Trump’s Taj Mahal casino closedArchive
ATLANTIC CITY: Donald Trump built the Taj Mahal casino and once called it “the eighth wonder of the world.” The Republican candidate in the race for the presidency who took his Atlantic City casinos through bankruptcy four times minced no words about Monday’s shutdown of the gambling hall.
“There’s no reason for this,” Trump told this news agency in a recent interview as his friend and fellow billionaire Carl Icahn prepared to close the casino.
Just before 6am on Monday, the Taj Mahal shuttered its doors amid a strike by union members that lasted over 100 days. It is the fifth Atlantic City casino to close since 2014.
Trump said both sides should have been able to work out a deal to keep the casino open. Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union went on strike July 1, after it could not agree with Icahn on a new contract to restore health insurance and pension benefits that were terminated two years ago in bankruptcy court.
Icahn decided on Aug 3 to close the casino, saying it lacked a “path to profitability.” And now, Trump said, it’s too late. “Once it closes, it’s too expensive to ever reopen it,” he said.
Yet that option is exactly what the union’s president, Bob McDevitt, and many striking Taj Mahal workers suspect might happen.
McDevitt said “there’s a strong possibility” that Icahn will keep the casino closed over the winter while conducting renovations and capital improvements, then attempt to reopen it in the spring as a non-union facility.
McDevitt said union job actions including picketing and a campaign to get convention groups to patronise other Atlantic City casinos would immediately resume if the Taj attempts to reopen without a union contract.
Published in Dawn October 11th, 2016