The backstory on the Taj Mahal in AC
The beleaguered and now-shuttered landmark casino ended its 26-year run when it finally closed in October after a crippling labor strike.
Carl Icahn, the property’s owner (and an original stakeholder in the Taj when Donald Trump opened the casino in 1990) incited a good amount of union wrath last July when he refused to offer health care and a pension to casino employees.
As a result, the UNITE HERE Local 54 labor union went on strike on July 1. The group’s efforts debilitated the casino’s revenue, leading to closure in October. Later, rumors surfanced that Icahn was in talks to sell the Taj.
Trump Taj Mahal suitors unknown, but sale makes sense
Since Icahn’s alleged efforts to sell the Taj first came to light, there haven’t been any new reports revealing a potential buyer. In fact, Icahn has since said the resort is not for sale.
While we’re not sure if the casino will be sold or to whom, we do know that such a move could make sense for Icahn. The property has been toxic for the billionaire, raining down headaches since he bought it.
Before it became known that Icahn might want to sell, there were rumors that the billionaire was waiting until the new year to reopen the Taj. The move would have drawn the ire of labor bosses who likely would accuse Icahn of strike-busting in such a scenario.
Perhaps this is why New Jersey’s legislature passed a bill imposing a five-year license ban on any casino owners who “substantially closed a casino” in the state. Among requirements to reopen the casino would be hiring union employees.
The bill has yet to be signed by Gov. Chris Christie.
The downfall of the Taj Mahal
As mentioned earlier, Icahn’s Trump Taj Mahal took a graceless fall this year as it limped into October saddled with losses and a tour de force of opposition from Atlantic City workers.
A spokesperson for the Taj said closing was inevitable — the casino was losing millions of dollars a month because of the strike. Icahn’s feud with local labor unions stretched all the way back to 2014, when he first purchased interest in the casino from Trump.