Despite his infamous standing among labor workers and those who watched the agonizing decline of the Trump Taj Mahal, the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) is considering giving Icahn a grant to tear down the shuttered Trump Plaza, the aged, terraced structure that closed in September 2014.
New Jersey Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney will have none of it. This past month he wrote a letter to the CRDA Chariman Robert Mulcahy asking that he reconsidering giving Icahn a grant to tear down the aging Trump Plaza.
“I read with tremendous disappointment and shock that your agency is considering awarding billionaire Carl Icahn a grant of tax dollars to demolish Trump Plaza, the casino hotel that he shuttered and closed,” Sweeney wrote in the letter, which Press of Atlantic City reporter Nicholas Huba posted on Twitter.
Senate president calls Icahn a “ruthless corporate raider”
Sweeney’s letter went on to call Icahn out for being a “ruthless corporate raider,” noting that the billionaire has closed two of the city’s most iconic properties: Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal.
Perhaps what is most interesting about the proposed grant is that the CRDA would use tax dollars to fund the grant, essentially using taxpayers’ money to give Icahn a pass.
What is not known is how much that grant would be. What we do know, according to reports from NJ.com, is that the demolition will most likely be an implosion (ironically enough). The site noted that the demolition of Las Vegas’ Riviera casino cost $42 million.
Icahn’s disappointing history in Atlantic City
In the past three years, two developers have stoked the ire of AC and New Jersey casino enthusiasts: Glenn Straub and Icahn.
What makes Icahn the more vilified personality is that he descended into a bitter, cantankerous labor battle with Local 54 UNITE HERE in 2016, a siege that led to the Taj’s closure in October of that year. Straub, on the other hand, owns the TEN AC (formerly Revel) but has yet to actually open a functioning casino. Revel is in the process of being sold to AC Ocean Walk LLC, although Straub continues to deny this.
Icahn certainly didn’t help his case in the years leading up to the Taj closure, either. As far back as 2014 he penned public letters leveling scathing criticism against union leaders, often casting them in an unsavory light.
Meanwhile, workers were pleading with the owner to reinstate essential benefits lost during the Taj’s bankruptcy proceedings.
With such a history as this, it’s no wonder that Sweeney wrote the following further down in his letter to the CRDA:
“Mr. Icahn should pay — not the hardworking men and women of the region who have been savaged by his so-called corporate restructurings. Insulting, to say the least.”
Image credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani