ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A hearing is set for Thursday in a dispute between Donald and Ivanka Trump and the casino company he once ran, over whether Atlantic City’s struggling Taj Mahal casino can continue to use the Trump name.
The Trumps are suing Trump Entertainment Resorts in state court in New Jersey, seeking to have the Trump name stripped from the Taj Mahal. But a federal bankruptcy case has put a temporary halt to that litigation, and the Trumps want to let the lawsuit proceed.
They claim the company let the two casinos fall into such disrepair that it violated quality standards agreed to by both sides to the point where it damages their personal brand. The company is in bankruptcy and threatening to shut its last casino — the Taj Mahal — next month.
“This is a very important step for us,” Ivanka Trump said Monday morning. “It was pretty cut-and-dry. When we gave them a license to use our name, it was contingent on quality control and performance. They did not meet the high standards of luxury in every other asset in the Trump brand.”
The company is refusing to drop the Trump name.
While simultaneously seeking to have the Trump name removed from the Taj Mahal, and from Trump Entertainment Resorts, Ivanka Trump said her father is still considering trying to acquire the Taj Mahal from bankruptcy court and save it.
In a statement, Donald Trump emphasized he has had nothing to do with the company other than licensing his name to it since 2009.
“I am saddened to see that the current managers and owners of the Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal were unable to operate these properties to the highest standards of luxury and success as required under the license agreement and consistent with my name and reputation,” he said. “Because of constant defaults of the standards stipulated in the license agreement, I had no choice but to terminate the license agreement and require TER to remove the Trump name from both buildings.”
Trump Entertainment is in bankruptcy court in Delaware, seeking permission to terminate the pension plans of the 2,800 or so Taj Mahal employees. A judge last week refused to immediately let them do so, but scheduled additional hearings on that request and other cost-saving measures.
Trump Entertainment has said that without significant cost relief from the union, including the elimination of employees’ pension and health care, and an injection of $100 million from billionaire investor Carl Icahn, it will close the Taj Mahal on or before Nov. 13.
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