Atlantic City mayor wishes to see Carl Icahn sell the Taj Mahal Casino so the building does not remain vacant on the Boardwalk.
While Carl Icahn may see himself as an asset to the Atlantic City area, many might see the billionaire businessman has a nuisance. After taking on the Trump Taj Mahal and fighting with union workers, the casino closed, with Icahn now sitting with an empty building along the Boardwalk.
A Little History
Icahn acquired the Taj Mahal Casino in bankruptcy court and asked if he could remove health and pension plans from unionized workers. He was given the go-ahead by the courts so money could be used to benefit the property instead. This decision did not sit well with employees and soon every union worker of the facility was on strike.
Negotiations began neither side could be satisfied with a compromise. In the end, Icahn decided to shut down the facility in October 2016. When this happened, employees of the venue claimed that Icahn was going to come back in the Spring and reopen with a new staff, one that was not unionized. This made legislators mad so a bill was passed by both the House and Senate which would basically stop the gaming license of the facility for 5 years. Icahn was the only person affected by the bill though he was not named. He was certainly mad and took matters into his own hands, giving up the license and putting a stipulation on the deed of the property that it may not be used as a casino unless a huge sum is paid to him by the new owner.
Sell, Sell, Sell
Now, the Atlantic City Mayor, Don Guardian, is calling Icahn out, wanting him to sell the building instead of allowing it to lay dormant along the Boardwalk. Icahn says he will sell if he able to collect the $300 million he lost while owning it. Guardian said that Icahn should sell the building, make a profit and move on since he does not have any faith in the city. He should not make the city lose out on the building that is located on the Boardwalk since the activity and jobs are needed.
Icahn responded to Guardian’s comments by stating that telling him that he should sell the Taj and make a profit is easier said than done. He has lost $300 million on the investment. If Guardian is a buyer at that price, he would be a happy seller. Icahn also called the mayor out for not helping during the strike in which he shut down the casino, stating that some help at that time would have been nice.
The Division of Gaming Enforcement of the state has confirmed that Icahn applied for permission to surrender the casino license of the Taj Mahal. This was done on the 22nd of December. At the same time, the state was looking to punish Icahn for closing the venue but putting new laws in place that will penalize any owner who shuts down a casino in Atlantic City after January 2016.
Chris Christie has yet to veto or sign the bill into law. It seems that Icahn is doing whatever he can to benefit himself instead of trying to find a way that will work for both himself and the city.
It will be interesting to see if a buyer emerges and if Icahn will sell quickly or if the building will remain a dark spot on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City.