Carl Icahn Shuts Trump Taj Mahal After 26 Years Of Operation; 3,000 Union Workers Lose Their Jobs

Tyler Durden's picture

In what may not have been the most opportune time for the presidential candidate, the Atlantic City casino bearing his name - if little else - the Trump Taj Mahal, which Donald Trump opened 26 years ago calling it "the eighth wonder of the world", officially closed today. To be sure, the now defunct structure had no trace of ownership to Trump, and instead was until yesterday owned by Trump's friend and fellow billionaire Carl Icahn, who closed the casino on Monday morning, making it the fifth casualty of Atlantic City's casino crisis. Nearly 3,000 workers lost their jobs, bringing the total jobs lost by Atlantic City casino closings to 11,000 since 2014.

The sprawling Boardwalk casino, with its soaring domes, minarets and towers built to mimic the famed Indian palace, shut down at 5:59 a.m., having failed to reach a deal with its union workers to restore health care and pension benefits that were taken away from them in bankruptcy court. 

Picketers affixed an anti-Icahn poster that they had signed to the casino's main Boardwalk entrance door. It proclaimed "We held the line." "We held the line against a billionaire taking from us!" said Marc Scittina, a food service worker at the Taj Mahal's player's club since shortly after it opened in 1990. "This battle has been going on for two years."

Indeed they did, however as a result, they are now unemployed in one of the worst job markets in the US.

The union went on strike July 1, and Icahn decided to shut the place down a little over a month later, determining there was "no path to profitability."

* * *

The Taj Mahal becomes the fifth Atlantic City casino to go out of business since 2014, when four others shut their doors. Unlike previous closures, however, this shutdown was different: it involves a casino built by the Republican candidate for president, who took time out from the campaign trail to lament its demise. "I felt they should have been able to make a deal," Trump told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "It's hard to believe they weren't able to make a deal."

As ABC notes, Chuck Baker, a cook at the Taj Mahal since the day it opened in April 1990, was on the picket line at the moment it shut down. He was there when the doors opened and wanted to be there when they closed. He led a moment of silence among the otherwise rowdy 200 or so picketers on the Boardwalk outside the casino.

"This didn't have to happen," he said. "To (Icahn), it's all just business. But to us, it's destroying our livelihoods and our families. You take away our health care, our pensions and overload the workers, we just can't take it."

Of course, it would not have happened if the business had some hope of returning to profitability, however as a result of the union's inability to move on key expense items, the outcome was the worst possible one for all parties.

Still, the Union was seemingly happier with that conclusion than continuing to work under previous conditions. Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union, said virtually all of the striking workers feel the same way. "Everybody has their Popeye moment: 'That's all I can stands; I can't stands no more,' " he said. "The workers made a choice that they weren't going to accept benefits and terms of employment worse than everyone else's. I applaud them: For the first time in 30 years, workers stood up to Carl Icahn and made him throw in the towel."

That said we doubt Carl Icahn will shed any tears: the billionaire investor reached his limit on Aug. 3, when he determined the $350 million he had lost investing in, and then owning, the Taj Mahal was enough. It was then that he decided to close the casino, fearing he would lose an additional $100 million next year.

"Today is a sad day for Atlantic City," he said Monday. "Like many of the employees at the Taj Mahal, I wish things had turned out differently."

* * *

Meanwhile, with yelling, chanting workers just outside the glass doors, Taj Mahal workers had trouble locking them, trying to jam wooden wedges into door frames to keep them from opening. Finally they succeeded in affixing barriers to the doors. The Taj had actually been shutting down slowly for nearly two weeks. Many table games were left unstaffed, and workers cordoned off entire banks of slot machines with yellow caution tape last week as others ripped the electronic guts from them. Liquor had been removed from some service bars, and even soap dispensers disconnected from bathroom walls.

As for Donald Trump, he said that he will demand that his name come off the building now that it is closed, as he similarly did with Trump Plaza after it, too, closed in 2014. As of last week, a sign over the main entrance that had proclaimed "Donald J. Trump presents Taj Mahal" was already gone.

