NJ Senate President Says Carl Icahn Should Not Get State Funds for Casino Demolition
New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney spoke out against Carl Icahn’s request for state funds on Monday. Icahn, the owner of Trump Plaza, is requesting $5.6 million from the state to cover part of the cost of demolishing the shuttered casino. Sweeney believes the New Jersey should not contribute a dime.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority gave Icahn preliminary approval for the use of the funds last week. The funds he is requesting come from the Investment Alternative Tax, which was intended to pay for urban renewal in Atlantic City.
However, the CRDA has demonstrated a willingness to reappropriate the funds in recent years. Instead of supporting new urban development, the CRDA has diverted the money to current casino owners and to pay some of Atlantic City’s debt.
Sweeney called the CRDA on Monday, urging them to deny Icahn’s request. He reminded the Authority of Icahn’s sordid history as a casino owner in the city, calling the request for demolition funding just another scheme from a billionaire who wants to take advantage of the town.
In a press statement, Sweeney called Icahn a “profiteer who denies fair pay and benefits to workers,” referring to the 2016 battle between Icahn and the casino workers’ unions in which Icahn refused to negotiate with the unions over medical coverage and other employee benefits. The feud ultimately ended in a labor strike and the closure of the Trump Taj Mahal.
Icahn says the demolition will cost around $13 million. He plans to turn the location into a parking lot.