ATLANTIC CITY — Two top executives at Ocean Resort Casino were let go Monday, further signs of a new direction under New York-based hedge fund Luxor Capital Group.
Frank Leone, the property’s former CEO, and Alan Greenstein, now ex-chief financial officer, were terminated less than a month after Luxor assumed control of Ocean Resort from Colorado-based developer Bruce Deifik.
Bob Ambrose, an adjunct professor of casino management at Fairleigh Dickinson University and a gaming industry consultant, said the change in leadership at Ocean Resort is no surprise since Luxor assumed majority control last month.
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“I honestly thought it would have happened sooner,” Ambrose said. “Changing a company’s leadership, or the hierarchy, is just part of an investor’s overall strategy. Simply said, it’s usually part of a larger plan to move forward with initiatives and a fusion of funding that they’re placing into Ocean Resort.”
Eric Matejevich, former chief operating officer of the now-closed Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, will succeed Leone on an interim basis. Terry Glebocki, who recently served as corporate chief financial officer of Tropicana Atlantic City, was announced as Greenstein’s replacement.
“As we move forward with enhancements to the guest and player experience — including substantial increases in our entertainment programming and player events throughout the year, adding a world-class buffet, additional suites and rooms, incremental investments on the casino floor and other exciting projects — Terry and Eric’s expertise will be invaluable in continuing our momentum,” the company said in a statement Tuesday night.
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Deifik purchased Ocean Resort in January 2018 for $229 million from Florida-based real estate developer Glenn Straub with significant financial backing from Luxor and JPMorgan Chase Bank. Both Leone and Greenstein were part of Straub’s casino plan, TEN, which never materialized. The two executives were kept on by Deifik when the property opened June 27, the same day as Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.
“We wish to thank Alan Greenstein for his years of service and wish him success in his future endeavors,” the company’s statement read. “We also extend our good wishes to Frank, who will be pursuing other opportunities after having provided important leadership for Ocean Resort Casino.”
Within months, the property began to struggle in Atlantic City’s ultra-competitive casino market. Ocean Resort’s gaming revenue ranked either last or near the bottom of the city’s nine casinos every month, according to data from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement. Luxor and Ocean announced a change of management in late January, with plans for a $70 million investment in the property.
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In February, during a Casino Control Commission meeting where the board approved a divestiture trust agreement that transferred majority control from Deifik to Luxor, state gaming regulators revealed Ocean Resort had not been in compliance with financial licensing stipulations since November and the casino hotel had lost nearly $23 million since that time. The trust documents also outlined Luxor’s investment plan, which included using $50 million to pay down a portion of the principal owed to JPMorgan.
Matejevich was named trustee of the divestiture agreement state gaming regulators approved Feb. 6.