Trump hires ex-Argosy chief as CEO

Jul 12, 2005 4:10 AM

Donald Trump has been recognized as a real estate and marketing genius but his marks as a casino operator were failing at best. Months in bankruptcy court satisfied bondholders that changes at the top for recently reorganized Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. (DJTE) were needed if the three casinos and one riverboat were to succeed.

So it was no surprise last week that Trump himself announced that he had selected James B. Perry to assume the position of chief executive officer for the company.

Perry established himself as a successful casino operator when he was CEO of Argosy Gaming Co. (AGY) during that company’s growth years. He retired from that position two years ago when the directors of the company decided to place itself on the auction block. It later was announced that Argosy Gaming was going to be acquired by Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN).

The Trump properties include three in Atlantic City, N.J. — Trump Taj Mahal Casino, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, and Trump Marina Hotel Casino — and a riverboat in Gary, Ind.

Although Trump’s personal interest in the casino company was reduced to about 25% during the most recent bankruptcy proceedings, bondholders permitted him to retain his titles of chairman and CEO. After moving Perry in the CEO position, Trump will remain as company chairman.

In announcing Perry’s appointment, Trump said, "Jim’s track record is terrific," adding that he was selected from a large group of gaming executives. He also said the change would give him more time to devote to his many real estate development projects underway in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Roger Wagner, who was chief operating officer of Jack Binion’s Horseshoe Gaming Holding Co. prior to it being sold to Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (HET) last year, has joined privately held Colony Capital LLC and will manage its Resorts International Holdings Inc. unit

Rose McKinney-James, a Las Vegas businesswoman and a registered lobbyist with the Nevada legislature representing the Clark County School District, has been appointed to the board of directors of MGM MIRAGE Inc. (MGM). She previously served on the board of directors of Mandalay Resort Group prior to the company being acquired by MGM MIRAGE.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has chosen Ann Lacour Neeb to be its first executive director. A native of New Orleans, Neeb, a lawyer, has headed the Louisiana Gaming Control Board for the past year. Also appointed by the board was David J. Kwait, who was chosen by the board to run its investigative bureau.

Natalie Hemlock, a member of the Seneca Nation, has been appointed as a special assistant to the National Indian Gaming Commission.

Atty. Bob Barengo of Reno, Nev., has been named to the board of directors of American Wagering Inc. (BETM). He will join Vic Salerno, Tim Lockinger, Bruce Dewing, Larry Swecker and Judith Zimbelmann on the board.

Barengo, who has had a private law practice for the past 30 years, has also been active in Nevada’s gaming community for several decades, most recently as a member of the board of directors of Riviera Holdings Corporation (RIV).

Bank executive Noel Shull of Kansas City, Mo., has been appointed to serve on the Missouri Gaming Commission by Gov. Matt Blunt. He replaces George Hartsfield whose term had expired.