When Florida developer Glenn Straub and his Polo North Country Club acquired the former $2.4 billion Revel casino in Atlantic City for just $82 million, he had ambitious plans for the property but could not foresee the amount of legal issues he would have to deal with just to get the new property up and running.
Straub announced in September 2016 that he planned to rebrand the property to TEN, which would signify the highest level in quality and service and open out a new casino resort in the spring of 2017. Those plans could once again be delayed due to a disagreement with New Jersey officials. The New Jersey Casino Control Commission (CCC) wants Straub to apply for a casino license but the Florida developer does not want to go down this route claiming that he is only a landlord who is renting out the property to different vendors and does not need to apply for a casino license.
Straub has decided to file a civil action known as a Complaint in Lieu of Preregoative Writs. Specifically, the suit seeks an order mandatorily enjoining and restraining, and otherwise compelling the CCC to consider and act upon the petition the Plaintiffs submitted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 5:12-83(c) and other relief the court deems just and equitable.
Behind the action lies an August 30, 2016 action by Straub’s company that sought a waiver of certain licensing requirements. Plaintiffs claim that the CCC refused to consider the application as payment to the DGE on October 19, 2016 of $78,397.38 for investigative services included a cover letter and a special endorsement on the check reserving Plaintiff’s right to contest the amount of the bill and requested a detailed accounting of fees and costs for the investigative services.
This cover letter and special endorsement were intended to prevent a defense of “volunteer rule” from arising if issues were to arise from the billing of the DGE for investigative services.
Straub’s counsel contends that the DGE’s investigation has been completed and submitted to the CCC.
Straub’s companies, 500 Broadway, LLC, Polo North Country Club, Inc., and Straub himself only intend to lease casino/hotel property to Revel North Beach, LLC who would operate those portions of the property.
The TEN resort will have a 130,000 square foot gaming floor that will feature 120 gaming tables and 2,500 slot machines. There will also be 3 nightclubs, 2 theatres, 1 day club, 1 comedy club, 13 restaurants and a spa.
Straub has faced a number of different lawsuits in the recent past and has also complained about the amount of red tape that New Jersey officials have imposed on him. He threatened to abandon the project earlier this year and walk away stating that he was highly frustrated with the way New Jersey officials were going about their business.
Atlantic City now has only 7 operational casinos as 5 casinos have shut down since 2014, which has significantly impacted the combined gross gaming revenue of the casino industry and in turn has hurt Atlantic City’s economy. The re-opening of the TEN casino resort at the earliest will help boost the casino industry.
In a statement, Straub’s legal representative David Stefankiewicz said “Mr. Straub has spent a lot of time, effort and money in trying to make Atlantic City great again. He remains ready, willing and able to open the casino. Instead of creating roadblock after roadblock, the agency should be doing everything in its power to facilitate getting this casino opened. Doing business here should not be this hard. The CCC is putting Straub and his company through unnecessary red tape and delay. This is both puzzling and disappointing considering that the future of Atlantic City is hanging by a thread and thousands of people are out of work.”
Although Straub has filed the lawsuit, reports indicate that he is still proceeding with the casino license application process in case the court doesn’t rule in his favor.
This article has been updated to further define Straub’s position and to clarify the relief Plaintiffs are seeking.