When the legendary Taj Mahal announced a couple of month ago they will definitely shut down their business operation, there was still some hope that someone could come to the rescue and save the day. After yesterday, that option is off the table, as Taj Mahal closes for good, after having catered to patrons for quarter of a century.
7 casinos remain in AC as Taj Mahal closes
The past couple of years haven’t been too kind on Atlantic City casinos. With the Taj shutting down, only seven casinos remain operational in the city. Once, this number was twelve. The number has been nearly cut in half, leading to many people losing their jobs.
When billionaire Carl Icahn acquired the troubled Taj Mahal during bankruptcy procedures, it seemed like a light at the end of the tunnel, especially for 3,000 people employed by the property. However, the enthusiasm was short-lived, as Icahn made it quite clear he was all about business.
The billionaire decided the only way to keep the property alive was through cutting labor costs. The union would have none of that and the employees went on strike. They believed that putting pressure on Icahn would make him reconsider his position.
But, they were wrong.
Taj Mahal closes as no deal is achieved
Icahn simply wouldn’t give up on his plans to severely reduce pension and health benefits for the casino employees, stating that the reduction was necessary to make the Taj business viable again. The union saw things differently and kept insisting, despite Icahn’s threats that he would shut down the casino.
Apparently, he wasn’t bluffing.
Since the billionaire and employees clearly failed to find common language, Carl Icahn went on with his decision and the fabled casino was shut down yesterday morning (October 10). The sad ceremony was observed by some 200 former employees, some of whom were there since the day one.
For these people, the Taj Mahal was more than just a place of work. It was a part of their lives.
Icahn expressed his regrets that it had to come to this, emphasizing he wished things could have turned out differently. Whether his regret stems from the fact his $350 million investment went south or that some 3,000 people are out of work now is for the billionaire to know and for us to guess.
Donald Trump: It didn’t have to come to this
The current presidential candidate Donald Trump was the one who built the Taj Mahal back in 1990, calling it eighth wonder of the world. Now, as Taj Mahal closes down, he shared his views that it didn’t have to come to this. The Republican candidate stated that the both sides should had been able to work out the deal.
Now, Trump believes, it’s too late, as reopening the casino would be too expensive.
However, the union representatives don’t share this view. They are of the opinion that Icahn could try reopening the Taj after the winter, but this time without the union contract. Should this happen, the employees are determined not to let it fly.
On the other hand, Icahn’s actions in the past don’t really speak in favor of this. The odds are, the Taj Mahal will remain closed, and thus ,one of the best known casinos in the world will become a part of the gambling history.