The Real Deal New York

Carl Icahn will try to sell failing Taj Mahal casino

Billionaire closed Atlantic City carpet joint after refusing to give workers benefits they requested
February 06, 2017 05:50PM

From left: Carl Icahn, Steve Sweeney and the Trump Taj Mahal casino (Credit: Getty Images and Andrew Borysowski)

Last year the octogenarian billionaire Carl Icahn bought the once Trump-owned Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, soon after closed it, and now says he’ll sell it, all because of one persnickety New Jersey legislator.

New Jersey state senate leader Steve Sweeney introduced a bill last year that would have prohibited owners of closed casinos from retaining their gambling license, an attempt to prevent casino owners from closing shop temporarily and then reopening with the aim of hiring non-union workers. The bill came on the heels of an unsuccessful strike by Taj Mahal’s casino staff, who were seeking to restore pension and health insurance benefits that were stripped from them under a bankruptcy court ruling in 2014.

Gov. Chris Christie vetoed Sweeney’s bill, accusing Taj Mahal’s former employees of refusing “to negotiate in good faith.” But the veto wasn’t enough for Icahn.

“After Sweeney’s irresponsible actions, I have made a decision to sell the Taj if I can, but not to invest the $100 million to $200 million in it that I was going to,” Icahn told the Associated Press. “I’m done with it.”

President Donald Trump in December named Icahn, a longtime associate, as a special adviser on regulatory overhaul, and was said to have advised Trump on decisions to nominate Steven Mnuchin to Secretary of the Treasury and Wilbur Ross to Secretary of Commerce. [AP]Will Parker