Street Mall Operator Gets Victory as Judge Freezes Las Vegas Casino’s Assets.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News January 29, 2002 By Chris Di Edoardo, Las Vegas Review-Journal Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News Jan. 29–District Judge Gene Porter issued an order Monday freezing more than $1.9 million of assets controlled by Binion’s Horseshoe to secure back dues the casino owes the Fremont Street Experience LLC.
The ruling hands the Fremont Street Experience, the private company that operates the Fremont Street pedestrian mall, a key victory in its battle with the Horseshoe.
“I’m a little disappointed at how this has turned out and I’ll say that in open court,” a visibly exasperated Porter said before issuing the order.
Porter did agree, however, to delay enforcement of the seizure order until Feb. 11 so the casino can file an appeal with the Nevada Supreme Court.
After the hearing, Robert Draper, who represented the casino, said the Horseshoe was planning to appeal Porter’s decision to the Nevada Supreme Court as well as file a separate action in federal District Court.
“What the Fremont Street Experience is doing is a pretty gross violation of federal antitrust law,” Draper said. here fremont street experience
In court papers and in his arguments before Porter Monday, Draper questioned the ability of the Fremont Street Experience to levy assessments and accused it of violating federal antitrust law by restricting access to Fremont Street during certain events, such as New Year’s Eve.
Porter, however, said he was upset by the Horseshoe’s change in tactics.
“On Jan. 2, your client took the position that the reason your client was not paying the assessments was because the Fremont Street Experience was incompetent,” he said. “Now, your client has decided that the structure of the Fremont Street Experience is unconstitutional.” The Fremont Street Experience originally sued the Horseshoe last August after months of negotiations over the property’s late dues failed to resolve the dispute.
Patrick Reilly, who argued the case for the Fremont Street Experience, asked Porter to issue a prejudgment writ of attachment against the casino on Jan. 2, but the judge referred the matter to District Judge James Mahan for settlement talks.
“We spent a lot of time talking about federal antitrust law during the settlement conference,” Reilly said Monday.
“I know you didn’t want us to come back here and I didn’t want us to come back here, but here we are,” he told Porter. “It’s difficult to settle a case when only one side is negotiating in good faith.” Draper also warned Monday that Porter’s order could force state officials to close the Horseshoe if it includes the property’s casino cage. site fremont street experience
State law requires gaming licensees to maintain certain levels of cash reserves in their casino cages. If properties allow their reserves to dip below this level, they risk closure by the Nevada Gaming Commission.
Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander could not be reached for comment Monday.
Reilly dismissed Draper’s warning, though.
“Binion’s can avoid the writ of attachment entirely by posting a bond,” Reilly said.
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