A bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of Atlantic City’s Revel Casino and Hotel to Florida real estate developer Glenn Straub but rejected his argument that the price should be cut to $87 million because the auction process was “tainted by conflicts and the lack of transparency.”
Judge Gloria Burns in Camden, New Jersey, approved the sale to Straub for $95.4 million, a price the buyer said he now doesn’t want to pay, throwing yet another curve ball into the ongoing saga surrounding the sale of the shuttered Atlantic City property.
The $87 million figure can be traced from Straub’s initial $90 million offer, minus the $3 million breakup fee Straub was awarded when Canadian real-estate firm Brookfield Asset Management won the auction process with a $110 million bid. Brookfield eventually walked away from the deal, losing out on an $11 million deposit in the process and clearing the way for Straub to get back into the picture.
John Cunningham, a White & Case attorney who represents Revel, told the court that the Straub’s decision to appeal the ruling that would give him ownership of the casino was a first in the 23 years he’s been practicing bankruptcy.
Straub, through his lawyer, Stuart Moskovitz, maintains that the auction process was not a fair proceeding and that he should be able to pay the lower price. Otherwise, the developer said the casino should go up for another auction where Straub could bid for the casino at an even lower price.
Judge Burns rejected those arguments, saying that she had already considered those objections when Straub first cried foul over the auction process back in October 2014. “The issues that you brought up are pretty much the same issues,” the judge said at the hearing on Monday. “You haven’t shown me any actual conflict.”
Straub has 30 days to close the sale, which means that he’s going to have to come together with other relevant parties to hammer out an agreement before producing a sale order, which Judge Burns must sign before closing the transaction.