A New Jersey judge put the lien on the shuttered casino resort for failure to pay the property’s 2015 Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Special Improvement District fees. This comes just four months after Straub refused to make the $20 million PILOT payment on the property for 2016.
Straub has 90 days to settle TEN Casino lien
If Straub does not pay the amount of the lien in the next 90 days, he will incur even more legal fees related to the case. Moreover, this lien is only for unpaid fees from 2015. Straub’s company, Polo North, has not paid for last year’s fees either.
“While the authority would prefer to resolve such claims amicably, Polo North refused to pay its SID Assessment and, ultimately, failed to comply with a court order compelling payment,” Chris Howard, executive director of the authority, told the Press of Atlantic City.
When questioned about his similar failure to paid PILOT fees the casino’s previous owners agreed to pay, Straub cited the casino’s lack of operation as a reason why he was not going to honor the payment.
“We’ve been shut down now for three years. As an abandoned building, we want the value of an abandoned building, not the value of a casino hotel,” Straub explained.
Straub still battling New Jersey over casino license issue
Granted, a large part of the reason Straub’s Atlantic City property remains shut down is because he refuses to get a NJ casino license. Straub is still battling with the city’s Casino Control Commission over the permit issue.
Straub believes as someone leasing casino space, a license is unnecessary. New Jersey disagrees. Straub appealed the decision. While waiting for a decision on the matter, Straub missed two more self-imposed dates to open the property, Feb. 20 and June 15. The most recent botched opening comes exactly one year after promising the property would open in summer 2016.
While the property remains dormant, TEN did launch a social casino online. Other than that, the TEN front is pretty quiet. The business may be stagnant, but the headlines about Straub and the maligned property dominate NJ casino news week in and week out.
What will be interesting to see now is how the lien will affect Straub’s desire to sell. After insisting he was committed to the project, Straub more open to letting it go. Now, he admits if a group offers him the right price, he will consider it.
How much the lien, piling legal fees, and another potential fight over PILOT fees affect what that number will be remains to be seen. Straub’s group acquired the casino over two years ago with very little to show for it. Perhaps it is time for Straub to cut bait.
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