Saturday October 18,2014 : JUDGE SAVES TRUMP TAJ MAHAL…FOR NOW (Update)
Delaware federal bankruptcy court judge voids contract with union workers.
The Trump Taj Mahal casino resort in Atlantic City has dodged the bankruptcy bullet for now following a decision by federal bankruptcy court Judge Kevin Gross that it could void its contract with union workers.
The beleaguered casino owners had petitioned the court to terminate a contract with the union on grounds that the enterprise cannot survive without shedding expensive pension and healthcare commitments enshrined within the contract, reports The Guardian newspaper.
The next step for the owners is to ensure a favourable outcome from a study commission appointed by state governor Chris Christie to assess the need for state aid for the Taj Mahal and other struggling casinos.
“We are proud of our efforts to keep the Taj Mahal open, to deliver our loyal customers a continued first-class gaming experience and to have the ability to save 3,000 jobs in a very difficult Atlantic City economy,” Robert Griffin, CEO of Trump Entertainment said Friday.
Predictably, the union was unhappy with the decision of the court, with spokesman Bob McDevitt commenting:
“The decision today will certainly enrage the workers who have relied on and fought for their healthcare for three decades. We intend to continue to fight this both in the courts and in the streets."
He questioned the motives of the major investors in the Trump Taj Mahal casino, claiming that the bid to void the contract had nothing to do with the company's financial situation, and that one particular investor "….has a long history of eliminating, reducing or freezing worker benefits which sometimes saddles government agencies with the burden of cleaning up the mess.”
Carl Icahn, who owns the Taj Mahal's $286 million debt, denied the union's claim and said that he had saved the Tropicana four years ago by acquiring it in a similar fashion to the strategy he envisaged for the Taj Mahal.
He reiterated that he was prepared to swap the debt for full ownership, and claimed that he had $100 million to invest in reinvigorating the casino…but only if the state would come to the party with aid in the form of tax breaks and grants.