- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - The New Jersey Senate approved a measure Thursday that would punish billionaire Carl Icahn for shutting down the Trump Taj Mahal casino by prohibiting him from holding a casino license for it for five years.

The bill would only apply to Icahn at this time, even though four other Atlantic City casinos have shut down since 2014.

Icahn’s Atlantic City management team says the bill is unfair and unconstitutional, making it virtually impossible to reopen the Taj Mahal should they decide to do so.

The bill has not yet been voted on in the state Assembly. If passed by the full Legislature, it is likely to be vetoed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who has made criticism of some labor unions a key part of his political agenda.

Tony Rodio, president of Tropicana Entertainment who ran the Taj Mahal for Icahn, said Wednesday the bill will scare away future investment in Atlantic City if government interjects itself into the collective bargaining process.

Democratic Senate president Steve Sweeney said Thursday the bill will prevent Icahn from sitting on the license of a closed casino indefinitely.

“Casino owners shouldn’t be manipulating the system and exploiting bankruptcy laws as a way to break unions and take away the rights and benefits of the workers,” he said. “Atlantic City’s gaming industry is obviously experiencing the difficult challenges of competition from other states, but the answer is not to engage in practices that punish the workers.”

In a statement issued the day before the vote, Rodio blasted the action as harmful to Atlantic City’s future.

“I don’t see any reason for anyone to want to invest in the casino industry in Atlantic City given this adversarial investment climate being created by some leaders of our state Legislature, the same ones who are supporting the North Jersey gaming referendum that will certainly result in the closure of many more Atlantic City casinos and future disqualification of their present owners under this bad legislation,” he said. “It also raises serious questions why anyone would want to invest in the State of New Jersey at all if the State legislature moves forward with this business, job and growth killing legislation.”

The bill would prohibit anyone who closes a casino from holding its casino license for five years. But it would not apply to the four casinos that closed in 2014: The Atlantic Club, Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza.

It would restore the license if the owner of a closed casino reaches a deal with its union workers to reopen it.

___

Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide