The Taj Mahal officially closed its doors at 6am on Monday, following a weekend of staggered shutdowns of its various entertainment offerings. The property is the fifth AC casino to close since four venues closed in 2014. Monday’s closure spells the end of over 2,800 local jobs, bringing the total casino job loss since 2014 to over 11k.
The Taj Mahal closed after two years of squabbling between the property’s last owner, billionaire investor Carl Icahn, and its unionized employees, who couldn’t come to an agreement that would have allowed the struggling property to continue operating.
The Taj Mahal filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2014, after which Icahn assumed ownership of the property. But Unite Here Local 54 refused to accept a court ruling that allowed Icahn to scrap the unionized employees’ pension and health benefits.
In August, Icahn announced that he no longer saw a “path to profitability” for the Taj Mahal based on his inability to reach a deal with the striking workers. In early September, Icahn filed papers formally advising local regulators of his intention to shut the Taj.
Icahn issued a statement on Monday saying he’d lost $350m during his tenure as Taj Mahal owner and had expected a further $100m loss in 2017. Icahn said it was a “sad day” and that like many of the Taj’s former staffers, “I wish things had turned out differently.”
The Taj Mahal opened in April 1990, back when it was still under the control of current Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. But the debt-laden property filed for bankruptcy protection just one year later, as its revenue proved insufficient to cover the interest payments on its debt.
Monday’s closure eliminates the last vestiges of Der Donald’s AC connections, as the Trump Plaza was one of the properties that closed in 2014. Trump recently told the Associated Press that there was “no reason” for the property to close and that the warring factions “should have been able to make a deal.” (After which, we can only assume, Trump grabbed the female reporter’s pussy while wingman Billy Bush giggled.)
While the market’s job losses have left the local government struggling to cope, AC’s surviving casino operators have shown signs of prosperity following the market’s downsizing, posting operating profits in the first half of 2016 that were the highest since 2010.