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Last Trump casino closes in Atlantic City

WASHINGTON (AFP) – 

The Trump Taj Mahal, one of the glitzy casinos on which Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pinned his reputation as a real estate mogul, closed Monday after a financially tumultuous history.

The 15,000 square foot hotel and gaming complex, which passed through two bankruptcy reorganizations since it opened in Atlantic City in 1990 at a cost of some $1 billion, shut down after again piling up losses and failing to resolve a long dispute with workers over wages and benefits.

The casino was not longer owned by Trump, having been taken over by Wall Street investor Carl Icahn in 2014. But it continued to carry the candidate’s name, the last of three he launched in the New Jersey coast resort.

The hotel shut its doors officially at 5:59 am Monday (0959 GMT) as members of the Unite Here service workers union picketed outside.

“Today is a sad day for Atlantic City. Despite our best efforts, which included losing almost $350 million over just a few short years, we were unable to save the Taj Mahal,” Icahn said in a statement.

He said the union, representing a third of the 3,000 workers at the casino, rejected its last offer for a benefits deal.

The union, on strike since July 1, accused Icahn of trying to strip pay and benefits they said was worth more than a third of their total compensation.

“Housekeepers, servers and other casino workers at the Taj Mahal earn on average less than $12 an hour,” they said.

The hotel and casino was one of three that Trump opened with great fanfare — paid for by equally massive borrowings — in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Within a year of the Taj Mahal’s inauguration as the “eighth wonder of the world” and featuring pop icon Michael Jackson, Trump had to file for bankruptcy protection. Months later the Trump Plaza and Trump Castle also fell into financial reorganization.

Trump remained involved but all three hotels stumbled again in the 2000s, and he lost control of them.

The Trump Plaza closed in September 2014 and the Trump Castle, later renamed the Trump Marina, was eventually taken over by Landry’s Inc and renamed the Golden Nugget.

The Taj Mahal was the fifth casino to shutter in Atlantic City since 2014, hit hard by too much competition for gamblers from both inside the city and from casinos elsewhere in the region.

© 2016 AFP

Article source: http://www.france24.com/en/20161010-last-trump-casino-closes-atlantic-city