After closing the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort in October amid a labor dispute concerning pension, health care and wager issues for its workers, billionaire businessman Carl Icahn is now reportedly in talks to sell the shuttered Atlantic City property to a rival casino operator.
According to a report from the New York Post newspaper, the discussions follow the New Jersey General Assembly passing legislation by a vote of 60 to 17 that would alter the current licensing protocols for casinos in Atlantic City and disqualify for five years any applicant that had “substantially closed” a property.
The passage of Assembly Bill 4187 on Monday was preceded in the New Jersey State Senate by the ratification of the identical Senate Bill 2575 in late-October although it is not known whether Republican governor Chris Christie will sign the combined measures into law as both only reportedly impact Icahn.
“[Icahn] is in dialogue with operators,” a source close to the situation reportedly told the New York Post on Tuesday.
The newspaper reported that the successful sale of the 167,000 sq ft New Jersey casino would see 80-year-old Icahn side-step the coming legislation and clear the way for another operator to re-open the property with non-union workers.
“The bill is another absurd antic by [New Jersey State Senate President Stephen] Sweeney that will hurt Atlantic City,” Icahn told the New York Post while adding that the measure may be unconstitutional particularly because it is retroactive to January of 2016.
Icahn reportedly has a long history with the 26-year-old Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and finally bought the struggling property outright following its bankruptcy in 2015. Since that time he has allegedly lost around $200 million on the investment although he declined to comment regarding the reported sale talks.
New York-born Icahn became engaged in a dispute with the local chapter of the UNITE HERE union almost immediately after taking control of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and shuttered the property only after failing to agree a new contract.