Carl Icahn Rips New Jersey Senate President Sweeney, Gov. Christie Vetoes Casino Bill

Posted on: February 7, 2017, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: February 7, 2017, 10:56h.

Carl Icahn is ready to put a “for sale” sign up at the Trump Taj Mahal, but before the Atlantic City property goes into the MLS listings, the billionaire investor is first taking some time to lambaste State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D).

Carl Icahn Trump Taj Mahal Atlantic City
The Trump Taj Mahal will no longer be part of the Trump Entertainment Resorts brand, assuming billionaire Carl Icahn can find someone to buy the Atlantic City resort. (Image: Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Writing on his personal website, Icahn says of the Democrat, “A wise man once told me that the combination of power and irresponsibility in any person is extremely dangerous. Sweeney is the quintessential proof of that statement’s truth.”

Icahn shuttered the Taj Mahal last October after his company couldn’t come to terms with Unite Here Local 54, the casino union that represented the resort’s bartenders, wait staff, cooks, housekeepers, and other service employees.

During Icahn’s negotiations with the local workers union, Sweeney introduced legislation that sought to block casino owners from reopening venues they “substantially closed” for a minimum of five years. The bill was unquestionably directed at the billionaire, who many believed was scheming to resurrect the Taj in 2017 clear of union contracts.

After the city’s fifth casino in three years went dark, the New Jersey Legislature passed Sweeney’s bill. Soon after, Icahn willingly forfeited his casino license in mid-December.

He says he’s now looking for a buyer of the resort that President of the United States Donald Trump once dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

Sweeney Gets Vetoed

Though it appears Sweeney’s legislation at the very least angered Icahn, if not persuaded him to fold on the Trump Taj Mahal, the statute won’t be coming law under Governor Chris Christie’s (R) watch.

The former presidential candidate vetoed the bill this week, and also got in on the reprimanding of state politicians.

“This bill represents the Legislature at its worst; it is a transparent attempt to punish the owner of the Taj Mahal casino for making the business decision to close its doors after its union employees went on strike and refused to negotiate in good faith,” the governor explained in his dismissal. “This ill-conceived and poorly worded legislation that shamelessly backs one side in a labor dispute . . . has no place in our State’s laws.”

It might not come as too much of a surprise that Christie would favor Icahn on the Taj debacle. Like the governor, the serial takeover specialist is a longtime Republican, and is currently an unofficial regulatory advisor for President Trump.

Buyer’s Market

The Taj Mahal might be on the selling block soon, but Icahn says finding a buyer will be difficult, if not impossible.

The once-closed Showboat has reopened, but as a hotel-only facility. The new owner of Revel, the $2.4 billion disaster that was open for just over two years, is currently in heated negotiations with state gaming regulators to include gaming when the facility opens its doors later this month.

Icahn isn’t fully divested of Atlantic City. His holdings enterprise retains a 68 percent ownership stake in Tropicana Entertainment, which controls Tropicana Atlantic City.