ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Now, it seems, even the birds are against Revel.
The owner of Atlantic City's former Revel casino blames giant seagulls for smashing windows in the vacant gambling hall.
Glenn Straub said on Friday that "the biggest seagulls I've ever seen" routinely smash into the glass-covered exterior of the building, which has been vacant for nearly a year.
On Friday, three exterior windows at the former casino, which cost $2.4 billion to build, were missing. Straub said the $36,000 process of replacing them will begin soon.
"You folks have got some giant seagulls here — some of them look like they're 60 pounds," he said. "We find feathers and everything else underneath the windows, not to mention crabs that they drop from way up to smash them open and then eat."
Revel shut down on Sept. 2, and since then the seemingly endless litigation between Straub and ACR Energy, its sole energy supplier, has hurt both sides.
A bank asserts in a recent court filing that the power plant has defaulted on its loans and may not survive. In a July 20 court filing referenced by a federal judge on Thursday, Julie Morrone, a principal of a management company writing on behalf of Bank of New York Mellon, told the court ACR is running out of money, has defaulted on its loans and is in danger of failing because it can't recoup its true costs from Straub under a court-sanctioned interim price agreement.
"In short," she wrote, "ACR is in extreme financial distress."
ACR was the sole supplier of power to Revel under its previous owner, Revel Entertainment. But Straub refused to assume the previous owner's contract because he is unwilling to help pay off debt from construction of the company's costly power plant.
Since then the two sides have been fighting over how much Straub should have to pay ACR for energy the state has mandated the company provide to keep fire safety systems powered.
ACR lawyer Timothy Lowry declined to comment on the company's finances but said it is dismayed that windows have been left unrepaired for weeks.
"Our concern obviously is the lack of air conditioning and the unequal pressure resulting from the unconditioned space," he said. "The disparity in atmospheric pressure can actually cause windows to pop out and rain down, and the last thing we need is another Plywood Palace," referring to construction of Boston's John Hancock Building, where 133 windows popped out in high winds and shattered on the streets below in the early 1970s.
Straub insists he'll install his own heating equipment by November, and he says he has plans for solar energy atop the building's parking garage. The Florida developer pledged to work through the fall and winter on an indoor water park at Revel, but he is still unsure if he will seek to offer casino gambling when or if the complex reopens.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC