Crystal Bay Club will open one day to protect license while sale is completed

The Crystal Bay Club will open for one eight-hour shift Tuesday to protect its gaming license while the sale of the North Lake Tahoe property is completed.

The club has been closed nearly a year since it was forced into bankruptcy.

The Gaming Control Board was told Wednesday that the sale to Reno developer Roger Norman is in escrow and should be completed by Dec. 31.

In order to keep a gaming license, the casino must be open for business at least one day a year. If it loses that license, problems could arise in getting permits to reopen under strict Tahoe Regional Planning Agency rules.

"We're concerned with the TRPA issues, and we want to make sure we preserve it as a gaming property," bankruptcy trustee Jeri Coppa-Knudson told the board.

Coppa-Knudson won the board's recommendation for licensing to operate the club pending completion of the sale.

Since she has been licensed several times before as a trustee, there was no trouble winning board support for that application. But the final decision must still be made by the Gaming Commission next week.

Norman was the winning bidder Nov. 21 before Bankruptcy Judge Bert Goldwater to purchase the club. Knudson said the developer, who owns a large section of residential and commercial development at the southern end of Reno, is expected to have no trouble paying the $2.9 million.

She said he is expected to have little trouble getting a gaming license since he has already been investigated and licensed by the Gaming Commission.

Knudson said "more than $10 million in claims" have been filed against the property. But she said a substantial amount of that total may be finally disallowed by the court.

She said the bank is owed about $2.2 million and several other smaller priority claims will eat up part of the remaining $700,000.

"It's hard to say what will come down to the unsecured creditors," she said.

In addition, the control board recommended approval of Joseph John Hasson as general manager of both Harrah's Tahoe and Harveys Resort. Both resorts are owned by Harrah's.

Hasson told the board business has been good over the last year. He said the two resorts combined had a record occupancy last year.

But Hasson said they are beginning to feel the impact of Indian gaming and there "may be more to come" as Indian casinos continue to grow in California.

The Gaming Commission must make the final decision on Hasson's licensing as a key employee.


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