The Trump Taj Mahal resort is no more thanks to Carl Icahn, or depending on your point of view, the local labor union that went on strike at the Atlantic City casino. And while Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump opined that the resort that continued to bear his name didn’t need to close, Icahn is continuing to stand by his billionaire pal in his race for the White House.
“I’m very sad that they weren’t able to reach a deal,” Trump told the Associated Press last week. “It’s very sad to me. I felt they should have been able to make a deal.”
After a contentious labor dispute with the Unite Here Local 54 union, Icahn closed the Trump Taj Mahal on October 10.
But Trump’s criticism of Icahn’s failing to save the property he dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world” when it opened in 1990 isn’t severing their relationship. The recent “Access Hollywood” recording of Trump making obscene remarks about women is also water under Icahn’s bridge.
“Over my years I’ve listened to a lot of salacious talk in lock rooms, bachelor parties, et cetera, by a lot of high-level people, some of whom are now supposedly so outraged,” Icahn told CNBC this week.
“It is imperative that many changes in Washington must be made,” Icahn said. “I am therefore still obviously behind Donald Trump.”
Sweeny Pushes Icahn Ban
There’s a growing suspicion in Atlantic City that the Trump Taj Mahal hasn’t actually dealt its last hand. Many believe Icahn is simply shuttering the resort for the winter, with plans to reopen the casino in the spring as a non-union venue.
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-District 3) introduced legislation that would block such a scheme. Sweeney’s senate bill seeks to disqualify any person who “substantially closed” a casino from sitting on the gaming license and then using it to reopen the same facility under new terms.
The legislation would prevent someone like Icahn from using the casino license for five years.
Sweeney explained that his intent is to encourage “casino owners to help rebuild Atlantic City rather than keep their license and throw thousands of families to the curb.”
Sweeney Calling Icahn’s Bluff
Sweeney’s bill to block Icahn reopening the Taj has already been approved by a New Jersey Senate committee, and now awaits further consideration from the General Assembly.
Icahn hasn’t revealed, at least publicly, any future Taj plans.
“Despite our best efforts, which included losing almost $350 million over just a few short years, we were unable to save the Taj Mahal,” Icahn wrote on his website the day of the closing. “I am extremely grateful to all of the almost 3,000 employees for their hard work, especially those that stayed loyal to us during this trying period . . . I wish things had turned out differently.”
The Trump Taj Mahal was the fifth casino to close in Atlantic City since 2014.