Frank Sinatra’s Cal Neva Casino Files for Bankruptcy

by San Antonio Attorney

An old Frank Sinatra casino that underwent renovations for almost three years has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Cal Neva Resort & Casino’s developer, Criswell Radovan LLC, filed the bankruptcy petition after spending $49 million to revamp the property in Tahoe.

According to the developer’s website, the property will start operating by April next year.

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency spokesman Tom Lotshaw said construction stopped last fall and officials of the agency haven’t receive any update from the developer after it declared bankruptcy in June.

The bankruptcy case was filed in U.S.  Bankruptcy Court in Santa Rosa.  The 90-year-old casino was once the getaway spot of Sinatra and other entertainers.  Sinatra owned the place from 1960 to 1963.  His license was terminated after the FBI saw Chicago mobster Sam Giancana in the resort.

After that, the appeal of Cal Neva started to wane.  Tahoe gradually reinvented itself as a luxury destination, making the casino irrelevant in the past 40 years, according to gaming industry consultant Ken Adams.

Criswell Radovan purchased Cal Neva six years ago and started renovating the property after five months.  The initial target of the reopening was December 2014, in celebration of Sinatra’s birthday.

The financial problems became unmanageable that in February, the company failed to make payments on a $6 million loan.  Court papers show that the Cal Neva developer had to file for bankruptcy because the lender was about to commence a foreclosure sale.  Filing for bankruptcy provides protection from foreclosure or buy a debtor some time before the lender sells the property.

According to court documents filed, Criswell Radovan needs $23.8 to complete the renovation and they owe an estimated $40 million to creditors.  It also said that they expect to obtain additional funding for the property within one to two months, and anticipate finishing the renovations in six months.

The new Cal Neva would probably be valued around $75 million, the developer said.

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