ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – New Jersey's Senate president wants a state redevelopment agency to reject a $5.6 million payment to help billionaire investor Carl Icahn tear down an Atlantic City casino that President Donald Trump built in the 1980s.
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New Jersey's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority gave preliminary approval last week to a plan to let Icahn use money from investment tax credits he had paid to the state agency. Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney on Monday called on the agency to reject the payment to Icahn, saying he has "an antagonistic record of treating employees."
The money would go toward the $13.2 million cost of demolishing the shuttered Trump Plaza casino, making way for an as-yet undetermined project.
"Carl Icahn is no friend to Atlantic City and he has a record of harsh treatment of working people," Sweeney said. "I have serious questions about allowing him to take $5.6 million in funds intended to promote economic development for the city and its residents and instead use the money for his own property. He has a track record as a profiteer who denies fair pay and benefits to workers."
Icahn did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
Icahn closed the Trump Taj Mahal last year and Sweeney has gone after him publicly, authoring a bill that would have punished Icahn for shutting the casino down. It passed the Democratic-controlled state Legislature, but was vetoed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who called it an example of the Legislature's worst instincts in getting government involved in private business disputes.
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Trump Plaza was closed in September 2014 under previous ownership that succeeded Donald Trump but preceded Icahn.
Icahn sold the Taj Mahal to Hard Rock International in March, which plans to reopen it next summer. He told The Associated Press at the time he decided to seek a buyer for the shuttered casino because of Sweeney's bill that would have punished Icahn for closing the Taj by stripping him of a casino license for the property for five years.
The casino reinvestment agency hasn't scheduled a date to make a final decision on Icahn's request.
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