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ATLANTIC CITY-Earlier this week, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission ruled that a Carl Icahn-led group has no ties to the former owner of the Tropicana Casino and Resort and can therefore proceed with its plans to buy the property once it emerges from bankruptcy proceedings.

Late last month, the commission held a hearing to ascertain if former owner, William J. Yung III, had any ties to the proposed new ownership entity. In 2007, the commission revoked Yung’s license.In a statement, commission chair Linda K. Kassekert said that “testimony and other evidence leave no doubt that any vestige of Yung and his administration at the time of the company’s disqualification will be supplanted by the team in place upon the new Tropicana Inc.’s emergence from bankruptcy.”

In April, the commission approved the sale of the 2,125-room property to a group of its lenders and authorized the casino’s conservator to request a US Bankruptcy Court Judge to schedule an auction of the asset. Two months after that, the bankruptcy court endorsed the sale of the Trop to a group of investors led by Icahn. Under the terms of that agreement, the lenders agreed to serve as the “stalking horse” in the bankruptcy court action with a bid of $200 million. According to the commission, the investors will gain ownership in exchange for the cancellation of $200 million of their secured claims.

An AP report quoted Gilbert Brooks, an attorney for the Icahn group, as saying that the bankruptcy process could be resolved by mid-December. The Trop is currently under the supervision of its state-appointed conservator, former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein.

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