The Taj Mahal joins the Atlantic Club, Showboat, Trump Plaza and Revel as Atlantic City casinos that, since 2014, have succumbed to economic pressure brought about in large measure by competition from casinos in neighboring states. The city now has seven casinos, on their way to zero.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Duc888's picture



This is Trumps fault WHY?  AC has been teetering for years. 




Looney's picture


There are many similarities between the US’ and Atlantic City’s gradual decay over the years.

There are some differences as well – one of them is that Atlantic City hasn’t started any wars overseas, YET!   ;-)


remain calm's picture

No way these 3000 jobs show up in the BLS number for Oct to be reported before the election. They will be reported as a net positive 3000 jobs for the Hildabeast.

wildbad's picture

AC is a bad block.  This has nothing more to do with the Donald.  One could of course congratulate the Donald that he unloaded the white elephant after he had become rich from it and moved on to more Lucrative ventures.

Backin2006's picture

I've, er, zero sympathy for people who make their living off other people's gambling addictions. They then have the cheek to turn around and tell Icahn that it's all just business. What was it for them? Charity work?

auricle's picture

Deminish the militirism and bring back some manufacturing, institute a new deal to rebuild america and we will once again have some excess 'wealth', some truely disposable income. 

jcaz's picture

LOL- typical Union stooges-  they fought reality until it kicked their asses out the door, and all they can do is steal the soap they'll never use-  yeah, all that time spent whining on the line instead of hitting the books or picking up a tool really worked out well for you guys....

Darwinism 101.

A Nanny Moose's picture

...and their real minimum wages, of ZERO, are realized.

FireBrander's picture

Carl should have put "profit sharing" on the table..offer the unions a cut of the profits...oops, it was losing the unions wanted a cut of the pie that didn't exist...beyond stupid.


I am pro-union...fighting for a fair cut of the PROFITS...but if there is no profit, then you can't ask for more of something that doesn't exist; that is how unions have broke bad.

roddcarlson's picture

To be honest the whole gambling racket is nothing but parasitism. I realize that people will say what is wrong with sin industry, I'm not a prude or anything but gambling is just plain stupid. The idea that the people who lose money in them are least IQ as they have no idea of statistics and instead blame themselves as "losers" or "bad luck" when they lose it all spells a kind of sadness in my soul just thinking about them. It's kind of taking advantage of the mentally handicapped.

But like anything Trump didn't make his money in the Casino. He made his money leveraging on real estate. In essence his game was to take real estate modest real estate inflation and multiply it by the bank leverage. He certainly had a certain gift at being able to trademark his name so that when banks did reorganize it he could always get back a certain amount of new shares from the bondholders.

Trump took advantage of our Babylonian expanding debt based system of unending creditism. He certainly isn't a Carnegie or Ford or Jobs in that he didn't make industries that were net +'s for the economy in making real value. That said I don't despise him either, quite the opposite I think he probably has much better intentions then Clinton. And I think that he understood how the system works and took advantage of it to make millions says he's certainly no dummy.

As far as unions I agree full heartedly that the whole idea that labor can usurp the owners of capital just by simply being idiotic pills is criminal. I'm building my own company from bootstrap and shoelace capital, and the last thing I would permit after all the hardship of doing is for the workers who came on later and fortunate to have a job I created then think they are equal if not better owner than me. I've seen these same people buy new shiny cars and boats for years and then end up broke and expecting someone who doesn't gamble and smoke and drink to pick up the bill. One can just see in the photo that more than half those striking workers are fat, which is typical of these entitled bastards. If they don't like their wages and benefits nobody is stopping them from going to find another job or start their own companies. Of course being economic dufus with their own money and eating, drinking, smoking, and throwing it away is never something they like to admit when they say they don't have enough to retire. Sure capitalism sucks, but there is still nothing better than it.

