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NEWS
September 15, 2014 | By Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Staff Writer
ATLANTIC CITY - Inside Boardwalk Hall, Miss Kentucky fiddled. Go ahead, make the joke. Was Ramsey Carpenter and her green fiddle the Boardwalk's version of Nero, fiddling while Atlantic City collapsed? Was the entire Miss America Organization using its collective blinders to soldier on last week, even as thousands of casino workers were losing their jobs and yet another casino went bankrupt before a contestant had even shown one shoe? Never mind. (Contestants who were supposed to stay at the defunct Revel were sent to Borgata.)
NEWS
July 22, 2014 | By Suzette Parmley, Inquirer Staff Writer
ATLANTIC CITY - This resort faces the prospect of having four major vacancies on its famed Boardwalk come mid-September. The grim reality sank in July 14 when Trump Plaza issued layoff notices and targeted Sept. 16 as the date to cease operating as a casino. Perception is reality in tourism, experts say, and the Boardwalk is synonymous with Atlantic City. How will four hulking, empty buildings sit with visitors - especially at night - and will they impede tourism when Atlantic City needs it the most?
BUSINESS
September 12, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Revel AC Inc. said in a bankruptcy court filing Wednesday that it had reached a deal to sell its $2.4 billion Atlantic City property to South Florida developer Glenn Straub for $90 million in cash. The deal was reached Friday, according to the filing. That was less than a week after Revel closed, putting nearly 3,000 people out of work. The offer is less than 4 percent of the casino's original price tag. "It's not going to be just a casino," Straub said. "There's four people that would make excellent casino operators, but that building is much, much more than just a casino.
BUSINESS
September 12, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
WILMINGTON - Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc.'s first day in bankruptcy court went off without a hitch Wednesday. Judge Kevin Gross approved all the standard motions needed for Trump to continue operating as it tries to work out a deal with Carl Icahn, whose affiliates are owed $292 million and have a "noose around the debtors' operations," in the words of a Trump Entertainment lawyer. Of particular importance was the judge's approval of a plan allowing Trump to use its nearly $30 million in cash to fund operations for the next nine weeks, under an agreement with the Icahn entities.
BUSINESS
September 13, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Glenn E. Straub, a South Florida investor, emerged from nowhere this week with his $90 million cash bid for Atlantic City's bankrupt Revel Casino Hotel. But for the last 20 years, Straub, 67, has made it his business to buy distressed properties - including a polo club, massive yachts, and even a high-end development in Port St. Lucie, Fla., that was left for dead by Philadelphia's Lubert-Adler real estate firm. Straub was circumspect about what he would do with the Revel property if his bid turns out to be the winner in an auction scheduled for Sept.
NEWS
September 1, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Atlantic City region is on the brink of a short-term economic disaster. Atlantic City made history 36 years ago when it opened the first legal casinos in the United States outside Las Vegas. Now it's doing so again as casino employment - which for years exceeded the number of city residents - drops precipitously after a decade of steady decline. The closing of three casinos, starting with Showboat and Revel this weekend followed by Trump Plaza two weeks later, and the rapid-fire loss of 5,700 jobs, draw historic comparisons to longer-term collapses of U.S. industries such as steel.
NEWS
September 16, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
ATLANTIC CITY - Vidilia Ormolea stayed true to her favorite casino here to the bitter end, squeezing in a final visit to Trump Plaza on Sunday - despite peeling wallpaper in the hotel rooms and other signs of a years-long decline. The friendly staff kept her coming back, said Ormolea, 67, who lives in Bethlehem, Pa., and said she has been a regular at Trump Plaza since it opened in 1984. It is scheduled to close Tuesday. "They took my money, yes, but I enjoyed myself here," said Ormolea, who was up $147.67 in free slot play shortly after noon.
BUSINESS
September 14, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
ATLANTIC CITY - With a group of meeting planners in tow and a clear blue sky as a backdrop, Caesars Entertainment Inc. executives showed off progress Friday on the company's $125.8 million Harrah's Resort Waterfront Conference Center, which is designed to draw business travelers to a city that is losing four, maybe five, casinos this year. The steel frame of the project, supported by $45 million from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and $24.1 million in tax breaks that can be earned over 20 years, is just weeks away from completion.
BUSINESS
September 6, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Atlantic City's Trump Taj Mahal warned in a recent financial filing that it was in danger of running out of money to pay its bills and make debt payments. Trump Taj Mahal Associates L.L.C., the entity that owns the casino - the world's biggest and most lucrative casino when it opened in 1990 - said it needed to borrow more money or restructure its business. The casino could not guarantee it would be successful, said the filing, which was published Aug. 22. According to New Jersey regulators, the casino employs 2,825.
BUSINESS
September 11, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
The purge of Atlantic City's weakest casinos continued Tuesday, as Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. filed for bankruptcy in Delaware, a week before it plans to shut down Trump Plaza. The company also said it expects to pull the plug on Taj Mahal in November if it fails to get concessions from the casino's unionized workers. The Taj Mahal, which employs 2,963, would be the fifth Atlantic City casino to close this year. Despite the threat of closure, Bob McDevitt, president of Unite Here Local 54, said there was little the union could do to help bail out Trump Taj Mahal.
