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Stockton University’s Casino Purchase Runs Up $500,000 In Legal Fees

Showboat Atlantic City CasinoStockton University was swift to jump in and purchase the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City back in November 2014 and used a law firm by the name of Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader to complete the deal for $18 million. The University planned to open a college campus at the former Showboat Casino which is located on Atlantic City’s boardwalk.

The Trump Taj Mahal which is located next to the Showboat Casino invoked a contractual clause that it had with the Showboat Casino to prevent Stockton University from building a college campus. Taj Mahal officials were against the construction of a college campus near its premises as they believed it would encourage underage gambling and get the Taj Mahal in trouble soon or later.

Stockton University officials examined the contractual clause once again and found that they had bought themselves a whole lot of trouble. They had already paid their law firm Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader close to $200,000 to secure the property and would now have to incur more legal fees to take the case to court. The University was forced to hire law firm Gibbons P.C and pay them around $350,000 to investigate the entire deal and see how best Stockton University could come out ahead.

When Stockton University and law firm Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader first made a deal to purchase the showboat casino they were made aware of the contractual clause that stated the Showboat Casino could be sold but only if would be turned into another casino. Stockton University and Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader decided to ignore the clause, take a risk and purchase the property.

The calculated risk backfired and now Stockton University has a site that it cannot use and has spent close to $19 million already. Herman Saatkamp, who was president of Stockton University when the deal was finalized, was forced to resign due to the disastrous deal. Saatkamp states that Stockton University officials were aware of the clause but they were assured that it would be waived and wouldn’t cause any problems.

Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee said “Who authorized the $18 million disbursement with no clear title?” The Senate Budget Committee is investigating the matter and has asked Saatkamp to make an appearance and answer a number of questions. Saatkamp did not show up for the meeting and the law firm of Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader has also been avoiding making any statement regarding the matter.