We don't have capitalism in this country though. We have crooks from bottom to top that want what they didn't make.

karzai_luver's picture



everything you say is ok , but it took me a long time to realize that you don't need to dump on those that didn't or can't do what you are trying to do with your own startup.

there are tons of reasons why.

Look at it this way, why would you want more competition?

Don't know what biz you are trying, but you NEED some of them.

be happy you have a shot.

No matter what the elites tell you , it's only a dream.


TrajanOptimus's picture

Yuuugee tax write off for Icahn.

Good thing he isn't running for president, they would accuse another billionaire of not paying taxes.

zuuma's picture

The union "Held the line".

Nice.  Nice line.

Now comes the EBT application line. Section 8 housing line.  Obamacare subsidy line. Food pantry line.

No more payroll check cashing line. No more ball game line.

Watch out for suicide betting line.

Sub 75 IQ generally not able to imagine what happens tomorrow or next week (abstract thinking).

When next week happens it's always:  "Save us"!  "Not our fault"!

jerry_theking_lawler's picture

*uck the union and their lines...they are not the 'entire' problem...but they are a major contributor to it.

Katos's picture

My wife and I took a little road trip recently through 4 states.  I was amazed to see small towns all along the route that had 50 to 60 % of their towns closed down, boarded up, dilapidated,  and destroyed. We also saw larger towns with thousands of homeless people wandering around, panhandling, lying in the gutter! Obama and Clinton have overseen the destruction of America and the american way of life. Using Free Trade they have put US workers in competition with Haitians who make 35 cents an hour. These rich asshole don't give a shit about America! It has resorces and is rich in assets just waiting for the Predatory capitalists to suck up at the lowest possible price. Americans have become the enemy in their own country where they are regularly shot and killed by impunitized Military policing! Hillary is a guarantee of this continued destruction, all you have to do is open your eyes, it's all around us. Just because it's not on CNN doesn't mean it doesn't exist!

Big Corked Boots's picture


I wonder if anyone got the message from Trump last night, HRC was the senator from NY and did nothing to help out in the hinterlands north of Westchester County.

Wall Street profited well from her, though.

JohnGaltUk's picture

Same here in the UK dude. I dont bother watching BBC or ITV because they are not giving me reality. If you go to Youtube you get many individuals that put up videos show what really is going on at street level. I saw some about the streets of Paris that really shocked me. I also saw some on Greece and Greek people are becoming very right wing and militant. The EU is in a process of collapse and I think it is more advanced than the USA

DaveA's picture

It wasn't cost of labor so much as the freedom to hire and fire as needed. Getting rid of any employee who belongs to a "protected" group can cost a million dollars in legal fees.

By forbidding businesses from discriminating against *some* Americans, we forced them to discriminate against *all* Americans.

damicol's picture

Drove about 120 miles to  a little town just like you describe just over a week ago. went to chat about some business with a friend, Planned to stay over late and suggested we go out to eat, my shout, but he said will call another friend of his to meet with and then drove over to what I thought would be his house, but in fact was a big house owned by his friend Carl's, father now retired.

There was a big summer house attached to  the back of the house and was surprised to see a dozen or so people sat there with drinks at two large tables.

Turns out Carl, the friend he said we would meet was the chef at a local restaurant, part of a group until it shut down, but being a small town decided as no other opportunity he could cook for "friends".

Just a set meal, beautiful,some really good wine and plenty of beers, got introduced to everyone and a real party atmosphere with music playing in the background.

Thoroughly enjoyed it, and the company, and my friend got up to leave as well as most of the rest there. Getting his coat by the door, he lifted the lid on a big pale blue and white Chinese urn on a small table and dropped some cash in.  As did the others. As we left more were arriving.

Those who know don't miss the restaurant, Small town community works, now apparently, friends call Carl for a chat and get invited to dinner, sometimes twice an evening he will cook, It might not have the menu of the restaurant but it has conviviality and locals meet and get to know each other.

Carl is doing very very well now.l

I asked my friend if Carl is doing so well does he plan to open a restaurant with his new found erm donations, little contributions to his Chinese urn.

