Monday, August 31, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, January 29, 2015, 11:30 AM
The sale of the bankrupt Revel Casino Hotel to Brookfield Asset Management for $110 million fell through Wednesday. A New York meeting Monday will try to save the deal. (STEPHANIE AARONSON /

A lot of names and possibilities were thrown out at the Casino Commission Control hearing Thursday at which Hard Rock International of Florida, a company owned by the Seminole Indians, took steps to fast track a state gaming license. CEO Jim Allen, who grew up in the area and worked at local casinos, says the company had submitted a bid in January for Revel and, more recently, had held "unofficial conversations" with Glenn Straub, the maverick businessman set to assume control of Revel, the closed $2.5 billion casino resort he purchased on a $95 million bid.

"It's certainly very intriguing just from an economic standpoint of a $2 1/2 billion building being purchased for $94 million," Allen said after the hearing of the Revel possibilities. He also said the company was interested "100 percent" in any opportunities that would arise in North Jersey if the state ultimately allowed that. That would not preclude an Atlantic City involvement, he said. Hard Rock holds the rights to any eventual gaming at Meadowlands Race Track.

The Control Commission unanimously granted the company a "Certificate of Compliance" that would fast track a casino license should the company apply for one. It does not currently own property in Atlantic City. "We've certainly been watching, like a lot of operators," Allen added of Revel.

POSTED: Monday, January 12, 2015, 9:50 AM

ATLANTIC CITY - The new method of casino taxation under consideration by state legislators could have an unintended casualty: the highly regarded Atlantic City Free Public Library.

State legislators acknowledged Thursday that the Atlantic City recovery bills, as currently written, would leave the library in the lurch for much of its current $5 million budget. Library director Maureen Sherr-Frank said Thursday that it would remove 70 percent of the funding.

POSTED: Monday, January 5, 2015, 10:47 AM

 The DoAC group itself may soon be done, but Liza Cartmell, president of the Atlantic City Alliance marketing group, said Monday morning she was leaving her $400,000 post, ahead of legislation being considered to divert its funding. 

"As you all so painfully know, Atlantic City is in a time of transition and all its major insitutions are proactivly adapting to a new reality," Cartmell wrote in an email this morning addressed "To my AC friends."

POSTED: Tuesday, December 23, 2014, 9:48 AM
The sale of the bankrupt Revel Casino Hotel to Brookfield Asset Management for $110 million fell through Wednesday. A New York meeting Monday will try to save the deal. (STEPHANIE AARONSON /

    The failed Revel casino has yet to execute a sale of the property. But its outstanding tax bill at least will be bought, at Revel's typical deep discount. The $32.5 million tax lien against the shuttered Revel casino that failed to sell at a city tax sale this month will be bought by Wells Fargo in a settlement for $26 million, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said Monday.

     In addition, Guardian said, the anonymous buyer of the $22 million tax lien against Trump Entertainment Resorts at the Dec. 11 sale has paid the cash-starved city. The city had put up for sale about $59 million in tax liens, which give the purchaser the right to foreclose in two years if property owners do not reimburse them for the paid tax bill. Wells Fargo is the chief lender to Revel and is bankrolling the bankrupt casino as it tries to execute a sale. It had made offers to the city prior to the Dec. 11 tax sale that were turned down.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 11:51 AM
Charlie Birnbaum stands in the living room of his parents home at 311 Oriental Avenue in Atlantic City. New Jersey’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) is trying to use eminent domain to seize the property as part of a “mixed-use development” project to “complement” the recently bankrupt Revel Casino. (RON TARVER / Staff Photographer)

Charlie Birnbaum, the piano tuner who is fighting to keep his family home in Atlantic City from being seized by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, delivered a petition with 100K signatures to Gov. Christie on Wednesday. Plus, his lawyers are now arguing that Christie's plans for Atlantic City make the CRDA's efforts to seize his home even more questionable. 

The petition, which has been gathering signatures on, includes 7,000 signatures from New Jersey and signatures from as far aaway as Chile, Greece, Russia, South Africa and India, according to a press release from Birnbaum's attorneys with Virginia-based Institute for Justice, which has long fought against Eminent Domain. 

"I wish the New Jersey state government would open its eyes to this injustice," Birnbaum said in a statement. "Something like this should never happen anywhere, but especially not here in America."

POSTED: Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 10:55 AM

News from Duneboggle land, in which the City of Margate has filed suit to halt the state of New Jersey and the U.S. Army Corps from initiating a beach replenishment project that will involve building dunes on Margate's flat beaches:

U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb has extended her order barring the state from awarding a contract for a $74 million beach replenishment project after bidders agreed to extend their bids until Jan. 26. The bids for the contract, which will be awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, had been set to expire this month. The state Department of Environmental Protection, in its rush to meet that deadline, had seized Margate's public easements by filing an administrative order with the County  _ a process Judge Bumb rejected during a hearing this month. She advised the state to inititate eminent domain proceedings that would allow Margate to formally object.

POSTED: Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 4:08 PM

There has been much speculation about the fate of Channel 40, the station that broadcasts out of Linwood and reaches the Jersey Shore and home to beloved local heroes weatherman Dan Skeldon and sports guy Pete Thompson.  Dropped by NBC as an affiliate, and owned by California-based LocusPoint Networks, which wants the station solely for an FCC bandwidth auction, the station's fate has been as shaky as, well, the Revel.

Station General Manager Roger Powe organized a "Friends of 40" effort but declined to discuss the fate of the station. LocusPoint did not return phone calls. But Tuesday afternoon, the station posted a statement saying that while their management company, Access 1 will not be operating the WMGM-TV channel (4 on Comcast), the company has "taken steps to continue and expand our news product on a new broadcast channel. In the meantime, looks like the newscasts and local content will end on Channel 40 Dec. 31. 

POSTED: Thursday, December 4, 2014, 12:21 PM
Margate is challenging Gov. Christie's post-Sandy plan to build one long dune. TOM GRALISH / File Photograph

The beach town of Margate and its Philadelphia law team has scored a victory in federal court against Gov. Christie's plan to build one big dune along the state's coast. U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb told the state Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday that its reliance on an administative order to seize municipal easements was "misplaced."

She extended a Temporary Restraining Order that bars the state from awarding a contract for the beach protection project until Dec. 17 and urged the state in the meantime to institute legal proceedings to condemn Margate's land in state court. The state had argued that any delay jeopardizes the entire project.

Assistant Attorney General David C. Apy told the judge the state could only do that if bidders for the project agree to extend a deadline for the process, now set to expire on Dec. 31. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Taylor told the judge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which will build the dune, is not ready to give up on this "quick take" method of seizing land. That issue will be further briefed in federal court.

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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