Atlantic City Mayor Urges Icahn To Sell Closed Taj Mahal Casino
Billionaire Carl Icahn shutdown the Trump Taj Mahal casino on October 10, 2016 as the casino management and the Unite Here Local 54 union were unable to reach a mutual agreement on healthcare and benefits for casino employees. There were rumours that Icahn had plans to re-open the casino under a new brand name which would allow him to hire a new set of casino employees that did not have ties with the Union.
However, New Jersey legislators passed a bill that was retroactive from Jan 2016 preventing casino owners from reopening their closed casinos under a new name due to the new casino licensing restrictions.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement stated that Icahn’s company filed a petition on December 22nd to surrender the Trump Taj Mahal casino license. The company also filed a deed petition in the New Jersey Supreme Court to prevent any future buyer of the Trump Taj Mahal casino from reopening the property as a casino without paying a special fee.
Mayor Don Guardian made an unofficial state of the city speech earlier this week and stated that continuing to keep Trump Taj Mahal casino shuttered was the ‘worst of the worst’ outcomes for the property which occupies a huge portion of Atlantic City’s boardwalk. Mayor Guardian wants Carl Icahn to sell the property, make a profit and move on. Atlantic City has witnessed 5 out of its 12 casinos close since 2014 and has seen its gross gaming revenue from the casino industry drop by nearly 50 percent during the last 10 years.
In a statement, Mayor Guardian went on to say
He doesn’t have any faith in the city, I get it. But don’t let us lose that building on the Boardwalk. We need that activity and those jobs.
Icahn responded to the Mayor’s comments by stating that it was wrong for the Mayor to attack someone who rescued the struggling Tropicana casino and who attempted to do the same thing with the Trump Taj Mahal. Icahn went on to say that it was easy for Mayor Guardian to say sell the casino at a profit and walk away but it was easier said than done.
Icahn has reportedly lost close to $300 million on the Taj Mahal casino and said that if the Mayor was able to meet this price, he would be happy to sell. He also questioned why the Mayor did not reach out and offer to help when they were battling with the Local 54 union last year.
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