- Associated Press - Thursday, March 12, 2015

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - The future of Atlantic City’s former Revel Casino Hotel could be determined - or it could become muddier than ever.

Judge Gloria Burns is due to consider the proposed $82 million sale of the $2.4 billion casino to Florida developer Glenn Straub on Thursday.

But that’s just one of several things she could do.

She also could give owners Revel AC more time to court potential buyers. Two would-be purchasers have expressed interest recently: Los Angeles developer Izek Shomof, and New York private equity investor Jeffrey Keating.

Or she could scrap the whole process and appoint a trustee to liquidate Revel.



Revel closed in September after just over two years of operation during which it never turned a profit.

Here’s a look at some of the many things that could happen Thursday:

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SALE TO STRAUB

The main item on the agenda is the proposed sale of Revel to Straub’s Polo North Country Club for $82 million. It is the third proposed sale of the shuttered casino since last fall. Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management pulled out of a $110 million purchase in November, citing an inability to reach a deal concerning debt from the construction of Revel’s power plant. That left Straub’s $95.4 million backup bid as the next in line. But that deal died when Straub missed a Feb. 9 deadline to close on it. Late last month, Revel and Straub inked a new deal for $82 million - the one that is before Judge Burns. It has a Mar. 31 closing deadline.

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OPENING THE DOOR?

At least two other purchasers have expressed interest in Revel within the past two weeks. Shomof, who is re-doing a Sears building in Los Angeles, is one. This week, Keating told The Associated Press he is putting together a private equity group to make a bid on Revel that would, like Shomof’s proposal, honor the leases of former business tenants at Revel. Opposition from the tenants has been a major source of delay in the sale process. Keating also says he will work with ACR Energy Partners to protect their investment in the project. He would not say how much he is prepared to offer for the property, but said it would far exceed Straub’s bid.

“We want to hire back 6,000 people who lost their jobs, honor the leases of the businesses who worked there, and keep the power plant open,” he told the AP. “We will show proof of funds and proof of capacity. We are in this for the long haul.” He listed amusement rides and a Ferris wheel as potential attractions at the site, which also would retain its casino, and said he has expressed his interest to Revel through its investment advisers.

Stuart Brown, an attorney for ACR Energy, confirmed Keating had contacted the company about a bid for Revel, but declined further comment. Revel officials would not discuss any potential buyer on Wednesday.

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LIQUIDATION

Among the motions Burns will consider is ACR’s request to take the sale out of Revel AC’s hands and appoint a bankruptcy trustee to liquidate the property. That is seen as a possibility because Revel’s main financier, Wells Fargo, has indicated it is not prepared to fund the Chapter 11 case indefinitely.

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IT AIN’T OVER ‘TIL IT’S OVER

Even if the judge approves a sale to Straub on Thursday, Revel’s contract with Straub contains a “fiduciary out,” language permitting it to pursue and accept a better offer if one materializes before the Straub sale closes. So even if the deal is blessed by the court on Thursday, it could still unravel.

Wayne Parry can be reached at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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