Bankrupt Trump Taj Mahal casino expects to run out of cash in mid-January, seeks new financing

Markets Associated Press

The Trump Taj Mahal casino expects to run out of cash by mid-January and is seeking new financing to get it through bankruptcy.

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Trump Entertainment Resorts asked a Delaware bankruptcy court Wednesday to approve $5 million in debtor-in-possession financing from billionaire Carl Icahn to keep it afloat during its Chapter 11 case.

The company plans to turn itself over to Icahn, who would cancel $286 million in company debt he holds. Icahn would invest $100 million into it but only if significant tax breaks are obtained from state and local governments and if the union ends its appeal of cost-saving measures Trump Entertainment won in bankruptcy court.

The company plans to close the Taj Mahal on Dec. 12 unless Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union drops an appeal of a court order that ended health care and pension plans for workers. Ongoing talks have yet to result in an agreement that would keep the casino open.

Trump Entertainment says it expects to burn through all its remaining cash by Jan. 16, a month later than a previous estimate.

William Hardie III, managing director of Houlihan Lokey Capital, an investment bank advising Trump Entertainment, said in his court filing that there are no other financing alternatives available to the company. Without the additional $5 million financing, he said, Trump Entertainment won't be able to emerge from Chapter 11.

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A hearing is scheduled for next week in Delaware on whether Trump Entertainment's Chapter 11 reorganization case should be converted into a Chapter 7 liquidation case.

In a letter to union president Bob McDevitt on Tuesday, Icahn confided that buying the Taj Mahal would be "a bad investment for me." But he said he's willing to do it anyway to save the casino's 3,000 jobs. Icahn also owns Atlantic City's Tropicana Casino and Resort, which he also bought out of bankruptcy.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC