January 19, 2015 |
ATLANTIC CITY - The winter here is traditionally brutal for resort business, but a glut of vehicles to transport patrons that once filled the casinos has created a new class of beleaguered taxicab drivers. Nadir Khan, 57, is ready to throw in the towel after four years. "I can't make a living," Khan said as he sat in his taxi outside the Trump Taj Mahal last week. From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Khan had two fares totaling $29. The lease on his cab was recently dropped from $275 to $170 a week because business has been so off. Still, Khan - who has three children and a stay-at-home wife to support - can't cover the lower fee, much less his daily gas. "I bring my dreams to America, but now I don't know where to go," said the Pakistani native who arrived in Atlantic City in 1986 - eight years after the first casino, Resorts, opened on the Boardwalk.
December 16, 2014 |
ATLANTIC CITY - It wasn't long ago that the ovens at Formica Bros. Bakery were going full blast - putting out 50,000 pieces of bread a day. As recently as 2007, the nearly century-old establishment in the city's Ducktown section employed 70 people. Owner Frank Formica recalls how orders from casinos were like yeast to his dough, lifting his bakery's bottom line ever higher. Then, pummeled by out-of-state competitors, the casinos began to fall into a swoon, and this year, as four of them closed, Formica lost a big chunk of his business "in the blink of an eye. " He is down to 35,000 to 40,000 pieces a day, employs 40, and is sending his trucks ever farther to find new customers.
December 13, 2014 |
ATLANTIC CITY - A city tax lien sale brought faltering Atlantic City some pre-Christmas cheer Thursday - a $22 million tax bill from bankrupt Trump Plaza and Taj Mahal will be paid - but also some coal: Nobody bid on a $32.5 million unpaid tax bill from Revel. "I'm concerned," said the city's revenue director, Michael Stinson, after the four-hour sale, with a total of nearly $59 million in owed taxes on 1,000 properties, yielded at most half of that. Stinson said the tax sale plus an imminent $40 million note sale should be enough to get the city over the immediate 2014 budgetary crisis.
December 7, 2014 |
The Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City is likely to remain open until Dec. 20, as its parent company continues to negotiate for financial aid from the city or the State of New Jersey, the bankrupt Trump Entertainment Resorts said Friday. However, some employees already started working fewer hours this week, Kathleen McSweeney, senior vice president of market operations for Trump Entertainment, said in a statement. The Taj Mahal closed one of its hotel towers Monday, and at that point still planned to close the casino next Friday, according to a Nov. 26 petition on its closing plans filed with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
November 28, 2014 |
Investor Carl Icahn has agreed to lend Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. up to $5 million to help the owner of Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City pay its bankruptcy expenses into January. The move, described in a bankruptcy court filing Wednesday, could indicate that a deal is near to keep the Taj Mahal open. Trump has said it will close the casino Dec. 12 if its biggest union doesn't drop an appeal of an October bankruptcy ruling that stripped workers of company-sponsored health insurance.
November 20, 2014 |
ATLANTIC CITY - Vera Coking famously refused to sell to Donald Trump. But in the end, she sold to Carl Icahn. Property records in Atlantic County show that Coking's famous but now-vacant white house, in the shadow of the famous but now-shuttered Trump Plaza, is now owned by IEH Enterprises - Icahn. The house at 127 S. Columbia Place was sold at auction in August for $583,000. At the time, Atlantic City lawyer Pat Agnellini said he was the bidder on site - and on the phone - who walked away with the winning bid. Agnellini declined to say at the time whom he represented other than himself, or what the plans were for the property.
November 6, 2014 |
The two push-button house phones outside the main entrance of the vacant Trump Plaza hotel in Atlantic City remain. A sign outlining access rules concludes with "Trespassers will be prosecuted. " They may as well also take down the "Valet Only" sign. Nobody's allowed in the driveway. There's a big fight next door at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday, Bernard Hopkins against Sergey Kovalev for the light-heavyweight title. There will be a strong crowd. It just won't be quite like the old days, certainly not next door.
November 6, 2014 |
Ahead of a key court hearing Wednesday in Wilmington, Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. filed a revised bankruptcy plan showing that Carl Icahn - who is owed $292 million by Trump - could recover between 38 percent and 65 percent of his claim. Those percentages are based on estimated values of Trump Entertainment's two properties - the Trump Taj Mahal and the former Trump Plaza, which closed Sept. 16. The values range from $110 million, if the Taj Mahal is closed, to $190 million if the Taj Mahal remains open, the filing said.
October 14, 2014 |
ATLANTIC CITY - As city police hauled away about two dozen of his casino union brethren in handcuffs at a mass protest last week, longtime Trump Taj Mahal bartender Al Messina couldn't help but wonder aloud: Is this what 24 years comes down to? What happened to the bond between the casino industry and its workers? Messina and about 6,000 employees were part of Atlantic City history on April 2, 1990, when the Taj, then dubbed the "eighth wonder of the world" by founder and former owner Donald Trump, opened.