WARN letters go out to Trump Plaza workers
Over 1,000 employees of Trump Plaza will receive their Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) letters today as the casino moves forward with its plans to close in September. However, there could be some hope to save the casino and for Atlantic City's future.
In the notice, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, the company lists 1,153 under a section that reads, "Number of employees to be terminated."
Longtime Atlantic City talk show host Harry Hurley, a former Trump executive, says there is a "very interested buyer" for the property from a foreign company that wants to keep it operating as a hotel and casino. It is not known if they would maintain the "Trump" name.
Hurley also reports that MGM is interested in getting back into the casino business and will re-apply for its Atlantic City gaming license. In 2007, the company announced plans to build the $5 billion, multi-tower, 3.000 room MGM Mirage resort and casino that would include a 1,500 seat theater, retail and convention space adjacent to the Borgata.
The project ground to a halt in 2008, however, after the company's earnings plunged during its third quarter. In 2010 MGM attemtped to leave New Jersey completely, putting its 50 percent share in the Borgata up for sale after the company's relationship with Pansy Ho, their partner in the Chinese gambling resort of Macau, came under question. Pansy Ho was believed to have connections to Asian organized crime gangs at the time.
However, after there were no takers for the share, the company in 2013 applied to New Jersey Casino Control Commission to keep its stake and reconsider its status in order to "once again be an active, contributing member of the New Jersey gaming marketplace through our 50 percent ownership of Borgata." A decision has yet to be announced.
More recently, MGM Resorts International is expanding its gaming business with new properties in Springfield, Massachusetts and another resort in Maryland just outside Washington D.C.Howard Sturz, the Las Vegas Review-Journal's "Inside Gambling" columnist writes if MGM's share of Borgata's earnings were added to the company's bottom line it would help fund future expansion. The money has been held in a trust since 2009.
Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54, the union representing Trump Plaza employees, wrote on the union's Facebook page, "We are going to do whatever it takes to stand with these workers and fight for the future of south Jersey." He is calling on Trenton to get involved in the closing of Atlantic City casinos and the loss of jobs "with more than just sympathetic sound bites; we demand action equal to the magnitude of this pending catastrophe." On Hurley's show McDevitt called out state Senator Jim Whalen (D-Northfield) for a "a lack of leadership" on helping Atlantic City.
Meanwhile, the man whose name is on the hotel wants to make it clear he is not involved in the day-to-day operation of the casino.
Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that "I have nothing to do with the Plaza Casino in Atlantic City. I have not been involved with Atlantic City for many years. Used to love A.C.!" His name also remains on Trump Taj Mahal by contractual agreement according to Hurley. "We may have to do something about the name," Trump told the New York Daily News.
Trump opened Trump Plaza in 1984 but resigned in 2009 as Chairman of the Board of Directors of what is now Trump Entertainment. Two attempts to sell the property have failed.