Update – New Jersey Governor rejects Trump Taj Mahal closure plan

The Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie has vetoed legislation that he believes are unfair to Carl Icahn, the billionaire hoping to revive the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City.

On Monday 13th Februrary, Christie announced that he had veoted five laws including the one passed last December that imposed a five-year gaming license suspension on any casino owner who had shut an Atantlic City gaming house after January 2016.

Trump Taj Mahal

Icahn unhappy with New Jersey legislature

Carl Icahn had said that he’d sell the Trump Taj Mahal in the wake of what he considered prohibitive legislation. Furthermore, the mogul argued that “other large investors will similarly have no interest in investing significant amounts in Atlantic City or New Jersey as long as [Stephen] Sweeney is in control of the Senate.”

Stephen Sweeney is the current New Jersey State President. But the Democrat’s apparent opposition to Icahn’s position looks like it might count for nothing in the wake of Christie’s intervention.

Icahn, who had purchased the Taj in 2016, shuttered the venue in 2016 claiming that he saw “no path to profitability for the casino. It was a decision that outraged the property’s unionised workforce who refused to accept Icahn’s request that employees surrender certain health and pension benefits.

Now, after two solid years of strife, Governor Christie has issued a letter to the Garden State’s lawmakers saying that the aforementioned bill “represents the legislature at its worst. The erstwhile candidate for the Republican presidential nomination further claimed that legislators were making “a transparent attempt to punish the owner of the Taj Mahal casino for making the business decision to close its doors after its union employees went on strike and refused to negotiate in good faith.”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

Christie determined Trump Taj Mahal receives fair shake

Christie added that the bill raised constitutional issues, given its “retroactive punishment for conduct that was lawful at the time it was committed.” The Governor added that all the bill did was “confirm that New Jersey’s unions, and the members of the legislature who blindly do their bidding, remain among the most destructive forces and significant obstacles to economic growth in this state.”

Quite how the New Jersey legislature will respond to Christie’s move remains to be seen. However, in the wake of his bullishness, Don Icahn he currently isn’t interested in selling the property, going so far as to slap a deed restriction on the Trump Taj Mahal that would bars potential buyers from operating a casino on the premises unless they pay Icahn an unspecified additional fee.

Update

On Monday 13th February, the New Jersey Senate failed to override Governor Chris Christie’s veto of legislation that will, for five years, suspend the gambling license of any Garden State casino that “substantially closed” last year or in the future. As such, there no longer exists any legal impediment to billionaire investor Carl Icahn selling the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.

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