Icahn to sell closed Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City

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By Jennifer Ablan | NEW YORK

NEW YORK Billionaire activist investor Carl
Icahn said on Monday he planned to sell his shuttered Trump Taj
Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, likely bringing an
end to his troubled relationship with the city.

Icahn, a special adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, the
original owner of the casino, will sell the Taj Mahal – possibly
at a loss – instead of investing the $100 million to $200
million it needs to keep going, according to a statement on his
website.

Icahn closed the 26-year-old Taj Mahal in October 2016 after
failing to reach a new contract with union employees.

New Jersey legislators accused him of planning to close the
casino only briefly in order to reopen it shortly after with
lower wages and benefits for employees.

In an attempt to prevent that, the state’s legislature last
year passed a bill that would disqualify individuals who closed
a casino since January 2016 from holding a gambling license in
the state for five years.

That legislation was vetoed on Monday by New Jersey Governor
Chris Christie, a Republican, who called it a “transparent
attempt to punish the owner of the Taj Mahal casino.”

Despite the fact Christie vetoed the bill, Icahn railed
against the sponsor of the legislation, New Jersey Senate
President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat, on his website on Monday.

“I believe other large investors will similarly have no
interest in investing significant amounts in Atlantic City or
New Jersey as long as Sweeney is in control of the Senate,” he
said.

In a statement later on Monday, Sweeney criticized Icahn and
Christie’s decision to veto.

“The only person who will benefit from this veto will be
billionaire investor Carl Icahn,” said Sweeney. The veto “will
allow Icahn to exploit and manipulate bankruptcy laws and casino
licensing regulations in ways that would enrich himself at the
expense of regular casino workers and the families who depend on
them.”

The Taj Mahal was once the flagship of Trump’s casino
empire, which at its peak had four properties, three of them in
New Jersey. Trump lost control of the casinos through a series
of bankruptcies with Icahn ultimately emerging as the sole owner
of the Taj Mahal. The casino is owned by Icahn Enterprises
, the investment firm controlled by Icahn.

Trump named Icahn as a special adviser to his administration
in December, tasked with helping him overhaul federal
regulations.



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