Bruce Deifik Dies in Colorado Car Crash, Ex-Casino Owner Faced Financial Struggles, Sexual Harrassment Claims
Posted on: April 8, 2019, 02:41h.
Last updated on: April 8, 2019, 03:11h.
Bruce Deifik — the 64-year-old former owner of Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Casino — died late Sunday in a Denver, Colorado car crash — which came just months after he lost control of the once-promising gaming venue and faced harassment claims.
Deifik was reportedly driving at a “low speed” on city streets when he suffered an “apparent medical condition” — and his car swerved across the road, then “crashed into a light pole and came to rest on the sidewalk,” police and other officials said.
He died at the scene at about 11:15 pm PT Sunday. An autopsy was completed by midday Monday, but the cause of his death was still under investigation at that juncture, according to the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner.
Denver police sources also confirmed to Casino.org on Monday that officers were still investigating circumstances surrounding the crash.
The Las Vegas Sun reported Monday that Deifik suffered cardiac arrest just before the crash.
Deifik’s lawyer Paul O’Gara said the gaming operator was driving home from a Colorado Rockies baseball game when the crash occurred.
“We are saddened to learn that Bruce Deifik, former owner of Ocean Casino Resort, has passed away,” a spokesperson for the casino, Diane Spiers, said. “The Ocean family is grateful for Bruce having the vision to re-open this beautiful oceanfront property and employing over 3,000 members of our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Deifik spent $70 million from his personal fortune — amassed from the many years he worked as a real estate developer in Colorado — to renovate the former Revel casino.
The June openings of Ocean Resort and nearby Hard Rock brought excitement to Atlantic City that had not been seen in many years. The beach was packed with crowds as Boardwalk properties reopened and returned the East Coast gambling capital to a nine-casino town.
But in January, Luxor Capital Group — a New York City-based hedge fund which had provided partial financing for Deifik’s original 2018 purchase of the gaming venue — took control of the casino, which Deifik and his company, AC Ocean Walk, had bought from Glenn Straub for $229 million.
He was able to afford it after getting bridge financing of $110 million from J.P. Morgan and $122.5 million from Luxor.
The AP reported Deifik had not yet turned over his majority ownership of the casino to Luxor — but the deal was supposed to be completed soon.
The casino had gone through several earlier bankruptcies and had been shuttered in 2014 before reopening last June. It had struggled to gain a significant market share in Atlantic City’s competitive gaming market.
Under Deifik, investors had hoped the property would net over $384 million in gross gambling revenue (GGR) in its first full year. But the Ocean Resort won less than a third of that with $101.1 million from the time of its June opening through the end of 2018.
He was sued by several parties. Joseph Morrissey, the former nightclub manager of Ocean Resort, sought $10 million in damages from Deifik for breach of contract, defamation and slander, unjust enrichment, and detrimental release. Morrissey’s litigation additionally contends that Deifik committed alleged sexual misconduct against female employees.
The fatal crash took place just four days before Deifik was scheduled to appear before a hearing held by New Jersey casino regulators on a charge he harassed female employees.
He was founder and President of Integrated Properties, Inc., and also at various points oversaw operations of the TGC Family of Companies, American Nevada Company, Greenspun Media Group, VEGAS.com, and the Las Vegas Sun newspaper.
He is survived by his wife Nancy Deifik and a son, Jordan.
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