Plans to auction off the chance to blow up Donald Trump’s former casino in Atlantic City have been curtailed following a cease-and-desist letter from a local businessman.
Bodnar’s Auction House had planned to let the highest bidder push the button to dynamite the former casino property, which has been standing derelict since 2014. However, billionaire Carl Icahn has stepped up to legally block the move.
He presented a cease-and-desist letter to Bodnar’s, claiming that the ‘spectacle’ would present a significant safety risk to the local area with falling debris and dust clouds. The auction house has stopped accepting bids, and Icahn has promised to donate $175,000 to the charity Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City, who were set to be the main recipient of the money raised.
“From the beginning, we thought the auction and any other related spectacle presented a safety risk, and we were always clear that we would not participate in any way,” Icahn said in a statement online via his spokesperson.
Back in 2017, Icahn was employed as a ‘special advisor’ to Trump during the early days of his presidency, however the former stepped down when a reportedly explosive magazine article – highlighting his various conflicts of interest – was set for publication. This alleged that Icahn, who owns a number of businesses in the energy sector, campaigned to the president for a change in the law that would have improved his firm’s operating conditions.
Could a New Casino Be Heading for Atlantic City?
When announcing the plan to auction off the chance to deliver a fitting end to Trump’s reign in the White House, the mayor of Atlantic City – Marty Small – hoped that the bidding would raise $1 million for the local charity, which offers educational opportunities for youngsters in the area.
So, in the end, perhaps Icahn got a bargain in preserving his friendship with Trump!
Small confirmed that the casino building will still be demolished, albeit in a low key, private manner, and praised the billionaire for making a donation to go with his cease-and-desist letter.
“We agree with Mr. Icahn that public safety is paramount,” he told media outlets in the United States.
“It is very important that we maintain a positive relationship with Mr. Icahn because the next conversation we need to have is what should be developed there.”
The hope is that a new casino could be built to try and revive the flagging fortunes of the Atlantic City resort, which has fallen upon hard times with many of its buildings boarded and significant numbers of jobs lost.
Trump originally opened his Trump Plaza casino in 1984 after negotiating a prime spot on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, and in addition to hosting tourists from around the world at its slot machines, roulette wheel and blackjack table it has also welcomed a number of high-profile boxing bouts, including Mike Tyson’s demolition of Michael Spinks, as well as two editions of WrestleMania. It also played host to an infamous baccarat session in 1990 that was later immortalised in the movie Casino – Japanese businessman Akio Kashiwagi lost $10 million on that fateful night.
The Trump Plaza closed in 2014 and has been empty ever since, and such is its state of disrepair that local authorities have begun demolition proceedings prior to the auction being launched. The planned demolition date of January 29 has now been set back.