Billionaire business magnate and investor Carl Icahn (pictured) issued a statement on Monday indicating that his company, Trump Taj Mahal Associates, Inc, will sell the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City.
The statement by Icahn, a special adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, who is the original owner of the 4.2 million-square-foot property, comes on the same day as Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have punished Icahn for closing the Taj Mahal.
According to the statement by Icahn on his website, rather than investing the estimated $100 to $200 million deemed necessary by the company, the Taj Mahal will be sold, possibly at a loss. In the statement, Icahn said that “Sweeney has already done irrevocable damage to Atlantic City specifically and New Jersey in general,” in reference to the state’s Senate president Stephen Sweeney. Icahn added, “I believe other large investors will similarly have no interest in investing significant amounts in Atlantic City or New Jersey as long as Sweeney is in control of the Senate.”
In October, a bill that was sponsored by Sweeney that called for a license suspension for a period of five years for anyone who shut down a casino after January 2016 was passed by New Jersey legislators. The measure seemed at the time to be aimed at Icahn specifically after he closed the Taj Mahal in October after failed contract negotiations with UNITE HERE Local 54 union. On Monday, the bill was vetoed by Christie who reportedly called it 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.”
Sweeney said the veto of the bill “is flat-out wrong,” and “The only person who will benefit from this veto will be billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who is a good friend of the casino’s namesake, Donald Trump,” according to the Press of Atlantic City.
Last month, New Jersey gambling regulators revealed that Icahn’s company petitioned the state Division of Gaming Enforcement on December 22nd for permission to surrender the casino and liquor licenses for the Taj Mahal. At the same time the company filed a deed restriction in state Superior court that would prohibit any future buyer of the property from using the facility for gaming purposes unless a fee is paid.
Icahn owns both the Tropicana Casino & Resort and the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and in March last year, took over the Taj Mahal, one of three New Jersey properties once owned by President Donald Trump, through a bankruptcy restructuring plan. The Atlantic City property is owned by Icahn Enterprises LP (NASDAQ: IEP) the investment firm controlled by Icahn.