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A.C. wants Trump upgrades

Jan 28, 2003 4:39 AM

One problem that has plagued Donald Trump’s gaming operations in Atlantic City has been the debt burdened shared by his three casinos. And last week’s $475 million bond refinancing served to cause regulators to focus on the problem.

The New Jersey Casino Control Commission voted 4-0 to approve Trump’s plans for two bond issues ”” one for $405 million, the other for $70 million ”” after extensively questioning executives of Trump Hotels & Casinos Resorts.

Trump’s representatives said the funds would be used to retire some existing debt and to reduce total indebtedness to about $1.3 billion. They told the regulators that the properties were "doing extremely well" and that the funds would give them a "lot of flexibility."

But officials were concerned that time was passing the Trump properties by. Despite major improvement at competing properties ”” to better prepare them for the opening this summer of The Borgata ”” the Trump properties have remained static for the past half-dozen years. In fact, they noted, Trump World’s Fair casino, demolished in 1999 to make room for another major casino, remains vacant because the company lacks the funds to build on the site.

Despite unanimous approval for the refinancing, regulators put the Trump officials on notice that they were preparing to review the company’s operations when the three casino licenses come up for renewal this spring.