ATLANTIC CITY — Allowing billionaire Carl Icahn to use $5.6 million in casino tax funds to help pay for the demolition of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino may be an unpopular move, but it would foster development at a critical time in the city’s history, industry watchers say.
Last year, Icahn closed Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, causing the loss of more than 3,000 jobs in the city. He is asking the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority to release his remaining Investment Alternative Tax contributions to help pay for the Plaza’s $13.5 million demolition cost.
The request has raised eyebrows and questions, often because of Icahn’s unpopularity over his moves in the resort.
But Marc Pfeiffer, assistant director of the Bloustein Local Government Research Center at Rutgers University, said Icahn’s perception in the city shouldn’t play a role in the decision.
“Atlantic City needs to continue its momentum,” Pfeiffer said. “In the long term, it’s the best for the city to have it come down. It’s a good location that something has to be done with it. There is an economy there with The Walk and Boardwalk Hall for it to be a valuable piece of property.”
No date has been set for the hearing on the request.
Icahn is well within his rights to ask for the money, said Mark Giannantonio, president and CEO of Resorts Casino Hotel and a member of the state agency’s board.