The controversial casino owner made his decision after New Jersey lawmakers targeted his union-busting activities with a bill that would have stripped him of casino license for five years. Under the terms of the bill Icahn, and any other casino owner who shut down their casino during a strike, would also be prohibited from selling the property for five years.
Though the New Jersey legislature passed the bill Governor Chris Christie, an outspoken Donald Trump supporter, vetoed the bill. In a statement to the press, as reported on by the Associated Press, Christie said the bill:
This bill represents the Legislature at its worst It is 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.
Representatives of the striking casino workers maintain that Icahn’s bid to shut the Trump Taj Mahal was not based on finances, but merely on a desire to break the union and sell the casino to someone else. Icahn further maintains that providing basic healthcare to his employees, a common feature of the American workplace, was an impediment to a profitable Atlantic City casino.
Icahn maintains that the bill, which was sponsored by NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney, unfairly targeted “large investors” and would have a long-term, negative impact on Atlantic City’s financial well-being.
Sweeney has not yet commented on Icahn’s decision to take his ball and go home.
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