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Trump Files Suit Against Merv Griffin : Rival Bidder for Resorts Casino to Countersue

March 19, 1988|AL DELUGACH | Times Staff Writer

New York financier Donald J. Trump filed suit Friday against Hollywood producer Merv Griffin, alleging violation of securities laws in Griffin's $225-million offer to buy casino operator Resorts International.

The suit also named Griffin's wholly owned Griffin Co. and his Florida ally, Fidelle V. Scutti, a holder of about 5% of Resorts Class A stock. Griffin said he intends to file a countersuit against the New York financier.

Trump controls 88% of the voting securities of Resorts, largely through Class B stock that he bought for $135 a share last year, and serves as the company's chairman. He promptly rejected Griffin's offer Thursday to pay $35 a share for all Class A and B stock, calling the bid "ridiculous."

Taken Under Submission

Meanwhile, a Delaware judge withheld a ruling Friday on the disputed settlement of shareholder lawsuits challenging Donald J. Trump's $22-a-share plan to take Resorts private. The issue was intensified by Griffin's $35-a-share offer.

At the Friday hearing in Delaware Chancery Court, lawyers argued for and against Trump's proposal to buy the Resorts shares that he does not own for $22 each. Judge Maurice A. Hartnett III took the case under submission without indicating when he would rule, according to spokesmen for both Griffin and Trump.

The Trump lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, accused the Griffin group of a scheme to manipulate the market in Resorts stock by making false and misleading statements about their plans.

Obstacle Cited

Griffin's offer, the complaint said, was designed to interrupt Trump's pending tender offer.

The suit also said the Griffin proposal complicates Trump's efforts to obtain financing to complete what is planned as the largest casino in Atlantic City, N.J., Resorts' 42-story Taj Mahal.

Michael Nigris, president of Griffin Co., said Trump's suit was without merit and made "solely for the purpose of attempting to coerce Mr. Griffin to withdraw his offer. Mr. Griffin has indicated that the lawsuit creates no concern on his part, and he intends to bring certain counterclaims."

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