Trump Taj Mahal
|Trump Taj Mahal Hotel & Casino|
View of Main Tower and Chairman Tower from the Boardwalk
|Location||Atlantic City, New Jersey|
|Opening date||April 2, 1990|
|Closing date||October 10, 2016|
|Theme||Taj Mahal, India|
|Number of rooms||2,010|
|Total gaming space||167,000 square feet (15,500 m2)|
|Permanent shows||Mark G. Etess Arena, Xanadu Theater, Ego Lounge, Blue Velvet Theater, Scores|
|Signature attractions||Steel Pier|
|Notable restaurants||Robert's Steakhouse of New York, Il Mulino New York, Dynasty, Moon at Dynasty, Hard Rock Cafe, White House Sub Shop, Maharaja Express & Salad Express, Fralinger's Salt Water Taffy|
|Owner||Trump Entertainment Resorts|
|Operating license holder||Tropicana Entertainment|
|Previous names||Resorts Taj Mahal (pre-opening)|
|Coordinates||39.3587° N, 74.4198° W|
The casino was inaugurated by its then-owner Donald Trump in 1990, and was built at a total cost of nearly one billion dollars. Restaurants at the Taj include Dynasty, Il Mulino New York, Moon at Dynasty, Robert's Steakhouse, and Hard Rock Cafe. It was also the home of Scores, the country's first in-casino strip club.
The Taj Mahal came to the brink of closure in 2014 as its parent company went through bankruptcy, but ultimately remained open under the new ownership of Icahn Enterprises. On August 3, 2016, it was announced that the Trump Taj Mahal would close after Labor Day. It closed at 5:59 AM on October 10, 2016.
Construction of the Taj Mahal was begun in 1983 by Resorts International, owner of the neighboring Resorts Casino Hotel, with an estimated budget of $250 million. Resorts head James Crosby said it might be named the United States Hotel, in reference to the city's first major hotel.
After Crosby's death in April 1986, Resorts International became a takeover target. The Taj Mahal had encountered construction problems, and Crosby's heirs, lacking experience in large development projects, doubted their ability to complete it successfully. Donald Trump, who owned two other Atlantic City casinos, beat out several other bidders to purchase a controlling stake in the company for $79 million in July 1987. Trump was appointed chairman of Resorts International, and said he would complete the Taj Mahal in about a year.
As the total budget had ballooned to $930 million, Resorts sought to raise $550 million to complete the Taj Mahal, but struggled to find the financing. With the company claiming to be near bankruptcy in early 1988, Trump made a tender offer to buy all outstanding stock for $22 a share, stating that he was willing to personally finance the construction, but only if he owned the entire company. Television producer Merv Griffin made an unexpected offer to purchase the company for $35 a share, sparking a highly publicized takeover battle, with Trump and Griffin filing lawsuits against each other. The two ultimately reached a settlement, which was executed in November 1988, with Griffin purchasing the company, and Trump purchasing the Taj Mahal from the company for $273 million.
The casino opened on April 2, 1990. With 120,000 square feet (11,000 m2) of gaming space, it claimed to be the largest casino in the world (though this was disputed by the Riviera), and billed itself as the "eighth wonder of the world." An elaborate grand opening ceremony was held three days later.
In 1991, the Taj Mahal went through a prepackaged bankruptcy, resulting in Trump giving a 50 percent stake in the business to its bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates and a longer payoff schedule.
The Taj Mahal was the highest grossing casino in the city until the opening of The Borgata in 2003. The Chairman Tower opened in 2008, bringing the complex to over 2,000 rooms.
Bankruptcy, labor dispute, U.S. Treasury money laundering settlement, and new ownership
Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for bankruptcy on September 10, 2014, and announced plans to close the Taj Mahal on November 13 if the casino did not get concessions from its unions. A sister property, the Trump Plaza did close in 2014.
Workers from the casino marched to Mayor Don Guardian's office on the morning of November 3, 2014 to ask him to reconsider granting concessions, which the casino said were necessary to remain open. About 1,000 employees signed a petition calling on the mayor and other officials "to do everything possible" to keep the casino open. At the time, four of twelve casinos in Atlantic City had closed and Trump Taj Mahal would have been the fifth if it were to close.
On November 14, 2014, Trump Entertainment Resorts announced that the casino would shut down in December unless its main union, UNITE HERE, dropped its appeal of a court-ordered cost-savings package, which had effectively cancelled the workers' health insurance and pension coverage. However, it was revealed that the closing was to happen because it has not received the state and local tax breaks it sought.
