On Friday, an appeals court of Atlantic City ruled in favor of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino, stating the casino was within their legal right to end the pension and health insurance benefits for employees. With this ruling, the last big obstacle for Carl Icahn has been removed.
Trump Entertainment Resorts, the parent company of the casino, earned the positive ruling this week, after ending the benefits in October of last year. The change was made as part of the casino’s bankruptcy filing. The company chose to stop the benefits after stating they could no longer afford to pay for benefits. Instead, Trump decided to give workers stipends to be able to find insurance in the open marketing, including the Affordable Care Act.
In the meantime, Icahn has been in the process of acquiring the casino from the bankruptcy court and has used his own money to keep the venue afloat financially for over a year. Icahn actually threatened to cut funding if the court ruling would not be in his favor. If he had stopped the financial contributions, the Taj Mahal would have been forced to close.
Trump Entertainment board co-chairman, David Licht, stated that the savings of the decision by the bankruptcy court, which has been affirmed by the Court of Appeals, has allowed the Taj Mahal to keep their doors open and continue to employ the 2,600 individuals that work with the company. According to Licht, the decision ensure that the Trump Taj Mahal will be able to stay in business for the foreseeable future.
The casino workers union, the Local 54 of the Unite-HERE, have appealed the ruling and are arguing that a judge of the bankruptcy court does not have jurisdiction over if the company can end the benefits for employees. The union maintains that the right to make the decision is with the National Labor Relations Board, but the decision stood in favor of the Taj Mahal.
The Local 54 is now trying to decide how to move forward, which may include a legal challenge. The group had authorized a strike to take place against the casino but has yet to call for one to take place. Icahn has not commented on the ruling as of yet, but we do know this decision now clears the way for the billionaire to be able to take over the casino and carry out his plan to invest millions into the property.