Taj Mahal casino closes hotel tower, ends credit

ATLANTIC CITY — Trump Entertainment Resorts says it is closing its newest hotel tower and is no longer issuing credit as it prepares for a Dec. 12 shutdown of the Taj Mahal, its lone remaining casino.

The company filed a petition last week with the state Division of Gaming Enforcement asking for formal permission to close the casino. The company said it was taking two actions effective Monday, the day the filing was made public: closing the Chairman Tower, the newer of its two hotel towers, and halting the issuance of credit.

The division has not acted on the petition, a spokeswoman said.

Company officials did not respond to requests for comment Monday afternoon.

Trump Entertainment has been in talks with its union and state officials on ways to save the casino and its 3,000 jobs. They hinge on the union withdrawing its appeal of a court-ordered cost-cutting plan that terminated the contract with Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union, freeing the company from costly health insurance and pension costs.

The company has since offered to resume health care coverage for its workers for the next two years, and contribute to a new pension plan the union had indicated its willingness to accept.

Trump Entertainment intends to hand itself over to billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who would cancel the $286 million in company debts he owns in return for ownership of Trump Entertainment. Icahn would invest $100 million into the Taj Mahal, but only if he can get significant state and local tax breaks — requests that thus far have been rejected at every level of government.

Last week, the company said it had made significant progress in talks with state officials, but did not specify what if any assistance might be in the offing.

The shutdown petition says the Taj Mahal will close at 5:59 a.m. on Dec. 12, and the final hotel guests have until noon that day to check out. Cars have to be out of the garage by 5 that evening.

The company also says in the petition it has notified its bars and restaurants that they must prepare “wind-down plans” but has not yet heard back from them. They include the Scores gentlemen’s club; Il Mulino; Trattoria; Sbarro’s; Hard Rock Cafe; and Royal Albert’s.

The main casino cash cage will remain open until 8 a.m. Dec. 12 to let patrons cash in their winnings. Slot tickets, marker redemptions and other cage transactions can be made for 30 days after the casino closing.

Donald Trump, who used to control the company, now has only a 10 percent ownership stake.

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