Trump Taj Mahal owner Carl Icahn is planning to surrender his New Jersey gaming license this week, but he’s not going to go down quietly. The billionaire investor is planting poison pills in the building’s deed to make certain that if it ever becomes a casino again, he gets a cut of the action.
Icahn’s bizarre real estate moves went into motion early this week when lawyers for the billionaire filed deed restrictions on the property barring its use as a casino unless Icahn is paid an additional fee. That move seems clearly intent on making certain that the prime piece of Atlantic City Boardwalk remains shuttered for quite some time.
Of course Icahn doesn’t care much about the fate of Atlantic City and is more than happy to sit on the parcel until the right deal comes along. In an interview with the Associated Press he shared his strategy for the Trump Taj Mahal saying:
<blockquote>We are not looking to sell it, not at today’s prices. I made my fortune buying things cheap.</blockquote>
While Icahn is certainly interested in making money on the property, he’s also looking to take a little revenge on the man who ran him out of the casino business, New Jersey state Senate President Steve Sweeney. Sweeney sponsored a bill that prevents casino owners who shut their doors from opening a new casino for five years. (Icahn shut down the Taj Mahal while his workers were striking in an effort to receive court mandated benefits for their labors.)
Whether Icahn’s gambit will pay off remains to be seen. It seems unlikely that one more abandoned casino on the Atlantic City Boardwalk will make much of a difference one way or the other. At the same time, Icahn’s poison pill may insure that his property stays vacant for a very long time.
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