about 30% of its cash and maxed out its existing credit lines.

“Cash flows from operations are not expected to be sufficient to meet obligations coming due over the next 12 months,” the company warned. It had expected to be able to borrow another C$175 million, but could only secure C$109 million.

“Such conditions raise significant doubt as to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” it said.

In March, Sears Holdings issued a similar warning about there being “substantial doubt” it could stay in business. But that warning, as serious as it was, did not paint the dire picture of a company running out of cash in the near term.

Sears Canada said it is considering a financial restructuring or a sale of the company. It also canceled its annual meeting, which was scheduled for Wednesday.

Sears Canada hasn’t posted an annual profit since 2013. It has been struggling to deal with not the shift to online shopping, as well as problems caused by the strengthening U.S. dollar, which makes most of the goods it sells more expensive for Canadian shoppers.

While Sears Canada is now a separate company, its bad news will hurt Sears Holdings, which owns 12% of its shares. Sears Holdings CEO and principal shareholder Eddie Lampert owns 45% of Sears Canada both personally and through his hedge fund. Shares of Sears Canada plunged 16% in U.S. trading on the warning.

Also on Monday, Sears in the U.S. said it will cut 400 management and support jobs, mostly at the company’s suburban Chicago headquarters, in an effort to cut $1.25 billion in annual costs. It’s also shutting 66 additional stores — 49 under the Kmart brand and 17 Sears. The company already closed 150 stores earlier this year, in addition to 92 Kmart pharmacy operations and 50 Sears Auto locations.

Sears has been closing stores and slashing costs for years, but hasn’t managed to stem the flow of red ink. It lost $2.2 billion in the fiscal year ending in January and has not turned an annual profit since 2010. Its losses since then total $10.4 billion.

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