ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Atlantic City‘s mayor says he can’t offer massive tax breaks that the owner of the Trump Taj Mahal and would-be owner Carl Icahn are demanding to keep the casino open.
Mayor Don Guardian told The Associated Press that the city’s finances are too stressed to grant the request.
Billionaire Icahn is considering spending $100 million to save the Taj Mahal casino from closing.
But the offer comes with considerable strings attached: Icahn is willing to consider the bailout “if and only if” he gets big givebacks from the casino workers’ union, steep tax breaks from Atlantic City and county, and $25 million in funds from a New Jersey agency.
If the company makes good on its threat to close the Taj Mahal, it would further rock an already shell-shocked casino market in what just a few years ago was the nation’s second-largest gambling market after Nevada. Now, New Jersey has fallen behind Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, Atlantic City’s main casino workers’ union says the Tropicana Casino & Resort, which is owned by Icahn, is demanding major givebacks in its next contract to avoid the fate of four casinos that have shut down so far this year.
Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union, said Tropicana has told the union that “major reductions” in what the casino called “bloated union contracts” are needed to “avoid the fate of other failed casinos” and the thousands of job losses they created.
The Tropicana declined comment Monday.
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