The Trump Taj Mahal casino, once among the centrepieces of billionaire Donald Trump’s casino empire, in Atlantic City near New York will shut down next month amid a worker strike over wages that has dragged on for weeks. The Republican presidential nominee had not been involved in the management of the casino for years but his name remains on the facade of the boardwalk property, which is now owned by Trump’s friend and fellow billionaire Carl Icahn, the ‘Wall Street Journal’ reported.
The casino, the last of the Atlantic City casinos bearing Trump’s name, will close around the first week of September. The closure of the casino that was opened in 1990 by Trump will cost about 3,000 workers their jobs, and reduce the number of casinos in Atlantic City to seven. The job losses will be in addition to 8,000 workers who lost their jobs when four Atlantic City casinos closed in 2014.
In 2014, Trump had sued to get his name off the casino and others in Atlantic City that later closed, “fretting their tattered state would harm his brand,” the report said. The labour strife at the casino was stirred by the last in a series of bankruptcies for Trump’s former gambling empire. In a statement, Tony Rodio, president and chief executive of Tropicana Entertainment Inc, which is also controlled by Icahn, blamed striking workers for the demise of the Taj.
“Our directors cannot just allow the Taj to continue burning through tens of millions of dollars when the Union has single-handedly blocked any path to profitability,” Rodio said in the report. Union chief Bob McDevitt criticised Icahn in a statement and likened billionaire investor to a “playground bully”.
“The great deal-maker would rather burn the Trump Taj Mahal down just so he can control the ashes,” McDevitt said.
“For a few million bucks, he could have had labour peace and a content workforce, but instead he’d rather slam the door shut on these long-term workers just to punish them and attempt to break their strike.” The report added that the Trump Taj Mahal workers are among the lowest-paid in Atlantic City, getting an average wage of less than $12 an hour. They also lost their health-care benefits as well as other labour contract protections in bankruptcy. Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has attacked Trump’s business record in Atlantic City.
In a campaign stop last month in the New Jersey town, Clinton had hit Trump for “multiple bankruptcies, stiffing contractors and spurring hundreds of job losses” during his time owning casinos in Atlantic City. “How can anybody lose money running a casino? Really,” Clinton had asked an audience in Detroit last month. “Trump economics is a recipe for lower wages, fewer jobs, more debt. He could bankrupt America like he’s bankrupted his companies,” she said.
A report in CNN said that Trump had filed four business bankruptcies in the last 30 years, all of which surrounded his casino holdings in Atlantic City. Trump filed for bankruptcy on the Taj Mahal in 1991 and the Trump Castle Associates in 1992.