Atlantic City Mayor Urges Carl Icahn to Sell Trump Taj Mahal
The Trump Taj Mahal has been closed for three months, a black hole on the uptown end of the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Its owner, Carl Icahn, shows little serious desire to do anything to revive it.
Last Wednesday, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian spoke with reporters after his State of Atlantic City speech at the Golden Nugget last Wednesday, saying he would like Icahn to sell the former poker mecca of the east coast to someone who well get it up and running again.
“It’s the worst of the worst, things like that,” Guardian said, referring to the Taj’s closing. “Taj Mahal was the crown jewel before the Borgata in Atlantic City. It’s a great facility, but it didn’t get that $100 million face lift that the other properties got in Atlantic City and so you knew it when you walked in there. But it’s a great property; I really hope that Mr. Icahn, if he doesn’t want to build, sells it…and lets someone else come in and do it.”
“He doesn’t have any faith in the city, I get it, or the state…but don’t let us lose that building and leave it vacant on the Boardwalk. We need the thousands of jobs, we need the taxes, and we need the type of activity that it draws to bring people to Atlantic City.”
Guardian added that he felt confident that eventually something will be figured out and Icahn will find a financially beneficial solution for himself and someone else will be able to get the action going again at the Taj Mahal.
Carl Icahn and his company Icahn Enterprises took control of the Taj Mahal after the casino’s former owner, Trump Entertainment Resorts, emerged from bankruptcy proceedings in February 2016. He had pledged the $100 million that Guardian mentioned, but wanted concessions from the Unite Here Local 54 union and tax breaks from the city and state in return. He got the concessions – union members lost their pension and healthcare benefits – but he didn’t get the tax breaks, so the $100 million was never invested.
During the first half of 2016, the union tried to negotiate with Icahn Enterprises to get their pension and healthcare back, but the company wouldn’t budge. Thus, about 1,000 Taj Mahal staff members went on strike in early July. A few weeks later, Tropicana Entertainment (the company that operates the Taj) President and CEO Tony Rodio announced that the casino would be closing, blaming it on a lack of profitability brought on by the strike.
Since October 10th, Icahn has been losing hundreds of thousands dollars a month letting it sit vacant, as utilities still cost money, as do things like property taxes. In late December, the New York Post reported that Icahn was in talks with other casino operators to possibly sell the casino, but last week, Icahn told the Associated Press that the Taj Mahal was not for sale.
He did make one exception: he said he would happily sell for $300 million to Mayor Guardian, which is the amount of money he says he has lost since owning the casino.
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