ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — A filing made Tuesday by the new owner of Atlantic City's former Revel casino raises fears of fatal plane crashes, catastrophic fires, massive unemployment and worldwide disgrace if he is forced to buy energy from the building's former utility supplier.
Glenn Straub is batting back an effort by ACR Energy Partners to force him to only buy energy from them. ACR cut off service to the building on April 9, two days after Straub bought it. A temporary two-week deal for ACR to provide power to Revel could expire Wednesday if it is not renewed or replaced.
Nothing has come easily for Revel; three top executives were killed in a plane crash and a fourth was fatally struck by lightning before it opened; the project ran out of money halfway through; and the casino went bankrupt twice and finally closed Sept. 2.
Straub's lawyer calls ACR "squatters" on his property. Stuart Moskovitz says Straub's Polo North Country Club will go bankrupt if it is forced to use ACR as its energy supplier, just as Revel did.
ACR says it has $40 million worth of equipment inside Revel and needs assurances it will be paid for providing service and paying down the debt from construction of its power plant. It got a preliminary court order this year forbidding Straub from connecting to any other energy source.
Moskovitz wrote that the temporary restraining order forced Straub to keep the building closed "to avoid a serious potential for fire that could consume the entire north end of the Boardwalk and surrounding houses." He was forced to agree to a temporary power deal to keep the warning light atop the 47-story building lit "to avoid a serious aircraft calamity."
"If a single airplane strikes the building because the warning light is not powered, people will lose their lives," Moskovitz wrote. "If firefighters cannot fight fires in this high-rise building without power, without elevators, the damage is incalculable, possibly resulting in the loss of life of either security personnel or the firefighters themselves."
On a day when the mercury neared 90 degrees in Atlantic City, Moskovitz also said each day without climate control could be damaging furniture and fixtures inside the building, which cost $2.4 billion to build and which Straub bought out of bankruptcy court for $82 million.
"It is filled with hotel rooms that have been decorated with wallpaper that is currently experiencing sea air and 80-90-degree weather," he wrote. "There is furniture in there, carpeting and untold other elements that are vulnerable to heat, humidity, and as winter approaches, frozen pipes."
Finally, Moskovitz said ACR is allowing Revel to remain "a world-renowned blight further damning Atlantic City towards a path of urban decay. The closing of four and possibly five of the 12 casinos has started Atlantic City on a downward spiral from a perch that, frankly, wasn't very high to begin with. The building cannot be opened without utilities. The building cannot stay open if the owner is forced to pay the unreasonable rates for utilities that helped force Revel into bankruptcy."
A hearing is set for May 26.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC