LAS VEGAS (CN) – Facing “near-certain bankruptcy,” Station Casinos tried to avoid honoring debts to a large portion of its bond holders, an investor claims in Federal Court. S. Blake Murchison accuses casino officials of “not acting gentlemanly” when they concocted a bond-exchange offer that gave certain bondholders the opportunity to obtain new bonds “which will subordinate existing bonds during the event of bankruptcy.”
Those not offered such exchanges “are left holding the short end of the stick and face the imminent threat that their investments in – and contracts with – Station Casinos will not be honored during a liquidation,” the lawsuit states.
Murchison claims that Station Casinos, “struggling with its debt load as the consumer spending crash has affected the casino and gaming market,” issued a memo on Feb. 3 detailing plans “to significantly reduce the outstanding principal amount of indebtedness and cash interest at the expense of Station Casinos.”
Station Casinos “admitted in writing that ‘it elected not to make a scheduled $14.6 million interest payment’ to its investors and anticipates ‘commencing a voluntary case under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code,'” the lawsuit states.
The exchange offer, which Murchison claims was not filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, “unilaterally and arbitrarily determines who and which entities” are eligible for the offer.
The exchange offer is set to be finalized by March 2.
“Given the state of the credit markets and the economic environments, Station Casinos will almost likely [sic] enter into bankruptcy or become terminally insolvent in the next year, and there is a substantial likelihood that plaintiff’s bonds will cede to the purported priority of the new notes and not be redeemed at the end of Station Casinos’ liquidation process,” the complaint states.
And in the event of bankruptcy, the lawsuit claims, the new notes will have priority over the old notes.
Station Casinos owns several hotel-casinos in Las Vegas and Reno, including the Palace Station, Boulder Station, Texas Station, Sunset Station and the Green Valley Ranch.
Included as defendants are Station Casinos’ Chairman and CEO Frank Fertitta III, and executives Lorenzo Fertitta, Thomas Barrack, Jonathan Grunzweig, James Nave, Thomas Friel, Scott Nielson and Kevin Kelley.
Murchison is represented by Mark Albright with Albright Stoddard.