Casino CEO steps down from Tropicana

June 7, 2008 7:41:09 PM PDT
Embattled casino operator William J. Yung III has stepped down as chief executive officer of Tropicana Entertainment Holdings, LLC, which has filed for bankruptcy. According to a company statement released Friday, Yung will continue to serve on a new Board of Directors, but president Scott C. Butera will take over as CEO of the Northern Kentucky-based company.

Tropicana has 11 casino-hotel properties in Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana, Indiana and New Jersey..

However, the company lost its New Jersey casino license for Tropicana Casino and Resort in December after being judged by state regulators as unable to properly operate a first-class casino due to severe layoffs and poor performance..

As a part of the restructuring, the company is also considering moving corporate headquarters from Kentucky to Las Vegas..

Along with Butera and Yung, the company added three outside directors with experience in financial restructuring and regulatory experience. The directors are merchant banker Thomas M. Benninger, former Metro Goldwyn Mayer CFO Michael G. Corrigan and former New Jersey Casino Control Commission Chairman and CEO Bradford S. Smith..

"Forming an independent Board of Directors is a critical first step in our planned restructuring," Butera said in a statement. The new board is expected to form independent audit and litigation committees as well as a gaming regulatory compliance committee..

Tropicana filed last month for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, listing assets of $2.8 billion and liabilities of $3.3 billion..

Leading up to the bankruptcy, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission cited poor performance, massive layoffs and problems with service and cleanliness as the reason for stripping the license in December. The casino has remained open since then, but is up for sale.