Despite having closed its doors near the beginning of October 2016, the Trump Taj Mahal building is not for sale, according to its owner Carl Icahn. For those who might have missed the story, the long-standing Taj Mahal eventually closed its doors after a long, tense battle with Atlantic City’s largest casino worker’s union.
Despite there being no immediate plans for repurposing the building, Icahn has explicitly stated his intent to retain ownership of the property. In a twist of sorts, Icahn has expressed his intent to sell the casino license for the building. Despite this, he is having paperwork drawn up which states, in part, that if the building is ever sold the person or company who purchases it will not be able to host casino games there unless they pay Icahn a fee that has, thus far, remained undisclosed.
If the battle between Icahn and the casino workers’ union was not enough, Icahn is providing a bit of a sequel. Just as he announced his plans to retain the Taj Mahal property, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement announced that they have accepted his request to “turn in” the site’s license.
This is all happening while New Jersey lawmakers are actively working to punish Icahn for his closing of the casino. Just last month, the New Jersey state government passed a bill that would levy a 5-year suspension on casino licenses against individuals/organizations who shutdown AC casinos after January of 2016. At this point in time that newly instituted law will impact one person and one person only; Carl Icahn.
The bill itself was drafted by president of the state Senate, Steve Sweeney. Sweeney’s motives for drafting such a bill likely have everything to do with the fact that he is and has been a union official. As is already quite apparent, Sweeney appears to have drafted this bill to get back at the man who many people believe is responsible for the downturn of Atlantic City’s casino industry.
As you could have probably guessed, Icahn is none too fond of Sweeney in particular nor the state legislature as a whole. He was quoted as saying, “When a guy like Sweeney goes after someone who saved the Tropicana and 3,000 jobs when no one else would, who would invest in New Jersey? The worst thing about New Jersey is they have Sweeney as head of the Senate. The best thing about New Jersey is they didn’t make him governor.” Clearly, there is no love lost between the two.
Despite all the heated exchanged of words between Icahn and a variety of others, we are no closer to knowing what the future holds for the Taj Mahal. Prior to all of this there was a feeling that Icahn, ever vengeful as he is, was going to reopen the site and employ a non-unionized workforce. Now that we know this cannot happen, the future is murkier than it has been for a while. President-elect Donald Trump opened the casino in 1990, and though it still bears his name the casino was actually forfeited by him as a result of bankruptcy.