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Atlantic City Round-Up

31 December 2001

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey – Dec. 31. 2001--Rumors of Mark Brown's demise within the Trump organization have been greatly exaggerated.

Having had their fill of the rumor, which had Brown fired or on thin ice, Brown and Trump stepped went public to say that Brown has been and for the foreseeable future will be in good standing. The rumor had been circulating through employee cafeterias, among other Atlantic City gaming executives, on Wall Street and on Internet stock postings.

The rumor especially rankled Trump and Brown because of its timing: The company is trying to renegotiate $1.7 billion in junk-bond debt.

"I know where the rumors are coming from but I really don't have time to pay attention," Brown said, declining to elaborate.

Brown has been chief operating officer of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts since June 2000. He's also president of the four Trump casinos and chief operating officer of the flagship Trump Taj Mahal. He's in the middle of a three-year contract that this year will pay him $1.2 million.

*****

Two casinos, the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and MGM Grand in Las Vegas, will have to wait at least one more year if they want to host the Miss America Pageant.

The Miss America Organization, after threatening to leave its lifelong home in the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall, decided to remain in the seaside resort for at least one more year while the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority considers additional funding for the event. Pageant CEO Bob Renneisen said it's become too expensive to stage the event in Atlantic City.

Pageant officials confirmed that they turned down "a very lucrative offer" from Mohegan Sun to host the event for the next three to five years. The MGM Grand also discussed hosting the pagaent.

Atlantic City casinos offer only tepid support of the pageant, most notably giving the contestants and their chaperones free rooms.

"We are now hopeful of building a new relationship in our historical home, a relationship predicated on the fact that we are wanted and valued -- not merely tolerated," said Renneisen, a former Claridge Casino Hotel president.

*****

Two big names in the early days of Atlantic City casino gambling died eight days apart in December.

Walter "Bud" Read, who was the second chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, died at age 83. He presided over commission when it denied Hilton Hotels Corp. a license and voted to close the financially troubled Atlantis casino hotel.

Seymour "Sy" Alter, who was director of real estate, retail stores and special projects for the city's first casino, Resorts, died at age 80. Alter lost an ongoing battle through the 1980s to gain a gaming license due to issues involving bribery and possible mob contact.

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