Revel is like a great puzzle whose pieces were knocked apart by Hurricane Sandy, the casino’s newly approved interim chief executive officer told the Casino Control Commission on Tuesday in Atlantic City.
“It’s my job to work as part of a team to put the puzzle back together,” Jeffrey Hartmann, 51, told the commission prior to being approved for a temporary casino key employee license.
The Voorhees native is taking the lead at Revel at a time the $2.4 billion megaresort is working to restructure its $1.5 billion debt and reverse its revenue slump by attracting more visitors and getting them to spend more money on gambling and other amenities. Revel is expected to file for bankruptcy on or about Friday.
The granting of the temporary license, which was supported by the Division of Gaming Enforcement, will allow Hartmann to take over the day-to-day operations during the restructuring process from Kevin DeSanctis, who stepped down as chief executive officer effective Tuesday, according to documents filed with the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission.
DeSanctis, and Michael Garrity, who also will resign from Revel, will continue working for the megaresort developing additional amenities, such as a high-limit slot area and players lounge, restaurant, noodle bar and other projects, as well as consulting on a part-time basis, according to an agreement they signed that is on file with the commission.
For their services developing the amenities, the pair will divide $5.4 million, and if they fulfill their consulting obligations, they will receive an additional $1.8 million. They also will receive a year’s worth of medical and life insurance benefits as if they were still employed with the company, according to the documents.
Hartmann, who has been working as a consultant at Revel since January, was formerly the chief executive officer at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut for a year and a half. Before that, he served as the chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority for 15 years and previously worked at Foxwoods.
“It’s about time we get somebody who doesn’t have only Atlantic City experience,” said Alfred Luciani, a gambling and hospitality consultant who formerly served as president of the old Sands casino in Atlantic City. “People get confined mentally with the market they are in.”
Luciani, who previously served as a New Jersey prosecutor and helped draft the state’s first Casino Control Act regulating the industry during the 1970s, knew Hartmann from when Luciani was part of a group of investors who tried to buy the Claridge Casino Hotel in Atlantic City during the 1980s. At the time, Hartmann was working as an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers and conducting audits of Atlantic City casinos.
Hartmann credited Luciani with helping him land his first job inside a casino. Luciani, who following the unsuccessful Claridge bid went to work as chief executive officer of Foxwoods, recruited Hartmann to serve as that casino’s vice president of finance.
“He’s very smart,” Luciani said of Hartmann. “He’s also very dedicated.”
Luciani said Revel will need to improve its marketing strategy in order to draw more visitors.
“I don’t think it’ll ever justify a $2.4 billion (cost) but that doesn’t mean it can’t succeed,” he said.
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