Atlantic City Tests Trump Disdain, Sets Auction On His Former Casino Demolition

Posted on: December 17, 2020, 08:32h. 

Last updated on: December 17, 2020, 12:34h.

Atlantic City is holding an auction now through Jan. 19 for the rights to push the demolition button that will bring down the long-shuttered Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.

Atlantic City casino Trump Plaza auction
Whoever ponies up the most money for the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City will have the honors of hitting the blast button on Trump Plaza. (Image: Press of Atlantic City)

The Atlantic City government announced this week that the Trump Plaza Boardwalk eyesore is on the auction block. The high bidder will hit the blast button on January 29 when its implosion is set to occur. Funds raised from the event will be donated to the local Boys & Girls Club.

Some of Atlantic City’s iconic moments happened there. But on his way out, Donald Trump openly mocked Atlantic City, saying he made a lot of money and then got out,” declared Mayor Marty Small (D).

The mayor added that he wanted to use the demolition to raise money for charity.

The deteriorating former casino resort, closed since September of 2014, is owned by billionaire Carl Icahn, who acquired Trump Entertainment Resorts (TER) in 2016. There are no Trump Entertainment casinos in operation today.

Trump Record

Trump Plaza opened in May of 1984 as Harrah’s at Trump Plaza. After the future president and Harrah’s — then the gaming unit of Holiday Inn — had a falling out, Trump bought out its stake and renamed the property two years later.

Despite its financial struggles, Trump opened another casino resort in Atlantic City in 1990. Taj Mahal further exacerbated Plaza’s difficulties, turning a profit. TER would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection four times. It did so less than a year after opening the Taj Mahal, and again in 2004, 2009, and 2014.

Meanwhile, Trump critics say, the 45th president made a fortune while contractors and creditors were left unpaid. Trump bragged about his business savvy and use of Chapter 11.

We have one of the most powerful gaming companies the day it comes out of bankruptcy,” Trump declared. “There’s no way we could have done that without the ‘B’ word.”

When things continued not to go the way Trump predicted, the real estate mogul eventually exited the gaming industry. Private equity firm Avenue Capital acquired TER in 2009 but afforded Trump a five percent stake in the reorganized company, and another five percent in exchange for the use of his name and likeness.

TER never turned profitable, and in 2014 the company filed for bankruptcy for the fourth time. Trump, at the time, filed a lawsuit to have his name removed from the struggling casinos.

“I let them use my name, but I have nothing to do with it,” Trump declared that year. “I got out seven years ago — my timing was impeccable.”

Trump Contempt

Trump critics feel the bringing down of Trump Plaza couldn’t come at a better time. His former Atlantic City property will fall just nine days after Joe Biden is scheduled to be sworn into office.

“There is something poetic that the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City is scheduled for implosion about a week after President Biden takes office,” opined former Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) last month.

As the president departs yet another city with plenty of foes, back in Atlantic City the auction will reveal just how bad some New Jerseyans loathe the president. Mayor Small believes the auction could raise as much as $1 million.