Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort applied for bankruptcy in 2014 but was bailed out by billionaire Carl Icahn who has a lot of experience working with bankrupt casinos and turning them around. The Taj Mahal owed Icahn around $292 million but Icahn was prepared to forego his debt in exchange for ownership rights of the debt ridden casino.
New Jersey gambling regulators took their time to review the case before making a final decision to approve Carl Icahn’s ownership of the Trump Taj Mahal. This decision means that Icahn now has regulatory approval to own and operate two casinos in Atlantic City; Trump Taj Mahal and the Tropicana Casino and Resort. Icahn plans to invest another $100 million into the Trump Taj Mahal to change things around and revive the fortunes of this landmark casino in Atlantic City.
Icahn faces a number of challenges in turning around Trump Taj Mahal. One issue is his fight with a local union. The Trump Taj Mahal laid off a number of casino employees and also decided to eliminate healthcare and pension benefits in an effort to reduce overhead costs and help the casino to cut down on expenses.
Casino workers did not take kindly to these cuts and accused Icahn of being instrumental behind this decision to terminate their benefits. The Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union recently delivered a letter which conveyed their disapproval over the decisions made by the Trump Taj Mahal and accused Icahn of being the man behind the scenes who was pushing these cost cutting policies. The letter accused Icahn of hiding in his penthouse and exploiting Atlantic City casino workers to make himself even wealthier. The letter delivery was the eighth public protest by the union about the matter.
Icahn did not take these insults lightly and released a statement addressing the accusations that the Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union made. In a statement, Icahn said “Your union leadership has used lies to obfuscate the truth. They have enriched themselves at the expense of our companies and their employees. But this will no longer be a one-way street whereby union leadership intimidates and threatens corporate management and boards of directors. I am working assiduously to uncover the truth concerning Unite-HERE’s leadership, who I believe are entrenched, self-dealing and dishonest.”
There continues to remain a lot of controversy surrounding the Trump Taj Mahal as Trump Entertainment CEO Robert Griffin assured patrons of the casino that the casino wasn’t going to close its doors. Griffin assured customers that the casino was about to undergo a major makeover and will open up to the public with a modern look and offer them a number of exciting casino games.
Icahn has not made any such promises and has gone on record to say that should the court decide to restore the benefits of the Trump Taj Mahal casino employees, then he will shutdown the casino for good and not invest any more money to keep the casino afloat.