Carl Ichan is still looking for ways to help save the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City. The New York Post has reported that the billionaire investor is considering extending a bridge loan to the bankrupt casino in order to keep it from closing as early as next month.
This is not an act of altruism on his part as Ichan has already loaned it $286 million. He certainly does not want to have to wait in line alongside other creditors to get only part of his money back from a bankruptcy court.
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A Delaware Bankruptcy Court did give him and the Taj Mahal’s owners a victory last month when it nullified the health and pension benefits which were guaranteed to its 1, 100 unionized workers. But the union has vowed to appeal that decision.
The investor put the blame for the Taj Mahal’s woes squarely on its unionized employees. As he told AP, “One overriding fact is perfectly clear: The Taj is quickly running out of money and will almost certainly close. Reprehensibly, the union, instead of working with, and trying to help, the company to keep the Taj alive, is instead doing everything to destroy the possibility of saving the jobs of over 3, 000 employees.”
In a letter to the Taj’s employees Ichan wrote that, “The Taj is in far worse financial shape than almost any company I have ever analyzed.” It is losing an estimated $8 million a month.
But a lot of the problem also has to do with Atlantic City itself. The City is bleak, to say the least, and never succeeded in becoming the Las Vegas of the East Coast. All of its casinos are suffering due to a lack of traffic to the run down Atlantic Coast resort town. There is just too much competition from all of the casino/resorts located on Indian reservations throughout the north eastern United States.
According to figures released by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Atlantic City’s total number of visitors fell in 2013 for the eighth straight year. It had just 26.7 million visitors, down from the 35 million in 2005.
Four of Atlantic City’s twelve casinos have already closed this year, including the Trump Plaza.