Court battle brewing over Revel auction sale

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Bankruptcy attorneys get paid by the hour, and they're likely to earn their money Tuesday when a judge considers whether to approve the sale of the former Revel Casino Hotel for 5 cents on the dollar.

Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management won last week's auction with a $110 million bid for the failed casino, which cost $2.4 billion to build. That's a 95 percent discount.

But the Florida developer who came up short in the auction wants Judge Gloria Burns to invalidate the result and hold a new sale. Glenn Straub filed court papers Monday asking for a new auction, alleging the process was improper and unfair to him.

Tuesday's hearing in Camden is likely to be long and contentious as the two bidders battle it out, and numerous other involved parties pick at Revel's remains.

Straub complained about the Sept. 30-Oct. 1 all-night bidding session, which he said placed him in jeopardy from an undisclosed medical condition because he had not brought his medicine to New York from Florida.

"I got a life or death medical situation," Straub told the attorneys during the middle-of-the night negotiating session early Oct. 1, according to a transcript his lawyer released Monday. "I didn't leave with my pills. I have to take them two days a week. I'm not going to give you my medical history, but it's a life and death situation."

He said he had been trying unsuccessfully to find a pharmacy in Manhattan that would give him the medication in the early hours of the day.

Straub also objected to being told at 3:45 a.m. that any new bid he might make had to be received by 5 a.m. because Brookfield made its bid contingent on being accepted by 6 a.m. He said he could not reach his financial advisers at that hour.

"So we're trying to run with incapacitation, on my part, mentally, because I have a few extra pressures coming in here, to make you people, the creditors and the system, $20 million and you have to do this kind of stuff. Why would you even allow somebody to go ahead and pressure you this way? That is unbelievable because you guys aren't strong enough to stand up to people," Straub said in the transcript.

He was referring to the difference between his initial $90 million "stalking horse" bid and Brookfield's $110 million offer.

A Revel spokeswoman declined to comment Monday. But according to the transcript, Revel attorneys present at the auction said they had the right to change bidding procedures during the auction if it resulted in a better offer for the debtors. They also said they had done nothing wrong during the auction.

Revel closed its doors Sept. 2 after just over two years of operation during which it never made a profit.

Brookfield, which also owns casinos in Las Vegas and the Bahamas, plans to re-open Revel as a casino, but could not estimate when that might occur.

Straub has said he envisioned the property as a so-called "genius academy" where top minds would tackle the world's most pressing problems. He also offered during the auction to hire back 90 percent of the approximately 3,000 employees working at Revel when it shut down.