Casino Miami Jai-Alai Owner Begins Bankruptcy Proceedings
While cautioning it is "too early to tell" how the bankruptcy case of Casino Miami Jai-Alai's owner will play out, its attorney said the ultimate goal for the company is to reorganize.
Salazar Jackson partner Luis Salazar, who represents Casino Miami owner Florida Gaming Centers Inc. in the voluntary Chapter 11 case, said at a hearing Wednesday that the company "could consider other exits" but would ideally emerge from bankruptcy without a sale.
The company's optimism is partly fueled by the casino's "strong" recent operating performance, he said. Over the last two weeks, its year-over-year revenue jumped 20 percent. The fronton at 3500 NW 37th Ave. near Miami International Airport added a casino in January 2012.
Miami-based Florida Gaming had a pre-petition agreement in place to sell its jai-alai operations, which includes Fort Pierce Jai-Alai & Poker, to Silvermark LLC for $115 million but wants U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert A. Mark to reject the contract signed last November.
The Miami judge delayed ruling on that motion and a slew of other requests until an Oct. 2 hearing. Mark wants to give a newly formed unsecured creditors committee time to review the motions.
Silvermark is pushing for the sale contract to be enforced.
Los Angeles attorney Thomas Kreller, who represents the company, noted a sale to Silvermark would effectively wipe out Florida Gaming's debt. In addition to the $115 million purchase price, Silvermark would assume a $14 million mortgage from Miami-Dade County.
Salazar countered that a $115 million deal "is a deal that can't be accepted."
"How can we support a sale that pays less than what the creditors are owed?"
Mark suggested a future auction of Florida Gaming's stock, with Silvermark serving as a stalking-horse bidder. It would be entitled to break-up fees if the company did not end up as the winning bidder.