Monday, March 30, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, March 26, 2015, 10:25 AM
Two days after Atlantic City's state-appointed emergency management team released its first report, Moody's credit rating agency gave the city another of its patented thumbs down, warning of a possible default.

And Standard & Poor's said it is reviewing its rating on Atlantic City's bonds, based on the report's holding open the possibility of the city delaying debt service payments.

Moody's pelted the city back in Janaury with a six-step credit downgrade after Gov. Christie appointed Kevin Lavin, a corporate restructuring expert, and Kevyn Orr, the man who steered Detroit through its bankruptcy, to take on Atlantic City's enormous fiscal hole. 

POSTED: Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 2:50 PM

The 60-day report from Atlantic City's emergency management team appointed by Gov. Christie was released Tuesday afternoon. Despite their well-publicizd bankruptcy expertise, Kevin Lavin and Kevyn Orr did not recommend that path for the resort, which lost four casinos and 8,000 jobs during the great meltdown of 2014.

The report warns of a liquidity crisis through 2015. 

POSTED: Thursday, March 12, 2015, 11:45 AM
Revel workers removing a sign from the shuttered casino last fall. This was the second deal to fall apart. (Press of Atlantic City)

  The road to a future of any sort for the troubled former Revel casino remained stubbornly murky Thursday as the thought process and intentions of would-be buyer Glenn Straub came under close, sometimes uncomfortable, scrutiny.

   Straub, a Florida developer, himself was called to the stand and delivered a lengthy, rambling, borderline-coherent explanation of his decision making in the case. He appeared at times near tears, talking of his foundation, his health, his daughter, his projects in Miami, his goals of "helping ... the world."

POSTED: Wednesday, March 4, 2015, 4:30 PM
Izek Shomof. (Amy Rosenberg / Staff)

CAMDEN - U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gloria Burns declined Wednesday to approve - at least for a week - the third attempt to sell Revel, the bankrupt, closed albatross of a casino hotel, this one the second try with Florida developer Glenn Straub, at $82 million.

Burns said the delay would she allow consideration of other offers, notably an 11th hour offer from Los Angeles developer Izek Shomof, who flew into Atlantic City this week to make his own offer of $80 million. 

"Why not give it a little more time,” Burns said to a courtroom of lawyers. "Approving this sale today I think is premature.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 12:36 PM
Los Angeles developer Isek Shomof, who is interested in buying the Revel, in Atlantic City on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. (Amt Rosenberg / Staff)

Last ditch Revel bidder Los Angeles developer Izek Shomof arrived in Atlantic City Tuesday with four developer pals to check out the beleaguered and twice-bankrupt Revel and its power company.

"We are ready to count the money," Shomof quipped from the driver's seat of his rental car, outside the Inlet District Energy Center near Revel, where a table of hardhats awaited their planned tour. "We don't know who to give it to."

He said he had just driven straight from the Philadelphia airport and was still looking to find the attorney for ACR Energy Partners L.L.C., which last week asked the judge in the case to take the sale of the property out of Revel's hands. "We don't know who to give it to."

POSTED: Monday, March 2, 2015, 10:26 AM
Caesars Atlantic City claims Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein is a "rogue occupier" of the PierShops he wants to redevelop. (DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer)

In the brief but already tortuous saga of Caesars v Blatstein and the fight over the Pier Shops, Bart Blatstein has filed to move the case against him to U.S. bankruptcy court in Camden because the Caesars parent company is in bankrutpcy (but in Illinois).

The case - in which Caesars Atlantic City president Kevin Ortzman accused Blatstein of being a rogue occupier of the Pier Shops and went  so far as to ask a judge to halt a planned Blatstein press conference and eject Blatstein - was filed in Atlantic County Superior Court. Blatstein attorneys notified the county court by email late Friday and said they would file a formal notice of removal on Monday.

Blatstein, the noted reviver of Northern Liberties who has a summer home in Margate, wants to inject life into the failing luxury mall with entertainment and other kinds of venues. He paid $2.7 million to assume control over the lease from the Pier's prior operator, but Caesars now says that as owner of the Pier itself, they have the right to approve or disapprove of that transaction.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 24, 2015, 4:49 PM
Pier Shops. (DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer)

More from Bart Blatstein's Atlantic City adventure: On Tuesday, some tenants of the beleaguered PierShops at Caesars came forward to blast Caesars for challenging the Philadelphia developer's right to redevelop the half-empty former luxury mall that juts out over the Atlantic Ocean.

Blatstein, considered the mastermind behind the revival of Northern Liberties, paid $2.7 million to assume the mall's leases and has big plans for the place, but Caesars is now saying they never gave their approval. Caesars is owed more than $1 million in back rents as owner of the land itself, if not the structure on top of it, which cost $200 million to build.

"The place is beautiful and has so much potential," said Jaimie Hannigan, owner of White Lotus, a clothing store at the Pier Shops. She was also a past marketing direcotr with the Lyons Group which opened the Pier in 2006. She Caesars is "not now and never ... truly interested in seeing the Pier Shops prosper."

POSTED: Monday, February 23, 2015, 5:29 PM
The $200 million Pier Shops at Caesars were a big part of efforts to expand Atlantic City's appeal beyond gambling. (DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer)

Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein's heralded entry into Atlantic City has hit an inconvenient snag: Caesars Atlantic City now claims he is a “rogue occupier” of the PierShops he wants to redevelop. 

In an odd series of court filings, Blatstein appears to have become ensnared in a fight with Kevin Ortzman, the president of Caesars Atlantic City, which still owns the actual pier and says Blatstein is trespassing until they say he’s not.

Blatstein paid $2.7 million late last year for the right to assume the lease for the troubled high end mall that juts out over the ocean, which Blatstein says he wants to transform into an entertainment venue modeled after places in Nashville, Austin and Las Vegas.

About this blog

Inquirer staff writer Amy S. Rosenberg has covered Philly police, city neighborhoods, Ed Rendell as mayor, the Jersey shore, Atlantic City, Miss America and the psychology of Eagles fans. She moved to Ventnor on July 3, 1995, which makes her a local, but not really.

Inquirer Staff Writer Jacqueline L. Urgo has spent every summer of her life at the Jersey Shore, and has lived there year-round for nearly 30 years, even fulfilling one of her bucket list dreams by once living in a house by the sea.

Since 1990, she has covered the waterfront for The Inquirer — from the Atlantic to the Delaware Bay shore — and some of the mainland in between. Along the way, she amassed an encyclopedic knowledge of this tear-it-down-and-build-it-back-up region, delving into the history and the hype of a place with a lot of unexpected stories to tell.

Amy S. Rosenberg
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