In filing a revised reorganization plan in Delaware bankruptcy court, Trump Entertainment Resorts said its board had approved a shutdown of the casino by December 12, 2014. The shutdown date was later pushed back to December 20. On December 18, two days before the scheduled closure, UNITE HERE reached a deal with Trump Entertainment Resorts that saved the Taj from closing. The same day, billionaire Carl Icahn committed $20 million in financing for the Taj.
In February 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network settled an investigation of Trump Taj Mahal with the assessment of a $10 million civil fine for "significant and long-standing money laundering violations" which were described as "willful and repeated" contraventions of the record-keeping and reporting requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act. The casino agreed to periodic external audits to comply with anti-money laundering statutes, and admitted to multiple violations as part of its settlement. The U.S. Treasury made note of casino violations dating back to 1998, when Trump Taj Mahal paid a $477,700 fine for violating currency transaction requirements, as well as violations in 2003, 2010, and in 2012, for which the company was "repeatedly warned". Trump Taj Mahal was "far from meeting" standards required to protect the U.S. financial system "from exploitation from criminals, terrorists, and other bad actors", the Treasury said in a press release.
In February 2016, Trump Entertainment Resorts exited bankruptcy and became a subsidiary of Icahn Enterprises. The casino retained the name "Trump Taj Mahal", though Donald Trump no longer held any ownership stake. In April, another Icahn affiliate, Tropicana Entertainment, took over the property under a management agreement. Icahn also stated he would withhold a planned $100-million investment into the property if New Jersey approved casinos in the northern region of the state.
On Monday, October 10, 2016, the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino was shut down. After the closing on that date, one UNITE HERE leader raised the possibility that the casino would remain closed over the winter but would reopen in 2017 as a non-union facility, an attempt that he said would prompt a union boycott.
On May 27, 2009, Ray Kot, a casino shift manager, was shot and killed by 57-year-old Mark Magee of Norristown, Pennsylvania. Magee claimed that he killed Kot because casino executives at the Trump Taj Mahal had conspired to cheat players by manipulating the outcome of the table games. On August 11, 2010, Magee was convicted of murder and was given a minimum 30-year sentence at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. He is tentatively scheduled to be released on May 28, 2039, at the age of 87. On October 16, 2010, a small park on the Trump Taj Mahal property was created and dedicated to the memory of Kot.
On September 18, 2011, a man was shot to death and a woman was wounded during an apparent carjacking inside the parking garage of the casino. The man, 28-year-old Sunil Rattu, and the woman, 24-year-old Radha Ghetia, were held up as they left the casino, and then forced to drive to a nearby alley where Rattu was shot dead, while Ghetia was shot in the upper part of her body. Ghetia was treated for her injuries and later recovered.
On March 24, 2016, three teenagers attending a party in a hotel room on the forty-seventh floor were shot. Seven suspects were arrested in connection with the incident.
Trump Taj Mahal had a comp card similar to most casinos. The club had four levels:
- TrumpOne: Free to all members age 21 and older
- Executive: 4,000 tier points in a calendar year required
- Chairman: 10,000 tier points in a calendar year required
- Signature: 70,000 tier points in a calendar year required
- "Press Kit" (PDF). Trump Taj Mahal. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
- Pempus, Brian (February 29, 2016). "Trump Taj Mahal Casino Emerges From Bankruptcy". www.cardplayer.com. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
- "Taj Mahal Casino Closing". Retrieved August 28, 2016.
- Anne McGrath (October 27, 1983). "Ground broken for Resorts' 2d N.J. casino-hotel". Philadelphia Inquirer. AP – via NewsBank.
- Richard Koenig (April 19, 1988). "Trump, man of glitz, is forced to cut back at Taj Mahal casino". Wall Street Journal. – via ProQuest (subscription required)
- Donald Janson (November 6, 1983). "Resort wasteland: Change is in sight". New York Times. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
- "Resorts International receives takeover offer to rival Trump's". Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. March 25, 1987. – via ProQuest (subscription required)
- John Crudele (March 10, 1987). "Trump buys 73% stake in Resorts for $79 million". New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- Joyce A. Venezia (July 22, 1987). "Trump completes the deal for Resorts International". Philadelphia Inquirer. – via ProQuest (subscription required)
- "Trump wants to close casino at Resorts International". UPI. October 12, 1987. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- Donald Janson (December 17, 1987). "Trump wins approval to shift Resorts license". New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- "Trump offers to buy rest of Resorts' common stock". Los Angeles Times. Reuters. December 22, 1987. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- Frank Allen (February 2, 1988). "Trump renews his push to take Resorts private". Wall Street Journal. – via ProQuest (subscription required)
- Al Delugach (March 18, 1988). "Griffin takes on Trump for Resorts shares". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- "Takeover battle ends for Trump, Griffin". Chicago Tribune. AP. April 15, 1988. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- Eileen White Read; Richard Koenig (March 22, 1988). "Merv Griffin sues to block Trump offer for Resorts, says he may boost his own". Wall Street Journal. – via ProQuest (subscription required)
- Beatrice E. Garcia (November 16, 1988). "Trump completes the sale of Resorts to Merv Griffin". Wall Street Journal. – via ProQuest (subscription required)
- David Johnston (November 16, 1988). "It's done: Griffin buys Resorts from Trump". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
- Robert O'Harrow Jr. (January 18, 2016). "Trump's bad bet: How too much debt drove his biggest casino aground". Washington Post. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
- Daniel Heneghan (April 3, 1990). "Taj: open sesame!". Press of Atlantic City – via NewsBank.
