Icahn offers $20 million to keep Atlantic City Trump casino open

By Reuters

Dec 18, 2014 10:16 PM EST

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn offered $20 million in financing on Thursday to keep the Trump Taj Mahal from becoming the fifth casino to close this year in New Jersey's troubled Atlantic City, was once the only major destination for gamblers on the U.S. East Coast.

The Taj, owned by bankrupt Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., is slated to close on Saturday. It is not clear how long the additional financing from Icahn, who holds the mortgage to the property, could keep the Taj operating.

The offer came after the union representing casino workers claimed that Icahn had "gone back on his word" by scrapping a more far-reaching, last-minute deal - signed by both the union and the company - to save the Taj.

"We are disappointed that Mr. Icahn's whims are going to add to the feelings of uncertainty and instability that the workers have had to live with and have to endure during this holiday season and beyond," Unite-Here President Bob McDevitt said in an interview with Reuters.

Trump Entertainment and Icahn did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

In his letter to Trump's chief executive, Robert Griffin, Icahn said he was responding to Griffin's request for further aid and that the $20 million would keep the Taj open "through bankruptcy."

"I will also commit to work collaboratively with the State, the City and the Union to try to forge a global settlement that will bring real stability to the Taj and its employees," he said. (bit.ly/1AkI6ul)

Icahn previously said he would inject $100 million into the casino, but sought tax breaks from the state and wanted to terminate employees' healthcare and pension plans.

Atlantic City's fortunes have faded fast as competition from Pennsylvania and other neighboring states has cut into the monopoly it once held on East Coast gaming.

The city just faced down yet another threat: the potential for a new casino in New York state's Orange County, just along the New Jersey border. New York gaming regulators decided on Wednesday not to locate a casino there, opting for other locations farther from the New York City area.

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