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ACH, the former Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort

Michael Ein

ATLANTIC CITY — ACH laid off nearly 150 workers from the casino formerly known as the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort on Thursday, 24 hours after state gaming regulators approved an agreement to prevent foreclosure on the property

ACH executives stated they would cut the property’s 2,000-person staff upon reaching an agreement approved Wednesday by the state Casino Control Commission. The strategy entails a $24.3 million cash infusion from ACH parent company Colony Capital LLC, which started missing mortgage payments in July 2009 and failed in subsequent attempts to find a buyer for what is consistently the weakest-performing property in the resort. Industry experts had predicted the property, which also faces a $25 million pension liability, would not be saved. In exchange for terms keeping ACH open through through Oct. 31, 2012, Colony agreed to let lenders foreclose on its Bally’s Tunica and Resorts Tunica casinos in Mississippi.

The layoffs effective Thursday in Atlantic City affect departments propertywide, ACH spokeswoman Tina Belluscio said.

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Belluscio declined to provide further details, and ACH executives did not return calls for comment Thursday.

But Lisa Spengler, spokeswoman for the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, said Thursday that security and surveillance staff at ACH will be spared.

Local 54 of UNITE-HERE on Thursday said no union members — bartenders, servers, cooks, housekeepers, and other service workers — at ACH were part of the layoffs. Negotiators had worked past dawn earlier in the morning to reach an agreement for their 1,800 members employed at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, who will vote Friday on the three-year contract.

Ratification of the Trump agreements would put Local 54 more than halfway through renegotiations of contracts that expired Sept. 15 at 10 of 11 resort casinos. ACH has not reached the final stages of negotiation.

The property had used the Hilton name since 1996, despite the hotel chain selling it to Colony Capital in 2004. Hilton Resorts confirmed June 30 that it would no longer lend its name to the property at Boston Avenue and the Boardwalk.

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