Driveway rent, unpaid taxes being fought over at closed Atlantic City casinos

Government And Institutions Associated Press

Some of the hottest action in Atlantic City involves closed casinos in bankruptcy court, where Donald Trump is trying to recoup rent he paid on a driveway leading to the former Trump Plaza casino, and Revel is fighting an effort by the city to collect $32 million in unpaid taxes.

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Both developments came in court filings late Monday.

In the Trump matter, the real estate mogul is pressing a claim against part of a company he once ran, seeking to get back more than $147,000 in rent he paid to the landlord of the driveway leading to the former Trump Plaza casino, which closed on Sept. 16.

Despite maintaining that a division of Trump Entertainment Resorts — the company he once ran but no longer has anything to do with aside from a 10 percent ownership stake — actually owes the money, Trump paid the debt to the landlord, and is now seeking to get it back from Trump Entertainment. In the court filing and in a letter to the landlord, R&R Associates, Trump said he was paying the rent "in order to avoid litigation for the moment." A copy of the check was included with the filing.

Trump says he "is entitled to be reimbursed by the debtor," Trump Entertainment.

The company had no immediate comment on Trump's claim.

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It is only part of the legal battles between the onetime casino king and the company he once ruled. Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, are suing Trump Entertainment, trying to force the company to remove the Trump name from the Plaza building as well as the still-operating Taj Mahal Casino Resort, which is scheduled to close Dec. 12. The Trumps claim the properties were allowed to fall into disrepair and violate a quality agreement, thus harming the Trumps' personal brand.

Trump Entertainment has removed the Trump name from most — but not all — of the Plaza, and has thus far refused to strip it from the Taj Mahal, its lone remaining casino.

Also on Monday, the former Revel Casino Hotel moved to block Atlantic City from collecting $32 million in unpaid property taxes. The owners of the former Atlantic City casino, which closed on Sept. 2, filed an appeal of a bankruptcy court order letting Atlantic City hold a tax sale of the unpaid debt.

That is a legal maneuver in which an investor in effect buys a lien against the property and pays the taxes due on it. The investor gets paid when the property owner pays off the tax debt; if that doesn't happen, the investor can foreclose in two years.

Complicating things is the fact that a deal to sell the property to a Canadian firm for $110 million fell apart last week. Proceeds from that sale were expected to be used to pay off the back taxes. Now that the sale is off, however, a tax sale appears to be the only way Atlantic City can recoup those taxes, which account for about 18 percent of the city's budget this year.

Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC