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Kevin Ortzman, president of Caesars and Bally's Atlantic City, has accused Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein and his company, Tower Investments LLC, of operating “illegally as trespassers” on the Pier Shops property, according to a document filed in Atlantic County Superior Court and obtained by the Press late Friday.

In the document, Ortzman writes that Blatstein and Tower Investments have “no right to occupy, or assert dominion or control over the Property,” part of an apparent legal dispute that has thrown Blatstein’s control of the Pier into question.

Representatives for Caesars and Tower Investments did not immediately return calls for comment Friday. Blatstein had scheduled a press conference at the Pier next Tuesday to announce his plans for the property. That event was canceled Friday afternoon.

The court filing traces control of the Pier’s lease from Caesars to a second company, Pier Developers, Inc., and eventually to a third, Delaware-based entity. Ortzman accuses Blatstein of having taken over the Pier’s lease from that third company illegally and without Caesars’ consent. He also says Blatstein and Tower Investments have failed to make any payments to Caesars “related to their use, occupancy and control of the Property.”

Ortzman states that during a Feb. 10 meeting with Blatstein, the developer “made clear his intentions concerning his illegal use and occupancy of the Property.”

Ortzman writes that Blatstein told him, “you can’t win and I can’t lose,” adding that “I’ll drag this out in court and suck all of the money dry from the Pier and you’ll be left with nothing.”

The document also claims that Blatstein promised to “blast” Ortzman “in the Press as uncooperative to a ‘hero’ trying to save Atlantic City.”

According to Ortzman, Blatstein said that Caesars would “lose in the court of public opinion.”

Blatstein has said he wants to transform the Pier into a destination for young professionals, making it home to numerous new non-gambling entertainment venues.

Contact John V. Santore:

609-272-7251

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