Bob Brady. Photo | Jeff Fusco
This is an opinion column by U.S. Rep. Bob Brady.
Donald Trump routinely touts his casinos in Atlantic City as an example of his skill as a businessman. But Trump’s self-proclaimed huge success in Atlantic City was in reality a series of failures. Trump may have personally benefited from bankrupting his casinos and driving them into debt, but workers, small business owners and the city suffered while he got rich.
Many of us have seen firsthand Trump’s repeated business failures in Atlantic City. In the 1990s, he filed Chapter 11 three times on casinos which included The Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Castle, and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. Then in the 2000s, he filed for bankruptcy two more times in Atlantic City. Read more »
Hillary Clinton (she’s in there, we swear!) is mobbed by striking Trump Taj Mahal workers and press at Pacific and Virginia avenues on Wednesday, July 6th. | Photo by Dan McQuade
Workers cheered. The press swarmed. The Secret Service yelled at people to get on the sidewalk.
After her rally in front of the closed Trump Plaza on Wednesday afternoon, Hillary Clinton made a quick stop at the entrance of the Trump Taj Mahal to greet striking workers. Clinton shook hands for about five minutes.
“Workers are on strike at the Trump Taj Mahal,” Clinton said. “And we should all support them.” (The casino union, which endorsed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, removed his image from its window before Clinton’s visit.) Read more »
Photo | Dan McQuade
On the boardwalk outside a closed casino that was once part of Donald Trump’s Atlantic City empire, Hillary Clinton made her case that Trump is unfit to be president.
Clinton, the presumed Democratic nominee, ran through a litany of Trump’s struggles in Atlantic City. She talked about his former casino empire, once a third of the city’s market, that is now in the hands of other companies. She talked about Vera Coking’s house, which Trump once tried to take via eminent domain for limousine parking. She even talked about his use of junk bonds in the late 1980s.
“He intentionally ran up huge amounts of debt on his companies. He borrowed at high interest rates even after he promised regulators he wouldn’t. And here’s what he said: ‘I figured it was the banks’ problem, not mine. What do I care?’” said Clinton. “He doesn’t default and go bankrupt as a last resort, he does it over and over on purpose.” Read more »
Hillary Clinton is heading to Donald Trump’s old playground to attack the presumptive Republican nominee tomorrow.
Clinton will appear in Atlantic City at 12:15 p.m. in front of Boardwalk Hall. According to a release from the Clinton camp, Clinton will make “the case that Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to serve as president, based on the wake of destruction his business dealings caused in the seaside town and for businesses and families across the country.”
Trump once had three casinos and numerous other properties in Atlantic City, but a series of bankruptcies reduced his presence there from a third of the market to simply a deal with Carl Icahn to use his name on the Trump Taj Mahal. Read more »
Photo | Dan McQuade
Trump Taj Mahal workers walked out at 6 a.m. this morning, striking before the busy holiday weekend after their union was not able to reach a contract agreement.
Workers with UNITE HERE Local 54, who threatened to strike at five casinos earlier this week, reached agreements with Caesars Entertainment (Caesars, Bally’s and Harrah’s) and the Tropicana yesterday. They were not able to come to an agreement with the Taj, and announced a strike early this morning.
“For 20 months, 1,000 loyal Taj Mahal employees have been fighting to restore the middle class jobs that were destroyed in the bankruptcy,” said Fabia Sespedes, a housekeeper at the Taj Mahal for the last nine years. “Today, we said enough is enough, and went on strike for a restoration of health benefits and fair wages and working conditions.” Read more »
Photo | Dan McQuade
UPDATE, 4:45 p.m.: Per The Press of Atlantic City, workers at the Tropicana Casino have reached a tentative agreement with management. Only the Trump Taj Mahal remains without an agreement with Local 54 UNITE-HERE.
EARLIER: The union that represents nearly all uniformed Atlantic City workers has reached a deal with three casinos before a Friday deadline.
UNITE-HERE Local 54 President Bob McDevitt confirmed Thursday morning the union had reached a deal with Caesars Entertainment, which owns Caesars, Bally’s and Harrah’s casinos in Atlantic City. McDevitt declined interview requests and did not release details of the contract. Read more »
The Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City. | Photo: Dan McQuade
Elaine Malloy has been a cocktail server at Bally’s for almost 26 years. She makes $8.99 an hour.
“It’s a disgrace to work at $8.99 an hour,” Malloy says, “and try to pay a mortgage, utility bills, clothing, college expenses. Everything in the economy goes up, but unfortunately my wage hasn’t.”
Malloy is a tipped employee, and she says she’s been able to survive on the “generosity of my customers.” But she says it’s hard to make a decent tip rate working at Bally’s because you’re always doing things that aren’t, officially, part of the job, like giving directions to attractions in the casino and the city.
“It’s a disgrace that, when over the years the casinos needed help,” Malloy says, “we the workers decided to give back over $1,500 to help them get out of the rut that they put themselves in. Now they need to help their workers.” Read more »
Philadelphia thought it was pretty darn progressive by decriminalizing marijuana in 2014, but if one New Jersey lawmaker has his way, Atlantic City could one-up Philly by becoming an all out marijuana tourism destination like Vancouver, Denver, Seattle and Amsterdam. Read more »
Photo | Dan McQuade
The video is professional. Beach shots are interspersed with close-ups of Revel, the $2 billion failed casino experiment at the north end of Atlantic City’s boardwalk. It’s a rebranding video: The new name for Revel will be Lacuna.
But it’s not official. It’s essentially fan fiction. The “Lacuna Beach Resort and Casino” is an attempt to attract the attention of Revel owner Glenn Straub. Last week while watching presentations from Columbia University architecture students about the future of Revel, Straub promised $10,000 to whoever comes up with a new name for the casino. Entrepreneurs, like the people behind Lacuna, have already set up Facebook pages in an attempt to win Straub’s attention (and, presumably, $10,000). Read more »
Photo | Jeff Fusco
MGM will soon be the sole owner of the Borgata.
Boyd Gaming and MGM Resorts International, co-owners of Borgata parent company Marina District Development Holding Company, announced late yesterday they had entered into an agreement for Boyd to sell its 50 percent stake to MGM for $900 million. Boyd will also get a 50 percent share of any property tax rebates.
“The consistent success of Borgata is a tribute to the entire Borgata team, as they have continued to outperform an evolving and challenging Atlantic City market,” Boyd president and CEO Keith Smith said in a release. “We thank them for their tremendous contributions to Borgata and Boyd Gaming, and we wish them continued success as they join the MGM team.” Read more »