Donald Trump's Atlantic City casinos might not belong to Trump anymore if billionaire banker and high-stakes poker player Andy Beal has anything to say about it
. Beal and Trump were once partners doing battle against another group of bondholders to take control of the three bankrupt Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. casinos. But now Beal has split from Trump and his Beal Bank has offered to convert its $486 million mortgage on the casinos into majority owner equity. The offer drew criticism from attorneys representing Trump Entertainment bondholders, who have offered to buy the casinos for $225 million. Previously Trump and Beal Bank had offered $114 million in cash for the company but last week Trump withdrew from that deal and instead agreed to back the bondholders in return for an ownership stake in the casinos.
Beal might love the art of the deal even more than Trump. After all, this is a man who won more money in a single day than any other poker player: $11.7 million at the Las Vegas Bellagio casino in 2004. Because of Beal's mortgage on the Trump casinos his bank is first in line among bankruptcy creditors.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Judith H. Wizmur has given both sides until December 3 to try to negotiate a deal. Wizmur has scheduled hearings to start in January to pick the company's new buyer.