Trump Taj Mahal to Close Soon, Has Given Up
Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort will be closing soon and from the sounds of various reports, the property certainly looks like it will be closing.
According to a recent Gizmodo article (RIP Gawker) the two-month long strike of more than 1,000 Local 54 members who work at the Taj Mahal has resulted in the former poker hub of the east coast becoming a depressing hell hole. Gizmodo obtained a complaint and refund request sent to Expedia after a customer used Expedia to book a week-long birthday vacation at the Taj. The letter details a hotel in a state of neglect, a room that was caked in enough dust to choke a haunted house. The replacement hotel staff were either overworked, apathetic or both.
And the best part: Expedia never warned the customer that there was a strike going on.
“I was afraid and intimidated, when I saw the workers marching around the hotel carrying strike signs and screaming, not to go in to the Taj Mahal Casino,” the customer wrote. “There were over 1,000 workers on strike.”
After being unable to get anyone to clean an already filthy the room for more than a day, the customer did it himself. And with most of the property’s restaurants closed (can you imagine eating in one at this point?), the customer had to go elsewhere for meals. Now, for many of us, this would not be a huge problem, but this person had a disability that made it difficult to travel just the two blocks to a convenience store to buy unhealthy food. He lost five pounds on the trip because he was unwilling to eat garbage constantly.
There are many stories like this about the Trump Taj Mahal. Jay Cost detailed his stay at the hotel for The Weekly Standard, saying that the “the carpet is dirty, the wallpaper is torn, and even the bottoms of the escalators are in disrepair” and that the casino floor is mostly empty.
“The rooms are hardly better,” he added. “All the fixtures appear to be 25 years old. The paint is peeling, and so is the wallpaper. The stink of cigarettes is everywhere (on a non-smoking floor). The soap dispenser is broken. The mattresses are lumpy. The windows are obscenely dirty.”
“The property feels like it is being squeezed for every last dime before it’s finally shut down. It was impossible to get anything but lukewarm water from the shower head, and goodness knows it was not because the hotel was full (it could not have been at half capacity). That tells me they’re cutting corners by not heating the water.”
The story was the same on Philly.com, which interviewed some guests:
Despite the troubles, the Taj was still drawing its loyal customers last week. A couple from Youngstown, Ohio, said they did not like what they found.
The bathroom was dirty, carpets were stained, service strained, said Angie Dykes, who drove east with her husband, David, for a family reunion.
“It’s nasty,” said Angie. “There’s no paper towels in the restrooms, you have to use Kleenex to dry your hands. The rooms are filthy, the mattresses are old. The luxury is definitely not the way it was 10 years ago,” she said.
I stayed at the Taj ten years ago. It wasn’t that nice then. It was certainly clean and livable, but it also gave me this uncomfortable feeling walking amidst décor that looked like Donald Trump’s vision of what “wealth” was supposed to look like.
The Local 54 members have been on strike since July 1st in protest of the elimination of health and pension benefits. Said benefits were lost back in October 2014 while the casino in was bankruptcy. When it came out of bankruptcy, Carl Icahn, the casino’s top debt holder, took over its ownership. He never restored the benefits, though. After trying to negotiate a fair deal, the members of the union went on strike.
On Monday, Icahn rejected a last-ditch effort by the union to come up with a compromise plan that would allow the casino to stay open and the staff get back to work. According to ABCNews.com, the union said that its proposal would cost Icahn only $1.3 million more than his last, unacceptable offer.
“The proposal would have restored health insurance in January for Taj Mahal workers that was terminated in 2014, and would have adopted in September 2017 the same contract terms that the Icahn-owned Tropicana agreed to before the Taj strike began on July 1,” ABC News reports.
Peter Battaglini, a Taj Mahal bellman since opening day in 1990, told the site, “We came up with a proposal that will restore what we have lost, while at the same time giving the company time to rebuild its business. This is a win-win proposal in my book.”
But alas, Icahn and his management team has stood firm and will not make a deal. Earlier this month, it was announced that the casino would close after Labor Day weekend, but it now appears that the official closing day, the day that 2,848 will be laid off, will be October 10th.