- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 13, 2015

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - The CEO of Trump Entertainment Resorts retired with the transfer of its lone Atlantic City casino to billionaire Carl Icahn still pending.

Bob Griffin stepped down Tuesday, more than a year after he intended to begin his retirement in Colorado, where his family moved six months ago.

Griffin had been overseeing the company’s fourth bankruptcy and the acquisition of its lone casino, the Trump Taj Mahal, by Icahn. But a key court ruling on whether the company will have to restore employee health insurance and pension benefits that it ended a year ago still hasn’t happened, and Griffin said he can’t way any longer. Icahn has said if he loses the ruling, he will cut off funding, forcing the Taj Mahal to close.

“My plan was always to retire at 55,” Griffin told The Associated Press. “But when I hit it, we were in bankruptcy, so I stayed. Then 56 came and we’re still in bankruptcy. This could go on another six months. I’ve tried to hang in there, but it’s time to leave.”

Griffin was hired in September 2010 to succeed Mark Juliano as CEO of the company which at one point was run by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. (Trump said he has had no involvement with the company for at least six years other than a 10 percent ownership stake.)

Griffin oversaw the shutdown of Trump Plaza in September 2014, and was prepared to close the Taj Mahal last fall before Icahn agreed to provide funding to keep it open through its bankruptcy filing.

The company tried unsuccessfully to sell Trump Plaza and the Taj Mahal as Atlantic City’s casino market contracted in 2014. Trump Plaza was one of four Atlantic City casinos to go out of business last year.

A bankruptcy court in Delaware already approved Icahn to be the next owner of Trump Entertainment Resorts. But before that can happen, an appeals court must rule on a challenge brought by Local 54 of the Unite-HERE casino workers union seeking to restore benefits that the bankruptcy court allowed the company to end last October.

Griffin also said harsh criticism from Stockton University over Trump Entertainment’s refusal to waive its legal rights to block the former Showboat casino from operating as a satellite college campus hurt his family as well.

“A lot of our friends that we went to Stockton with now blame us for this,” he said. “We lost friends over it.”

Stockton has since agreed to sell the Showboat to Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein, but the legal situation with Trump Entertainment remains unresolved.

Griffin said the company will promote someone from within its ranks to succeed him until Icahn takes over. The appointment of an interim CEO should happen by the end of the week, he said.

Wayne Parry can be reached at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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