OCEAN CITY — The transfer of ownership of Gillian’s Island Waterpark on the Boardwalk has been so shrouded in secrecy that even the brother of the owner, the man who runs this island resort, said he doesn’t know the details.
“We’re sort of wondering what’s going on,” Mayor Jay Gillian said Tuesday afternoon. “Jimmy was very tight-lipped about this. He was always a very private person.”
James Gillian was the sole owner of Gillian’s Island Waterpark when the property transferred to AMC Capital LLC earlier this year, Jay Gillian said. Documents recorded Jan. 16 by the Cape May County Clerk’s Office list AMC Capital LLC of Absecon as the new owner, although the only AMC Capital LLC the New Jersey Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services lists is in Linwood.
Eight years ago, Jimmy bought out the interests of his brothers Jay and Steve, although the two brothers continued to hold the mortgage, acting as a bank, Jay Gillian said. The facility opened in 1988 under the ownership of Gillian Brothers Inc., after the three brothers bought the Boardwalk property from their father, Roy, and converted it into a water park and miniature golf course.
“I only asked that the group that’s buying the water park be respectful of Ocean City,” Jay Gillian said, “and do what’s right.”
Although the Gillian name is still in the web address, www.gillianswaterpark.com, the family name is gone from the site, which advertises the property as Adventure Island Waterpark.
The public relations firm handling the announcement of the transfer had not issued a press release by deadline Tuesday, citing the need to have all information confirmed before making it public.
The Ocean City mercantile office would not comment beyond confirming the current mercantile license will expire March 31 and that any new owner of the facility would need to acquire a mercantile license of its own to operate the park in 2014.
The sale of this Gillian property follows the closing last month of another Gillian park, Funland in Sea Isle City. That park sustained significant damage from Sandy in October 2012 and would have required another $1 million to operate fully, Jay Gillian said Tuesday.
“As a businessman, it just didn’t make sense to spend any more money on it,” he said.
Jay Gillian continues to own and operate Gillian’s Wonderland Pier on the Ocean City Boardwalk.
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