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NEWS
September 16, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge "reluctantly" approved Monday a Sept. 24 auction date for the shuttered Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. Judge Gloria M. Burns, who preferred to delay the auction until the following week, also approved a $3 million breakup fee for Glenn Straub, a Florida investor who has bid $90 million for the $2.4 billion Boardwalk property. "I'm not sure that extending the timing will make all that much difference" in attracting additional bidders for Revel, said Burns, who was more concerned with the auction being held on a day when the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah starts at sundown.
NEWS
September 16, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
ATLANTIC CITY - Vidilia Ormolea stayed true to her favorite casino here to the bitter end, squeezing in a final visit to Trump Plaza on Sunday - despite peeling wallpaper in the hotel rooms and other signs of a years-long decline. The friendly staff kept her coming back, said Ormolea, 67, who lives in Bethlehem, Pa., and said she has been a regular at Trump Plaza since it opened in 1984. It is scheduled to close Tuesday. "They took my money, yes, but I enjoyed myself here," said Ormolea, who was up $147.67 in free slot play shortly after noon.
NEWS
September 16, 2014 | By Julia Terruso, Inquirer Staff Writer
The trial opened today in the case of Ronald Galati, a South Philadelphia auto shop owner and alleged mob hanger-on charged with orchestrating a hit on his daughter's boyfriend. Galati, 64, faces 15 years in prison if convicted of the attempted murder and conspiracy charges in U.S. District Court in Camden. Andrew Tuono was shot three times in Atlantic City in November, 2013, as his then-girlfriend, Tiffany Galati, stood by his side, but survived the attack. In his opening remarks, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Richardson called it a "simple case.
BUSINESS
September 16, 2014 | By Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Staff Writer
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - The epic swoon of Atlantic City continued Tuesday as Trump Plaza was put out of its stained-carpet, squeaky-revolving-door, no-room-service-center-of-the-Boardwalk misery as its dedicated hospice workers dealt a final hand of blackjack. "Sit down and play a hand, you won't get another chance," said Shelly Orloff, an IBM Mainframe system programmer from Bergen County, around 3 a.m. Gambling operations were stopped at 5:59 a.m., the official end of the gaming day by state regulation.
NEWS
September 15, 2014 | By Andrew Seidman and Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON - New Jersey lawmakers are returning to the Statehouse from summer break facing a withering indictment of the state's finances: two credit downgrades from Wall Street ratings agencies criticizing poor long-term fiscal planning. The immediate effect, an increase in the cost of borrowing, may not be too burdensome given the current low interest rates. But the downgrades by Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings, the seventh and eighth on Gov. Christie's watch, magnify the state's systemic fiscal problems.
NEWS
September 15, 2014 | By Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Staff Writer
EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP, N.J. - Walfa Caceres was the first of the sisters to make the journey to Atlantic City. It was 1992 and she was 26. New York City, where they had moved to join their father, Toribio Caceres, a former police officer at the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic who now owned a fried-chicken restaurant on 168th Street, had never really suited the Caceres siblings. "Too loud," said Fanny Caceres, five years younger than Walfa. "Too busy. " But in Atlantic City, something clicked for Walfa - particularly when she saw the line of customers stretching for the new French Quarter buffet at Showboat, willing to wait two hours to get inside.
NEWS
September 15, 2014 | By Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Staff Writer
ATLANTIC CITY - Inside Boardwalk Hall, Miss Kentucky fiddled. Go ahead, make the joke. Was Ramsey Carpenter and her green fiddle the Boardwalk's version of Nero, fiddling while Atlantic City collapsed? Was the entire Miss America Organization using its collective blinders to soldier on last week, even as thousands of casino workers were losing their jobs and yet another casino went bankrupt before a contestant had even shown one shoe? Never mind. (Contestants who were supposed to stay at the defunct Revel were sent to Borgata.)
NEWS
September 15, 2014 | By Jacqueline L. Urgo, Inquirer Staff Writer
ATLANTIC CITY - Yeah, baby, as always, it was all about the shoes. Despite persistent spitting rain that began 90 minutes before the Miss America Show Us Your Shoes Parade was to begin, the crowds still crowded the Boardwalk - beneath plastic ponchos and umbrellas - Saturday to glimpse this year's 53 Miss America contestants and cadre of performers including marching bands, twirlers, dance troupes, and even the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders....
BUSINESS
September 14, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
ATLANTIC CITY - With a group of meeting planners in tow and a clear blue sky as a backdrop, Caesars Entertainment Inc. executives showed off progress Friday on the company's $125.8 million Harrah's Resort Waterfront Conference Center, which is designed to draw business travelers to a city that is losing four, maybe five, casinos this year. The steel frame of the project, supported by $45 million from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and $24.1 million in tax breaks that can be earned over 20 years, is just weeks away from completion.
BUSINESS
September 13, 2014 | By Harold Brubaker, Inquirer Staff Writer
Glenn E. Straub, a South Florida investor, emerged from nowhere this week with his $90 million cash bid for Atlantic City's bankrupt Revel Casino Hotel. But for the last 20 years, Straub, 67, has made it his business to buy distressed properties - including a polo club, massive yachts, and even a high-end development in Port St. Lucie, Fla., that was left for dead by Philadelphia's Lubert-Adler real estate firm. Straub was circumspect about what he would do with the Revel property if his bid turns out to be the winner in an auction scheduled for Sept.
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