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Vegas Partnership Seeks 75% Interest in Queen Mary

August 24, 2004|Nancy Wride | Times Staff Writer

The company that operates the Queen Mary for the city of Long Beach said Monday that it wants to sell 75% interest in the vessel to a Las Vegas-registered limited partnership.

Although some civic activists have speculated for months that the financially strapped city might allow the historic ship to be turned into a casino, Joe Prevratil, president and chief executive of Queen's Seaport Development, which leases the ship from the city, said the prospective majority owners would not turn the vessel into a gambling enterprise.

Bandero LLC has a Nevada address, but its principals have Southern California offices. The partnership has discussed building a marina, a high-end hotel, an international retail center and a time-share complex next to the ship, Prevratil said.

Also, Long Beach would not allow gaming aboard the ship, and under its lease may reject the proposed new owners, City Atty. Robert Shannon said.

Bandero already owns a 24% interest in the ship. The city has had a letter of intent on the majority interest transfer since Aug. 13, but word of the proposed ownership change only leaked out over the weekend on a local website, LBReport.com.

"We are currently doing background checking on Bandero and have the right to refuse consent ... if it is not in the best interests of the citizens of Long Beach," Shannon said.

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