Golden Nugget

Danny Drake

A South Jersey company is threatening to sell off furniture and other items it is holding in storage for Golden Nugget Atlantic City unless the casino pays it more than $200,000.

Atlantic Coast Moving & Storage Inc. has given Golden Nugget until Oct. 30 to pay it $210,409 or else the company will hold a public auction next month at its Egg Harbor Township warehouse.

“We’re going to auction unless we are paid in full,” Jack Kelly, Atlantic Coast’s president, said in an interview Monday.

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Kelly wrote to Golden Nugget officials earlier this month to demand payment, insisting that the casino has fallen months behind on storage costs for such things as furniture, equipment, fixtures, carpeting, luggage, refrigerators and toaster ovens.

All of those items will be auctioned off Nov. 17 to satisfy a lien that Atlantic Coast has filed against Golden Nugget, Kelly said. He added that Golden Nugget would be responsible for any shortfalls if the auction does not cover the entire amount sought by Atlantic Coast.

Jeff Cantwell, senior vice president of development for Golden Nugget’s parent corporation, Landry’s Inc., said the company is working with Atlantic Coast to resolve the dispute.

“He’s using this as a club or lever to try to intimidate us,” Cantwell said of Kelly’s auction threat.

Cantwell said his company sent Atlantic Coast a $35,000 check last week as partial payment, although Kelly said the amount was $25,000.

“We’re working through a resolution,” Cantwell said. “We’re going to get him taken care of. He’s not going to need to have a warehouse auction.”

Even if Atlantic Coast holds the auction, it would involve only mattresses and other “insignificant” items” that Golden Nugget does not necessarily need, Cantwell said. He estimated the items would probably fetch just pennies on the dollar.

The Atlantic Coast billing dispute is the latest development in a public feud Golden Nugget has been having with contractors that helped build the casino’s $150 million renovation project. Contractors allege Golden Nugget has been slow to pay them for their work, in some cases keeping them waiting for months.

Kelly said Landry’s has been offering contractors only 60 or 70 cents on the dollar in hopes of settling the bills. However, Cantwell said that a project of this size can typically result in change orders and potential disputes between owners, developers, general contractors and subcontractors.

Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta bought the former Trump Marina Hotel Casino last year for $38 million and immediately rebranded the casino as the Golden Nugget, using the sweeping renovation to transform the property into a glitzier attraction. Golden Nugget celebrated completion of the project in April.

In the past three months, at least 14 contractors have filed construction liens claiming that Golden Nugget owes them more than $12 million, according to a Press review. Cantwell said Landry’s paid $1.4 million toward those claims last week, resulting in some of the contractors dropping their liens. He said Golden Nugget continues to clear up the bills.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the casino industry’s chief regulatory agency, said earlier this month that it has been looking into the matter. The division declined further comment, citing pending litigation between Golden Nugget and some contractors over the disputed bills.

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