After New Jersey lawmakers told Carl Icahn that he would not receive tax breaks to keep the Trump Taj in operation, he speculated that the casino would likely close. Earlier this week, Taj employees were issued a revised WARN notice that told them that the casino will likely close in December.
On Monday, Trump Entertainment issued a statement to their employees telling them the property will close sometime between December 1 and December 15 unless further financial assistance is received to help keep the property open
Casino Could Be Saved But Time is Running Out
The WARN notice to employees pointed to recent concessions forced from the union by a bankruptcy judge and how those changes helped keep the casino afloat through November. Trump Entertainment reportedly could save $14 million by abandoning pension payments and health care coverage to union employees.
Despite these concessions, Trump Entertainment needs additional help to stay open. Icahn plans to convert debt into equity, assume ownership of the Taj, and pump $100 million of his own money into the casino to renovate it. However, he is seeking state assistance to achieve this. If he does not receive the assistance, he will abandon the project.
State lawmakers have repeatedly stated they will block any attempt for state aid and Atlantic City’s mayor has refused a request for reduced property tax rates. While time is remaining to come up with another solution, one has not been floated and Icahn is hinting that the property will close.
Taj Could Be Fifth Casino to Close – 3,000 to Lose Jobs
Unless a last minute miracle comes about, the Trump Taj Mahal will become the fifth Atlantic City casino to close in 2014. It will join Trump Plaza, Revel, Showboat and the Atlantic Club as defunct casino properties.
The closure couldn’t come at a worse time for approximately 3,000 employees, as it will leave them unemployed at Christmas and attempting to look for employment in a city that ranks nearly dead last in the United States in job growth. The beginning of the year is always the most difficult time to find work and couple that with an industry nearly cut in half and some families could go without work for an extended period.