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Texas Banker Andrew Beal Bids for Bankrupt Trump Casinos; Seeks to Convert a
 $486 million Loan to the Casinos into a Majority Equity Stake

By Brendan Case, The Dallas Morning NewsMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

November 28, 2009 - --North Texas banker Andrew Beal is already famous as a poker player. Now he's bidding for the whole casino.

Plano-based Beal Bank and its Nevada affiliate made a restructuring proposal this week for bankrupt Trump Entertainment Resorts, which owns Atlantic City's Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, and Trump Marina Hotel Casino.

Beal Bank's bid came a week after Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka withdrew from a joint bid with Beal to buy the company, in a move that seemed to clear the way for bondholders to take control.

Beal Bank and Beal Bank Nevada, which lent Trump Entertainment Resorts nearly half a billion dollars in December 2007, said this week they opposed the deal. Instead, they said they would pursue their own proposal, in which they could convert a $486 million loan to the casinos into a majority equity stake in the company.

"After Mr. Trump's announcement, Beal Bank re-evaluated the posture of these cases, with a focus on maximizing its recovery, minimizing the litigation associated with the plan confirmation process and properly recognizing the stated interests of other stakeholders," Beal Bank's attorneys said in a court filing.

"Simply, Beal Bank has offered to completely equitize its debt, which will permit the debtors to exit Chapter 11 debt-free."

Beal declined to comment Friday. A spokesman for Trump Entertainment Resorts could not be reached for comment, nor could other creditors.

The Trumps resigned from the company's board days before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February. A hearing is set for Dec. 3 before a New Jersey bankruptcy judge.

Beal, a noted poker player as well as successful banker, became the richest man in Dallas this year, with a net worth estimated at $4.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine's most recent report on the 400 wealthiest Americans. (That's still a paltry sum compared with the $19.3 billion fortune of Fort Worth's Alice Walton, a Wal-Mart heiress.)

Beal has boosted his fortune by buying up distressed assets at a time when many other financial companies have been battered, the magazine said. While some banks have relied on government support, Beal Bank remains strong, Beal has said.

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Copyright (c) 2009, The Dallas Morning News

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