Taj Mahal “Will Almost Certainly Close” – Icahn

28 Oct 2014 | 05:30 Author: King, George

Carl Icahn, billionaire investor and owner of the Tropicana, has said that the Trump Taj Mahal’s finances were dire and, despite wishing he had never answered the phone when the call came through, has no intention of backing out of the deal to purchase the struggling casino.

“One overriding fact is perfectly clear: the Taj is quickly running out of money and will almost certainly close,” Icahn said in a statement to the Associated Press. “Reprehensibly, the union, instead of working with, and trying to help, the company to keep the Taj alive, is instead doing everything to destroy the possibility of saving the jobs of over 3000 employees.”

Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union put up picket lines on Friday the 25th of October where around 500 union members began to protest a decision to terminate their union contracts, effectively releasing the Taj Mahal from its pension and healthcare obligations.

Union members took to the sidewalk and were seen chanting in front of the casino, demanding the restoration of their healthcare. They did not block entrances and cars had no difficulty driving up to the casinos entrance although some pedestrians were forced to walk on the street to avoid the protestors.

“It’s really hard to know what to believe from him anymore,” said the President of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union, Bob McDevitt. “It’s pretty bizarre to say you want to help, when you start out as a lone wolf ripping away workers’ livelihood and dignity. Everyone else in this city and state is working together to move Atlantic City forward. You can’t start by moving thousands of people backwards.”

Trump Entertainment CEO, Robert Griffin, said that the demonstration was having absolutely no effect on business inside the casino. The company has also admitted that the state of its finances are grim but they have said that they are doing everything they can to save the casino and preserve the jobs of all its employees.

The casino had previously warned about the sate of their finances are did say they were running out of money in December, forcing them to shut their door in November if no plans could be made to save it.

Carl Icahn, who owns the casinos $286 million debt, said one of the plans was to cancel the debt and turn it into ownership of the Taj, coupled with a $100 million investment by his company. All of which would be subject to the cancellation of union contracts, saving the casino $14.6 million a year, as well as a state aid to the sum of $175 million.

Even with the cancellation of union contracts and a state bailout, Icahn has said he has “walked into a hornet’s nest here”. The casino is far from being saved and, as it stands at the moment, still looks like it could be the fifth Atlantic City casino to close this year. 

George King
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