Earlier this month Senate President Steven Sweeney had stated that his bill S-2575 which seeks to revoke the license of closed New Jersey casinos and prevent owners from reopening their casinos under a new name within the first 5 years of their closure had been approved by a Senate committee and will go before the full chamber today.
If approved, Bill S-2575 will be retroactive from Jan 2016 and would prevent Carl Icahn, the owner of the Trump Taj Mahal casino which closed on October 10 from reopening the 4.2 million square foot resort after trying to bust the union representing workers there. Icahn and the Local 54 Unite-HERE union were unable to reach a mutual agreement on healthcare and benefits which led to the longest Union strike in the history of Atlantic City and finally Icahn decided to close the casino which resulted in more than 3,000 Trump Taj Mahal employees losing their jobs. Many have reasoned that Icahn set out to circumvent collective bargaining laws, and the senate bill would leave him with a bluff poker hand.
Under existing gambling law in New Jersey, Icahn can retain the Trump Taj Mahal casino license and reopen the casino with new staff.
The Trump Taj Mahal casino management had previously not given any indication of wanting to reopen the casino under a new name and had made mention of the fact that none of the owners of the four casinos to shut down in Atlantic City had reopened under a new name. Tropicana Entertainment Inc which operated the Trump Taj Mahal casino has now released a statement through its president Tony Rodio.
In a statement, Rodio said “Punishing Mr. Icahn by revoking his ability to reopen the Taj or making further investments in Atlantic City for 5 years as well as restricting his ability to sell the Taj is unconscionable especially in light of his record in saving the Tropicana.”
Rodio targeted Sweeney and said that the legislator had introduced Bill S-2575 to punish Carl Icahn for closing the Trump Taj Mahal casino. Rodio also pointed out that the bill which is retroactive from Jan 2016 will have no impact on the other four closed casinos and only the Trump Taj Mahal and its owners will be impacted. Sweeney’s Bill S-2575 has been supported by other Democratic senators such as Brian P. Stack and Jim Whelan.