Trump name coming off closed casino

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — The Trump name is coming off the shuttered Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City.

Trump Entertainment Resorts began removing letters spelling out the Trump name on the casino’s exterior Monday morning. Also, workers removed slot machines from the casino, which shut down on Sept. 16.

The action is part of a lawsuit Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka are pressing against Trump Entertainment to have their name stripped from the Trump Taj Mahal casino, and the company itself. They claim the company let the two casinos fall into such disrepair that it violated quality standards agreed to by both sides. The company is in bankruptcy and threatening to shut its last casino — the Taj Mahal — next month.

“This is a very important step for us,” Ivanka Trump told The Associated Press on Monday. “It was pretty cut and dry: when we gave them a license to use our name, it was contingent on quality control and performance. They did not meet the high standards of luxury in every other asset in the Trump brand.”

Trump Entertainment officials declined comment.

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While simultaneously seeking to have the Trump name removed from the Taj Mahal, and from Trump Entertainment Resorts, Ivanka Trump said her father is still considering trying to acquire the Taj Mahal from bankruptcy court and save it.

In a statement, Donald Trump emphasized he has had nothing to do with the company other than licensing his name to it since 2009.

“I am saddened to see that the current managers and owners of the Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal were unable to operate these properties to the highest standards of luxury and success as required under the license agreement and consistent with my name and reputation,” he said. “Because of constant defaults of the standards stipulated in the license agreement, I had no choice but to terminate the license agreement and require TER to remove the Trump name from both buildings.”

Trump Entertainment is in bankruptcy court in Delaware, seeking permission to terminate the pension plans of the 2,800 or so Taj Mahal employees. A judge last week refused to immediately let them do so, but scheduled additional hearings on that request and other cost-saving measures.

Trump Entertainment has said that without significant cost relief from the union, including the elimination of employees’ pension and health care, and an injection of $100 million from billionaire investor Carl Icahn, it will close the Taj Mahal on or before Nov. 13.

Icahn holds most of the company’s debt, and has said he will consider acquiring the Taj Mahal by converting its debt into ownership only if a series of governmental concessions are made. They include a request that Atlantic City drastically slash its tax assessment of the company’s property — something Mayor Don Guardian has already ruled out.

Union president Bob McDevitt said Monday that Local 54 will block traffic in an act of civil disobedience Wednesday night to protest giveback demands at the Taj Mahal.

“What gives these high-priced lawyers the right to come down here and tell me I can’t have my health care plan anymore?” asked Al Kare, a food server at the Taj Mahal for 18 years. “We make an average of $12 per hour. I earn my health care plan and my dignity, and these vultures can’t have either one.”

Trump Entertainment officials declined comment.

BY WAYNE PARRY, Associated Press

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