Judge Blocks Revel Owner From Connecting to Utility's Gear

A federal judge is prohibiting the new owner of Atlantic City's former Revel casino from connecting to equipment owned by a utility company at the center of a literal power struggle at the now-dark Boardwalk complex.

U.S. District Court Judge Jerome Simandle issued a temporary restraining order Friday prohibiting Glenn Straub from attempting to hook up generators or other temporary power sources to equipment owned by ACR Energy Partners inside the casino.

A lawyer for ACR says there are life-and-death safety issues at stake.

"He is not to energize our equipment, or even touch our equipment," said attorney Tim Lowry. "There are severe life safety issues involved. It's the same reasons fire departments don't let you hook a generator directly into your electrical panel."

Straub did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. His Polo North Country Club bought the casino on April 7. ACR terminated service to the complex two days later in the absence of a contract for future service.

That prompted Atlantic City to begin fining him $5,000 a day for each day that power was off at the building, saying it violated fire codes requiring fire detection and suppression systems to remain operative.

The fire department warned in February that without water flowing through the building's pipes and electricity to get firefighters to upper floors, firefighting efforts at the 47-story building would be next to impossible. At 710 feet, Revel is the second-tallest building in New Jersey, after the Goldman Sachs building in Jersey City.

Straub then hired portable generators, intending to use them to power, but was blocked by state environmental authorities from using them, saying they would likely violate federal air pollution laws. Friday morning, the generators were gone from the site.

The Florida developer had planned to try to open at least part of the complex for the summer, but he has been beset by delays involving utility service to the building, which also no longer has heat, air conditioning or water service.

He bought Revel, which cost $2.4 billion to build, for $82 million out of bankruptcy court.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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