Trump Taj Mahal casino to shut down after huge losses
They blamed the closure, effective after the September 5 Labor Day holiday, on a strike that has dragged on more than a month in a dispute over workers’ health care and retirement benefits.
The Taj is losing millions each month, and Icahn Enterprises will cut its losses after losing nearly $100 million overall, the owners said.
“Unfortunately, we’ve reached the point where we will have to close the Taj after Labor Day weekend and intend to send WARN notices before this weekend,” said Tony Rodio, president and CEO of Tropicana Entertainment Inc., which is owned by Icahn. (The federal WARN law requires large companies to give employees 60 days notice of planned layoffs.)
“Our directors cannot just allow the Taj to continue burning through tens of millions of dollars,” Rodio said.
Trump filed for bankruptcy in 1991 over the Taj, a year after it opened to great hoopla, billed as the “eighth wonder of the world.” He gave up half his stake in the venture and sold his yacht and airline to come up with the funds needed to restructure its debt.
The New York billionaire went on to declare bankruptcy a further three times in connection with Atlantic City properties before finally pulling out of the Atlantic Ocean resort south of New York.
Business magnate Carl Icahn, whom Forbes values at $17 billion, took over the Taj after Trump Entertainment Resorts went through bankruptcy in a restructuring plan approved by a federal judge in 2015.
Bob McDevitt, president of the local chapter of the UniteHere union, on Wednesday denounced the closure and accused Icahn of being petty, saying he had taken away workers’ healthcare, retirement and dignity.
“For a few million bucks he could have had labor peace and a content workforce, but instead he’d rather slam the door shut on these long-term workers just to punish them and attempt to break their strike,” he said in a statement.
“If this is the guy Donald Trump wants to be Treasury secretary of the United States” — as Trump has said, though Icahn ultimately denied any interest in the job — “then this country is doomed.”