Tuesday, May 18, 1999 | 11:53 a.m.
The Maxim hotel-casino was sold Monday to time-share developer Premier Interval Resorts for an amount "in the ballpark" of $40 million, said property manager Ed Nigro.
Premier bought the 800-room property on Flamingo Road just off the Las Vegas Strip from West Coast Mortgage Ltd.
West Coast is a California company that foreclosed on the Maxim in April, 1998, after former owner Baby Grand Corp. defaulted on a $42 million loan.
The sale will not affect the resort's operations or its workers. Nigro's Max Gaming LLC will continue operating the Maxim under a new five-year lease.
"I had negotiated with them to continue our lease," said Nigro.
A local attorney for Premier could not be immediately reached for comment. West Coast officials could not be located for comment.
Principals in Premier include Orlando time-share developer Hillel Meyers, Donald Saunders of California, Gary Kornman of Colorado and attorney Tom Russell.
Nigro said the purchase price was around $40 million, but cautioned that the final negotiated figure could be slightly different.
"What the exact purchase price is, I don't know, but it's in the ballpark," said Nigro.
Until early last year, the Maxim was owned by Baby Grand, a company owned by Sacramento, Calif., tomato grower John Anderson. Baby Grand declared bankruptcy after borrowing $42 million from West Coast Mortgage and $33.5 million from a California savings and loan that was later taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The FDIC seized Baby Grand's assets, including the Maxim, in late 1997. In an April 1998 foreclosure auction in bankruptcy court, West Coast submitted the high bid of $15 million, and converted its debt in the Maxim into ownership of the property.
Nigro was installed as property manager at the urging of the FDIC, and was continued under a five-year lease by West Coast Mortgage. Nigro said his lease has been amended and extended for a new five-year term by Premier.
Earlier this month, a deal under which MTR Gaming Group of West Virginia would have signed a lease to operate the Maxim's casino and 300 of its hotel rooms fell through. Under that deal, Premier would have converted 500 of the hotel's 800 rooms to time-share units.
Nigro said Premier still intends to convert some of the Maxim's rooms into time-share units, but said details have yet to be worked out.
"We have not sat down yet to discuss a time-share business plan," said Nigro. "They do intend to convert some of the rooms."
Clark County regulations require casinos with nonrestricted gaming licenses to have 300 hotel rooms.