Billionaire investor Carl Icahn rejected a last-ditch offer by Atlantic City’s casino workers union that could have saved the Trump Taj Mahal Casino.
The Monday rejection comes almost a month after Icahn announced he intends to close the Taj Mahal in the fall. The billionaire has said that he plans to close the casino on Oct. 10, but the Associated Press noted that Icahn has not yet filed a petition with New Jersey gambling regulators asking for permission.
Local 54 of the UNITE-Here union, which represents a majority of the employees, presented an offer to Icahn’s management team, saying it would only cost $1.3 million more than Icahn’s last offer. The proposal would have restored health insurance in January for Taj Mahal workers, according to the AP.
The casino’s workers went on strike July 1, after negotiations with Taj Mahal management failed. Local 54 President Bob McDevitt said at the time the union wanted a better plan, and chose to go on strike. The main issue in the strike was restoration of health insurance and pension benefits that were eliminated while the casino was in bankruptcy in Oct. 2014.
The strike has become the longest in Atlantic City history, and some still speculate if Icahn and his team is bluffing in order to win over additional concessions from employees. Republican nominee Donald Trump often cites Icahn as one of the best negotiators in the world.
Trump opened the Taj Mahal in 1990, declaring it the “eighth wonder of the world.” At the time, the building was the tallest in New Jersey and billed itself as the largest casino in the world.
Icahn took over ownership of the property after bankruptcy troubles threatened to close the property. However, after negotiations with the casino workers union failed to progress, Icahn announced the plan to close the property in Oct. 2016.
When Icahn’s management team announced plans to close the casino in early August, they asserted that, “the union has single-handedly blocked any path to profitability.” Representatives of Icahn’s management team reiterated that message on Monday and said that there is no one to blame by the unions.
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