SunCruz casino boat operator bankrupt

Oceans Casino Cruises Inc., which owns SunCruz Casinos and is based in Dania Beach, filed voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Monday in the Southern District of Florida. A Chapter 7 filing usually leads to liquidation of the company.

SunCruz operated a casino boat from Mayport, Port Canaveral and Little River, SC until the 15th of this month when the gambling day-cruises abruptly ended.

SunCruz reportedly owes the Canaveral Port Authority more than $302,000 in wharf and other fees and owes Horry County, SC more than $100,000 for October fees and an unknown amount for November fees.

The company has estimated assets of $1 million to $10 million, and estimated liabilities between $50 million and $100 million, according to the bankruptcy filing. The company believes there will be no money available for unsecured creditors after exempt property is excluded and administrative expenses are paid, according to the court documents.

SunCruz was founded by the late Gus Boulis, a Greek-American businessman who also founded Miami Subs. In 2000, he sold the casino company to a group that included notorious disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Boulis was shot to death gangland-style in his car in Fort Lauderdale in 2001.

Abramoff later pleaded guilty to two criminal felony counts in Miami related to his fraudulent dealings with SunCruz.

In February 2004, a bankruptcy judge approved the sale of SunCruz, for $36.1 million, to a group led by Boulis’ nephew, Spiros Naos. Naos is still listed as an owner of Oceans Casino Cruises on bankruptcy court documents, along with Oceans Trust of Pompano Beach and Robert Weisberg of Tiburon, Calif.

A sign on the door of the company’s office reads: “We will not be sailing until the completion of the transfer of ownership of our company.”

In November of 2008, Nevada Gold was engaged by Oceans Casino Cruises, Inc. to provide management services to SunCruz Casinos. Although its management contract is currently in effect, because of the bankruptcy filing, its future status is uncertain.

Nevada Gold is currently in discussions to purchase selected assets from Oceans Casino Cruises, Inc. These discussions are subject to numerous conditions and there can be no assurance they will result in the purchase of any assets.

Robert Sturges, CEO of Nevada Gold stated, “We recognize these are difficult times for the employees of Oceans Casino Cruises, Inc. We hope to have the opportunity to work with these employees after our acquisition discussions are complete.”