August 10, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Atlantic City, NJ – Billionaire Carl Icahn said Aug. 3 that he plans to close the Trump Taj Mahal casino, where UNITE HERE Local 54 has been on strike since July 1, this fall.
Icahn, who acquired the casino by taking over its debts, told the Associated Press that he has lost nearly $100 million on it.
Local 54, which represents about 1,000 of the 3,000 workers, is trying to force the company to restore health-insurance and pension benefits a bankruptcy court allowed it to eliminate in 2014. Tony Rodio, president of Tropicana Entertainment, charged that “the union has singlehandedly blocked any path to profitability.” Local 54 President Bob McDevitt said Icahn could easily afford to restore workers’ health care, but “the great deal-maker would rather burn the Trump Taj Mahal down just so he can control the ashes. In the end, he'll have to live with what he's done to working people in Atlantic City.” “I give hundreds of millions to charity, but this is a business; it's not a charity,” Icahn responded. McDevitt said employers must give a 60-day warning before they can close a workplace, so the casino will stay open at least until early October.