New Jersey aims to punish Icahn for closing Trump Taj Mahal

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Lawmakers are about to give final approval to a bill that would punish billionaire investor Carl Icahn for closing Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal casino.

The state Assembly is to vote Monday on a bill that would impose a five-year license suspension for anyone shutting down a casino after January 2016.

That means it would apply only to Icahn at this point, even though four other casinos have closed since 2014.

If passed by the Assembly, the measure would go to Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s desk; the state Senate gave it final approval in October.

Republican President-elect Donald Trump built the casino in 1990 but cut most ties with Atlantic City in 2009.

Icahn acquired it from bankruptcy court in March.

He says the bill is unconstitutional, would discourage investment in Atlantic City and would make it virtually impossible to reopen the casino should he decide to do so in the future.

Local 54 of the Unite-HERE casino workers union went on strike against the Taj Mahal on July 1, having been unable to reach agreement on a new deal with Icahn.

Icahn decided in August to shut the casino down Oct. 10.

There is no deadline for the owner of a shuttered casino to surrender its casino license. Senate President Steve Sweeney, a Democrat, has said he introduced the bill to prevent owners from closing a casino and then “sitting on” the license for years.

His bill would return the casino license to such an owner if he or she reaches a deal with casino labor unions to reopen the casino.

It would not apply to the Tropicana, another Icahn-owned casino that has a contract with Local 54. Nor would it apply to the four casinos that shut down in 2014: The Atlantic Club, Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza.

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