Former Trump Plaza Atlantic City Workers Receive Severance Checks Four Years After Resort Closing

Posted on: October 7, 2018, 10:00h. 

Last updated on: October 5, 2018, 07:08h.

Hundreds of former Trump Plaza employees in Atlantic City are receiving severance checks more than four years after the Boardwalk casino resort closed in September of 2014.

Trump Plaza Atlantic City union
Many years after the Trump Plaza closed, employees are finally receiving their severances. (Image: Michael Ein/Press of Atlantic City/

The Unite Here Local 54 casino workers union negotiated a deal in 2009 with Trump Entertainment Resorts that required the company to pay certain employees in the event that the property closed. It did just that when Trump Entertainment filed for bankruptcy in 2014 and shuttered operations at the 900-room hotel and gaming venue.

Roughly 1,300 employees lost their jobs as a result. Now, 354 are eligible to receive severance checks for $1,500 each. To qualify, workers needed to be employed full-time at the resort for at least one year, and stayed with the property until within 90 days of its closing.

Trump Plaza opened in 1984 as Harrah’s at Trump Plaza, but “Harrah’s” was removed five months later. Donald Trump bought out Harrah’s stake in the property in 1986.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton delivered a speech in front of Trump Plaza in 2016 in an effort to mock the now-president’s business tenure in Atlantic City. “How could anybody lose money running a casino?” she asked.

Five Atlantic City casinos closed between 2014 and 2016.

Union Victory

Unite Here Local 54 filed a claim in bankruptcy court for the release of the severance money to qualified workers. The legal system dragged on for years, as corporate raider Carl Icahn acquired Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2016.

The length of time this has taken to get in the hands of the workers is an indictment of the bankruptcy court system,” Unite Here Local 54 President Bob McDevitt told the Press of Atlantic City. “This should have been resolved a long time ago.”

Icahn and McDevitt have little admiration for one another. It was just in June that former Trump Taj Mahal workers, an Atlantic City casino that Icahn closed in October of 2016 after a bitter labor dispute with Local 54, collected $850.76 each from the billionaire. The payouts stemmed from a bankruptcy court decision that allowed Icahn to halt or reduce certain benefits.

“The thing that makes this nice is it’s Carl’s money,” McDevitt said at the time. In 2016, Icahn stated, “The best thing that could happen for Atlantic City would be for McDevitt to leave, and I’d happily buy him a one-way plane ticket and pay his moving expenses.”

Resort Future

Icahn sold Tropicana Entertainment in April for $1.85 billion, which effectively ended his business dealings in the gaming industry. However, he still owns the closed Trump Plaza.

Forbes estimates Icahn is worth more than $17 billion, but he’s still seeking financial aid in demolishing the Boardwalk resort. The business tycoon has revealed plans to implode the casino and main hotel tower, but leave the former Holiday Inn structure and rear parking garage.

Icahn has petitioned the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to use its Investment Alternative Tax (IAT), which is funded by casinos sharing 1.25 percent of their gross gambling revenue, to help him bring the Trump Plaza down. The IAT is typically used for non-gaming developments.

Icahn Enterprises says the demo will cost roughly $13 million.