ATLANTIC CITY - The New Jersey Casino Control Commission reached a rare point of agreement with Glenn Straub on Wednesday, agreeing to keep gaming enforcement investigative reports on him and his company secret while they determine if he needs a license at all.
Straub, the owner of the former Revel Casino Hotel, is continuing to fight with state authorities as to whether he is required to get a casino license because he plans to lease gaming operations to a third party.
He said Wednesday he wants to open Revel, now branded as TEN, on Feb. 20, with or without a casino license. He said he hopes the issue of whether he needs one as a landlord will be resolved by then.
"I'm just the mall owner," he said. He said the casino was akin to a Macy's and that as the landlord, he should not be subject to casino licensing.
A hearing on the petition challenging the need for a license was supposed to be conducted Wednesday, but Straub's attorneys filed an amendment to his lease at 8:53 a.m., which Casino Control Commission chair Matthew Levinson said forced the commission to delay the legal question.
Instead, they considered the question of what evidence would be submitted. The Division of Gaming Enforcement wanted all their reports on the application of Straub's company, 500 Broadway, and its chief officers considered.
The commission said they could consider the licensing question without considering the actual reports on qualifications and finances. Those reports would be considered if the Commission denies Straub's petition and the matter moves to an actual casino licensing.
Outside, during a break, Straub had harsh words for state regulators, and the city's business climate in general, and said bureaucratic wrangling was bollixing up the works.
"The red tape in this state is so abusive," Straub said. "Who would ever invest here?"
Earlier Wednesday morning, before the hearing of the Casino Control Commission, Glenn Straub clarified two things.
1. That was, in fact, him standing behind Fabio on New Year's Eve at the Mar-a-Lago party thrown by President-elect Donald Trump.
2. He is prepared to open the former Revel casino, now re-branded as TEN, on Feb. 20, with or without a casino license.
"It's ready to go," said Straub, owner of the former casino. He spoke of restaurants, hotel rooms, showrooms, and, eventually, racquetball and tennis. But at this point, no gaming.
Levinson issued the commission's ruling concerning exhibits after the commission went into executive session.
He said he is "frustrated" at Straub's portrayal of the commission as causing the delay of his opening the $2 billion property, which has been closed since 2014. Straub bought Revel out of bankruptcy for $82 million.
"I can assure you, if there are any future delays in this matter, it won't be our doing."
Mary Jo Flaherty, deputy director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement, called the late filing of changes to the lease "disrespectful" and "meant to surprise, confuse and distract the proceeding."
But Straub attorney Lloyd Levenson (no relation to chair Matthew Levinson, who is the son of Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson) said there was no attempt to confuse the proceedings and that the amendment was less than one page and addressed two issues raised by the division, including the parking garage.
He said Straub was out of town and did not have access to technology that would have allowed him to sign the amendments.