Atlantic City's Trump Taj Mahal casino, which opened in 1990 and fell into bankruptcy under the ownership of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, will see its stay on the boardwalk come to an end in September. Tropicana Entertainment Inc., the casino's current parent company, announced Wednesday it will close for good after Labor Day weekend, according to NJ.com. The company says a labor strike by hospitality workers is to blame.
Nearly 1,000 Taj Mahal employees, members of the Unite Here labor union, went on strike July 1 over healthcare and pension benefits that were lost following the 2014 bankruptcy. Tony Rodio, president and chief executive officer of Tropicana, claims the company has made concessions, but not enough to stop the strike.
Tropicana is owned by billionaire Carl Icahn, who has received less-than-stellar reviews since taking over the casino from Trump Entertainment Resorts, which is now a subsidiary of Icahn's company. Speaking with Eater two weeks after going on strike, multiple employees indicated Icahn played a role in running the casino into the ground. "Things started to change as soon as Carl Icahn got involved," bartender Ed Watson said. "He brought in an aggressive management team and would not put any money into the property, driving it into disrepair."
"Everything has been downhill since Carl Icahn came in," bartender Vince Scotti said. "He's known for busting unions and that's what he's trying to do now. We're not here [picketing] just for the money. We have no healthcare. We gave away our vacation days, our sick days. ... Guys like me, we're over the hill. We're here for the younger people. These are employees being subsidized by taxpayers because a billionaire won't give them anything."
Rodio disputes those allegations. Tropicana "to date has lost almost $100 million trying to save the Taj," he said, according to the Guardian. Even if the union were to immediately agree to Tropicana's terms, he says the casino is already doomed: "Currently the Taj is losing multi-millions a month, and now with this strike, we see no path to profitability."