Wells Fargo Rides in to Rescue Revel Power Plant at Eleventh Hour

Posted on: April 21, 2015, 03:38h. 

Last updated on: April 21, 2015, 03:42h.

Revel Wells Fargo
Like the “Perils of Pauline,” the Revel casino in Atlantic City is once again dependent on the kindness of strangers, in this case, Wells Fargo. (Yes, we know we’ve mixed some metaphors there). (Image: alifewastedonjerry)

Revel might as well be Pauline (as in, The Perils Of) in this latest installment of “What the Heck Is Wrong Now with the World’s Most Cursed Ex-Casino?”

Like a damsel in distress, the shuttered casino could be saved at the last minute by Well Fargo, which much like its original namesake, may ride in and carry off said damsel before she expires.

The financial institution is now offering $300,000 in order to provide power to the former Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, a move that would temporarily relieve the dangers that exist because of the lack of electricity in the building.

While Wells Fargo no longer has any association with the building, the company says it is willing to turn the electricity back on to avoid a potential disaster should a fire occur in the building.

“As a matter of public interest for the City of Atlantic City and the State of New Jersey, Wells Fargo is concerned that the impasse between ACR and Polo North is creating a potentially dangerous situation with respect to the building and its surrounding area,” wrote Wells Fargo attorney Thomas Kreller in a letter to a federal bankruptcy court. “Due to the obvious and imminent public safety issues, time is of the essence.”

Lack of Power Creates Fire Hazard

The Atlantic City Fire Department has said there may be no way to fight a fire in the building without water or electricity being available to Revel. ACR Energy Partners, which owns the power plant that exclusively provided electricity, heat, and water to the former casino, has been locked in a battle with new Revel owner Glenn Straub over how the multimillionaire will pay for power going forward.

When an agreement didn’t emerge, ACR turned off the power two days after Straub took ownership of the building.

Revel Wells Fargo power dispute
The Revel may have power restored if a Wells Fargo offer is accepted. (Image: Aaron Houston/nytimes.com)

The Wells Fargo offer would ask ACR to provide two weeks of electricity to the Revel.

In exchange, Straub would have to agree to use that power to turn on fire detection and suppression systems, operate perimeter lighting, and ensure that an aircraft warning light at the top of the building was working.

So far, Straub has not publicly responded to the offer. ACR attorneys have only said that the company is considering the proposal.

Prevented from Using Generators to Restore Power

The offer from Wells Fargo comes days after US District Court Judge Jerome Simandle issued a temporary restraining order that prevents Straub from attempting to power the Revel by utilizing generators or any other source that would be attached to equipment inside the casino that is owned by ACR.

While that may seem like just another part of the ongoing battle between the two sides, lawyer Tim Lowry said that there was a serious safety issue involved.

“He is not to energize our equipment, or even touch our equipment,” Lowry said. “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.”

At the moment, Atlantic City is fining Straub’s Polo North Country Club $5,000 per day as long as the power is out, saying that the situation violates the city’s fire codes.

While Wells Fargo may no longer be directly involved in the Revel, the company has been an important part of the resort’s recent history. The financial institution was the main lender under the casino’s previous ownership, and was an active participant in the bankruptcy proceedings, imploring Judge Gloria Burns to approve the sale to Straub while ignoring other bids that they said were not credible.

Wells Fargo spent more than $64 million during the Revel’s bankruptcy. But hey, it’s all in a day’s work when you’re a bank in shining money.