Oh, I don;t think so he said, that would cost far too much and he would just end up feeding the local parasites with licenses and taxes.

I must admit, it was one of the most enjoyable dinners I had in a very long time. The is hope yet.


The central planners's picture

Parasitical union's fault but blame it on Trump and may be Putin has a little fault here too.

Dutti's picture

Correct, central planners!

i'd like to add: Fuck the Unions - they are anachronistic in today's world.

rubiconsolutions's picture

"....For the first time in 30 years, workers stood up to Carl Icahn and made him throw in the towel."


And how did that work out for you? Now you get to compete with 94,000,000+ other people out of work in this country.

karzai_luver's picture

Where is the bailout from their HERO OBOMBER , o sorry .

Just die you deplorables.


Anglophobe's picture

I live in the area , I work everyday in AC , selling sugary drinks in the hood, anyway casino revenues are up ,and this was a ploy , Icahn is a union buster and that's what he did,he is gonna rebrand the casino and reopen next year with new workers under a new contract , the revel is about to reopen as polo north or some crap , the showboat is back open as of now , and Stockton college is gonna bring a campus to the city, so this article is a bit overhyped. On a side note Icahn cock-blocked the Stockton college from taking over the showboat site , which woulda brought 5000 kids a "university city " section with Stockton police , and the beginning of ACs next chapter , but Icahn didn't want underage kids trying to gamble , shit I been gambling and drinking in ac establishments since I was 18

Squid Viscous's picture

Too bad, Il Mulino then Scores was a pretty good night...without having to leave the hotel

ParkAveFlasher's picture

Gambling has been localized.  There are casinos within the borders of NYC, on reservations, and so forth in the tri state area.  AC is a dinosaur.

Publicus's picture

3000 Trump voters just newly created.

harleyjohn45's picture

LOL, I disagree, thats 3000 food stamp recipients that will vote democrat.

cherry picker's picture

"We held the line"

And lost your jobs....

Don't you have to eat, put a roof over your heads? Are there any jobs out there you can get?

dogismycopilot's picture

Judas Goat Union Leaders lead the sheep to slaughter. 

boattrash's picture

"We held the line"

Yep, seems like some Air Traffic Controllers did that once too...

JLee2027's picture

Makes absolutely no sense. They'll go home, think about it for a day and realize how stupid they were.

Countrybunkererd's picture

You would think so, but it isn't the first time unions shot themselves in the foot.  Unions and government act the same and during downturns they can't cut and actually want more.  Healthcare is crusing everyone, especially the self employed.  They don't know how profitability works and it seems they don't care either.

You held the line, now you are standing in the unemployment line.  Good Job!!


TRUMP 2016!

slaughterer's picture

Blame Trump for everything--so that you can get away with anything.  Pinata, sacrifical victim, whatever.   Trump for the Trumphouse, M'fikkers.

dogismycopilot's picture

Carl's timing is off. 

Omega_Man's picture

get the communists to run it... 

dark pools of soros's picture

the place is a dump..  all the hot strippers left 10 years ago

Spungo's picture

I thought they closed that down years ago. Did they go bankrupt in the past without closing?

Wang Dang SP's picture

Another union victory...job well done. /s

Stan Smith's picture

It's amusing that casino workers fail to see the irony of belonging to a union. Oh well.

silverer's picture

It's a gamble they decided to take.

monad's picture

brexit did this. Just another backroom Klinton distraction

FX223's picture

Can't put my finger on it but I smell Putin all over this.

Ace006's picture

First Georgia, Crimea, and Syria, now Atlantic City. When will that evil genius leave us in peace?

Bay of Pigs's picture

Moar Green Shoots!

buzzsaw99's picture

putin, aka russian hackers, did this.

NumberNone's picture

Union leadership most likely thought that embarrassing Trump was more important than their jobs.  

Puncher75's picture

The union "leaders" aren't unhappy because they DIDN'T LOSE THEIR JOB like the workers did. They don't give two shits about the "working man" because they aren't them.