By David Madden
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — Stockton University’s purchase of the Showboat hotel-casino, for use as a boardwalk campus and hotel, is turning into a major problem for the school. And the school is blaming its Atlantic City neighbor, the Trump Taj Mahal.
Officials at Stockton knew there was a longstanding covenant between Trump Entertainment and the Showboat’s owners, Caesars Entertainment, that any sale of the Showboat would keep it a casino-hotel.
University president Herman Saatkamp says as the school went through the purchase process, he was assured that wouldn’t be a problem.
It turns out, though, that Trump Entertainment won’t budge. And Saatkamp is baffled.
“I really do not understand why they would oppose having us next to them,” he told KYW Newsradio today. “It would seem to me to be only beneficial to them, and particularly far more beneficial than having an empty building next to them.”
And now, that’s a real prospect, since Stockton might be forced to sell if they can’t come to some accommodation in the next couple of weeks.
Saatkamp says he wants the university to get the hotel running by May, and classes going no later than fall.
“In order to do that, we have to begin construction and sign contracts for food service for the hotel,” he points out.
If that doesn’t happen in about two weeks, another sale of the property could be ahead.
In a statement, Trump Entertainment says it fears that underage college students could try to gamble. But more to the point, Trump officials say the company is in bankruptcy and would require compensation to waive that covenant.