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Petition to Close the Trump Taj Mahal Officially Submitted
- September 12, 2016 By Oliver Young -
In what can be only described as a long-due end to an era full of financial difficulties, the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City is now officially confirmed to be closing. The confirmation came on Friday, September 9th, after a petition to the Gaming Enforcement Division of New Jersey was made public.
According to New Jersey Law, an official approval from the Gaming Enforcement Division is needed before a casino venue can be closed. The official closure date is October 10th, prior to which a number of procedures will have to be completed. The closing procedures involve the storage of unsold liquor, unplugging slot machines and destroying table game inventories like dice, cards, and playing chips.
The official confirmation came after a short period of speculation whether the closure is for real, as this is the second time owners of the casino threatened to close due to financial problems in a two year period.
A Troubled Venue
The Trump Taj Mahal has had a long streak of bad luck that began in September of 2014 when the previous owners Trump Entertainment Resorts announced its bankruptcy and closure. That year was a troublesome year for Atlantic City casinos that saw the closing of four other venues and the management at the time announced that it will likewise close the Taj Mahal unless it was granted union concessions, which drove workers to appeal to the mayor’s office.
Regardless of the efforts of its workers, the tax breaks never came and the closure was announced for December 2014. However, only two days before the official date the UNITE HERE union reached an agreement with Trump Entertainment Resorts that saw the workers’ health insurance and pension packages cancelled and saved the casino. It was at that same day that the current owner, Carl Icahn, stepped in and committed to invest $20 million in the casino.
But despite the hope of a fresh start, the casino has been since plagued by financial problems and obstacles. The most recent one was in 2015, when the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the US Department of Treasury slapped a $10 million fine to the Trump Taj Mahal for failure to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act. And even though the fine was watered down to $50,000, it announced the beginning of the end to the financially problematic venue.
The Final Blow
The same deal that saved the Trump Taj Mahal back in 2014 was the deal that brought its overdue closure in June 2016, when the UNITE HERE union members decided it was time to re-negotiate the health insurance and pension plans terminated during the bankruptcy procedure.
The termination of benefits officially made the Trump Taj Mahal workers the first in the history of Atlantic City casinos to work without health care. The lack of health care together with the unchanging hourly wages was the primary reason for their two month strike.
The strike has become the longest strike in Atlantic City history and Carl Icahn has repeatedly cited it as the number one reason for deciding to close down the venue. According to his statements, the management has made several efforts to reach a reasonable agreement, but all of them were turned down by the union members.