Carl Icahn, a billionaire who first saved the iconic Trump Taj Mahal casino and then proceeded to shut it down in October 2016, could be looking to sell the property according to some sources. Icahn was initially looking to keep the casino open but changed his mind after failing to find a common tongue with union representatives. Taj Mahal employees were pushing for better pension and health care conditions, and the billionaire refused to comply with their requests.
After all negotiations had failed, Icahn decided to act on his threats and shut down the casino completely. The move left some 3,000 employees out of work overnight. Experts suggested that Icahn might be doing this with an intention to reopen the casino under a new name and employ new workers. However, a recently passed bill awaiting verification from Governor Christie put a wedge in those plans, and the billionaire might now be on the lookout for a buyer.
Finding the Way Around New Legislation
The new bill proposes for the licenses of owners who closed down casinos after January 1, 2016, to be suspended for the period of five years. This would completely prevent Icahn from reopening Taj under a new name. However, selling to a different owner seems to be the way around the new law.
Should the billionaire be successful in finding an interested operator to take over, there would be no obstacles for the new owner to reopen the casino and employ the brand new, non-union workers. Hence, the proposed bill does very little to protect those who need the protection the most, i.e. former Taj employees. Icahn should have no trouble finding an interested party to buy the iconic casino, which would put him completely in the clear.
Fixing a $200 Million Loss
Reportedly, Carl Icahn lost around $200 million since he has bought the struggling property back in 2015. At first, he didn’t mind the losses, as he seemed convinced that Taj could restore its former glory. However, the billionaire decided not to throw any good money after bad once he realized there would be no compromise between him and the union.
Sales talks haven’t been officially confirmed as of yet, as Icahn refused to comment on the topic. Given the recent developments, however, it would hardly be surprising if the billionaire wanted to sell the property and be completely over the entire Taj Mahal episode. Where that leaves former employees is anybody’s guess.