ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Recently Icahn Enterprises LP (IEP) rescued the failing bankrupt Taj Mahal Casino Hotel and has kept it open thereby saving the jobs of thousands of union and non-union employees. In order to accomplish this, IEP invested over $86 million to keep the Taj Mahal open at a time when no one else was willing to invest even $1.
IEP also retained the services of Tropicana Entertainment Inc. to manage the Taj and also invested $86 million to keep the Taj from closing. (It should also be noted that IEP also invested over $150 million in Tropicana Atlantic City in order to turn the property from bankruptcy to profitability, when no one else wanted to invest. The Tropicana today stands out as one of Atlantic City’s few success stories where four other casino-hotels have been forced to close.)
Despite the fact that the Taj continues to struggle financially and that any concessions to the Union would further exacerbate the property’s negative cash flow, the Taj ownership has engaged in good faith negotiations with the elected employees of the Taj Bargaining Committee. Last night we presented a proposal that we were under the impression would be acceptable to the Committee, but unfortunately the Committee chose to reject the deal. In a good faith attempt to try to reach agreement on a new labor contract covering bartenders, housekeepers, porters and other employees, our proposal increased and restored employee benefits including the restoration of contributions toward an employee health insurance program.
Tony Rodio, TEI’s President and CEO, the manager of the Taj Mahal stated, “It is extremely unfortunate that the employees of the Taj Bargaining Committee have decided to strike the Taj despite all of our efforts in these past several months to turn around the Taj, restore employee morale and prepare the Taj for the summer opening. The employees of the Taj Bargaining Committee seem hell-bent on trying to close this property and killing the jobs and livelihood of the other Taj employees including their own union members and members of other unions notwithstanding the fact that Taj ownership has presented good faith concrete progressive proposals to restore certain employee benefits including contributions toward employee health care. They are hurting their own and everybody else during the busiest time of the year.”
Alan Rivin, Taj’s General Manager stated, “Despite the labor action, the Taj Mahal remains open for business and is fully functioning. We have strike contingency plans in place and are prepared to welcome our guests and continue to provide everyone first class accommodations and entertainment this weekend and throughout the summer. We expect the strike to have minimal impact on our operations. We have recently spent over $15 million to renovate hundreds of hotel rooms, public spaces, reopen our poker room and add new slot product to the casino floor. The place looks great and we have a full slate of entertainment and activities planned for the weekend.”