- "Trump cites Taj's 'grandeur' while playing down its size". Press of Atlantic City. AP. April 3, 1990 – via NewsBank.
- Daniel Heneghan (April 5, 1990). "For Trump's Taj Mahal, only big will do". Press of Atlantic City – via NewsBank.
- Daniel Heneghan (April 6, 1990). "Trump opens Taj with flourish". Press of Atlantic City – via NewsBank.
- "Chapter 11 for Taj Mahal". New York Times. Reuters. July 18, 1991. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
- "Taj Mahal is out of bankruptcy". New York Times. October 5, 1991. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
- David Cay Johnston (January 9, 1996). "Trump moves to put Taj Mahal in his company". New York Times. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
- Form 8-K: Current Report (Report). Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. May 2, 1996. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
- Augenstein, Seth. "Nation's first casino strip club coming to Atlantic City" in The Star-Ledger (July 4, 2013). Retrieved August 27, 2013.
- Parry, Wayne. "A.C.'s Taj Mahal looks to score with strip club" in The Philadelphia Inquirer (August 27, 2013). Retrieved August 27, 2013.
- Writer, Staff (September 9, 2014). "Trump Entertainment files for bankruptcy; Taj Mahal could close in November". www.nj.com/. Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on September 11, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- "Trump Taj Mahal employees issued layoff notices ahead of possible November closure". NJ.com.
- "Casino workers to give Atlantic City mayor petition to reconsider aid to keep Taj Mahal open". Fox Business. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
- Horridge, Kevin (November 15, 2014). "Trump Taj Mahal to Close in New Jersey, Union Demands at Fault, Say Owners". www.casino.org. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
- Parry, Wayne. "APNewsBreak: Papers Filed to Close Trump Taj Mahal". ABC News. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
- Maggie McGrath. "As Deal To Save Trump Taj Mahal Falls Through, Icahn Pledges $20 Million In Financing". Forbes.
- Brickley, Peg (February 11, 2015). "Trump Taj Mahal Settles Over Anti-Money-Laundering Violations". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
- "FinCEN Fines Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort $10 Million for Significant and Long-Stanting Money Laundering Violations" (PDF). U.S. Department of the Treasury: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). March 6, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
- "Trump Taj Mahal casino settles U.S. money laundering claims". Fortune. February 11, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
- Parry, Wayne (February 26, 2016). "Trump Taj Mahal Casino Out of Bankruptcy, Into Carl Icahn's Hands". Associated Press. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
- Form 10-Q: Quarterly Report (Report). Tropicana Entertainment. May 3, 2016. p. 15 – via EDGAR.
- Joshua Jamerson (March 2, 2016). "Tropicana to manage Trump Taj Mahal; Icahn chides N.J. Leaders". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
- "No money for Taj Mahal if New Jersey casinos are approved". www.gamblinginsider.com. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
- "City Loses Trump Taj Mahal After 26 Years". latestcasinobonuses.com. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
- Parry, Wayne (October 10, 2016). "Donald Trump: 'No reason' for Taj Mahal casino shutdown (updated)". CDC Gaming Reports. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
- "Taj Mahal Shooter Gets 30 Years Behind Bars". NBC 10 Philadelphia.
- Man admits killing casino worker.
- "Attention". state.nj.us.
- "Deadly Atlantic City carjack". New York Post.
- Milo, Paul (March 30, 2016). "7 arrested in connection with shooting at Trump Taj Mahal". www.nj.com. NJ Advance Media. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
Police responded to the 47th floor of the hotel on a report of shots fired at a party with about 20 people in attendance. Two teenage victims of the shooting were immediately identified after they arrived at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening wounds... On Monday, a 15-year-old who police said had a loaded weapon in his waistband was arrested...he too had been shot during the party and was treated.
- "About One Card". trumpcasinos.com. Archived from the original on August 4, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
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