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article imageAtlantic City's shuttered Revel casino faces new power hurdle

By Nathan Salant     Oct 31, 2015 in Entertainment
Atlantic City - The new owner of the shuttered $2.4 billion Revel Casino-Hotel in Atlantic City says he won't pay more than $1 million in overdue power bills because the utility company will not account for the electricity usage.
But ACR Energy Partners, the power company formed to serve the now-closed 1,800-room resort that has been ordered to supply electricity to keep safety equipment operating during the shutdown, wants a New Jersey judge to order the bill paid before Revel is allowed to reopen.
But such a reopening is likely a long way off, even if the back electricity bill dispute is resolved, because the casino-hotel is immersed in disputes over whether and what companies own what portions of its facility, whether and at what rates municipal bonds that helped finance construction have to be repaid and whether previous leaseholders inside the facility have continuing property rights.
Florida developer Glenn Straub, who bought Revel for $82 million at a bankruptcy court auction in 2014, has pledged to reopen the facility, the tallest building in Atlantic City and second tallest in New Jersey, but not necessarily as a casino-hotel.
Revel closed in September 2014 after two years of losses following a splashy grand opening featuring hugely popular singer Beyonce Knowles, according to the Associated Press.
The darkened tower that dominates the northern end of the city's famous boardwalk is now considered a safety hazard for airplanes.
One of Revel's financiers, Bank of New York Mellon, wants Straub to be required to obtain a $2 million line of credit to ensure he doesn't fall behind on utility payments again and has threatened to foreclose on the power plant if he is unable to.
The bank now says Straub has stopped paying into a fund that was set up to ensure limited electric service to Revel.
"Any other vendor faced with this substantial misappropriation would cut off supply," said the bank's attorney, Guy Amoresano of Newark, N.J., in a court filing.
"ACR is not free to do so because it currently supplies the electricity under involuntary government compulsion," he said.
But Straub's attorney, Stuart Moskovitz of Freehold, N.J., said the bill will be paid when ACR shows how much power was used by Revel itself and not by ACR-owned equipment inside the building.
"It appears at this point, and it is difficult to get answers from ACR, that they are using electricity to power their (central utility plant) and to power transformers we are not using, and trying to bill us for it," Moscovitz said last spring.
"We are only supposed to be paying for electricity we use," he said.
New uses for Revel proposed by Straub include a medical spa, an equestrian facility and a "genius" academy for the world's top minds to meet and discuss international problems.
Top performers who appeared at the casino included Rihanna, Maroon 5 and The Eagles.
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