Trump Taj Signage eBay Auction Ignites Legal Battle

Posted on: February 27, 2017, 03:00h. 

Last updated on: February 27, 2017, 12:07h.

Donald Trump’s name may have become synonymous with lawsuits over the years but now it has, quite literally, become the subject of its own legal squabble.

Trump Taj sign ownership dispute
Workers remove the Trump Taj signage shortly before it was reportedly snapped up by a passing urban recycling company. (Image: Michael EiN/Press of Atlantic City)

Litigation has erupted between two companies over ownership of the iconic “Trump” signage which, until recently, adorned the front of the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.

The plaintiff in the case, a firm called (and we kid you not) RUMP (Recycling of Urban Materials for Profit), claims it bought the letters fair and square from a worker outside the Taj for $250. Ignoring the temptation to ditch the “T” and use it as its own logo, RUMP put the letters on eBay.

Bought For $250

“Within days, the bidding reached $7,500, with hundreds of individuals bidding or watching the progress of the auction to make later bids,” states the lawsuit.

RUMP hoped it would get six-figures for the two sets of letters it had acquired but the auction was aborted by eBay following a complaint by the defendants, Eastern Sign Tech and Trump Taj Mahal Associates, that they had been stolen.

But RUMP’s lawsuit begs to differ. It says that two unnamed partners in the firm were driving past the Taj on February 16 and spotted the logos being removed. After making inquiries, they were told by a worker that they were going to be destroyed.

The worker “recounted how the day before he was transporting a large ‘Trump’ sign on a truck for disposal, which was greeted throughout his travels in the Atlantic City area by rude gestures and insults.”

According to the suit, the worker agreed to the sale after consulting a supervisor. The RUMP partners were confronted by a security guard as they were loading the letters into the truck. When they explained the situation, he congratulated them on getting “a bargain.”

“Sign Was Stolen” Claims

But the worker, believed to be the site foreman, has told his paymasters the signage was stolen and Eastern Sign and Trump Taj Mahal Associates believe they are the rightful owners and want it back.

The lawsuit, which seeks clarification of who actually owns the signs, contests that the defendants abandoned ownership “by contracting for the disposal of the letters once they were removed.” The company is also seeking compensation in excess of $100,000, the amount it believes the signs would have reasonably been sold for had the eBay auction been permitted to proceed.

The Taj officially closed its doors in October after being “rescued” from its third bankruptcy by the billionaire corporate raider and Trump special adviser Carl Icahn. But disagreements between Icahn and the unions over curtailed worker benefits resulted in months of industrial action that ultimately sealed hastened the casino’s demise.