|By Suzette Parmley, The Philadelphia
InquirerMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
February 14, 2009 --Donald J. Trump announced last night that he was resigning as chairman of the board of Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., the company that owns three casinos that bear his name in Atlantic City.
The move comes as Trump Entertainment is negotiating with its lender and bondholders to restructure $1.25 billion in debt to delay or prevent another trip to Bankruptcy Court.
The forbearance period was triggered after the company missed a $53 million bond payment Dec. 1 and the 30-day grace period expired. The company got its fourth extension earlier this week, until Tuesday.
Trump cited his disagreement with the casino company's bondholders as a key factor in his decision.
"I want to leave what I believe will become a highly volatile situation and focus on the many other opportunities that are available to me in these very troubled but exciting times," he said.
Trump owns about 28 percent of Trump Entertainment and is its largest shareholder. His equity in the company has diminished in recent years as new creditors and lenders came in in exchange for equity.
Trump was made chairman of the board, but he was stripped of his title as chief executive officer and had to relinquish overseeing day-to-day operations when the company emerged from its most recent bankruptcy in May 2005.
Trump said his daughter, Ivanka Trump, who was made a board member two years ago, also was resigning from the board.
Trump said he would continue to honor "certain ongoing contractual relationships" with the company, and he hinted he might try to buy it back.
"I will give strong consideration to saving what was once a great casino hotel operation that bore my name," he said. "But unfortunately, it is clear that I will have to work from the outside -- the existing bondholder control will not permit a brighter future."
Contact staff writer Suzette Parmley
at 215-854-2594 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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