High roller: Billionaire pledges $20M to Taj Mahal

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It's been a roller coaster day for the Taj Mahal. (WPVI)

A roller coaster day for Atlantic City's Taj Mahal casino is seemingly ending with $20-million from a billionaire, which he says could keep the doors open through a bankruptcy process.

As the sun rose, the hope was for a global settlement between the union, other parties, and billionaire investor Carl Icahn. That did not happen.

"Whatever you're in the mood for, you'll find it here at Trump Taj Mahal."

The Taj Mahal PA blared its upbeat marketing message across a cold, windy boardwalk.

Despite the chill outside, guests said there was an ember of employee optimism inside that the union and Icahn were about to ink a deal.

"It's exciting to think that they are going to have that opportunity to stay open for a while. At least for the workers, because it is the holidays," Al Rake of Florida said.

The casino had been scheduled to close at 6 a.m. Saturday.

Casino-goers pointed out one positive indicator - the closing signs have been removed.

But at about 1:15 p.m. bad news came from the union. The deal had collapsed.

A statement said in part.

At noon today we were told that Carl Icahn had gone back on his commitment and would not enter into the agreement. We and everybody else thought we could start moving Atlantic City forward, but it is unfortunate that one person could put the brakes on all that.

"The employees were excited about it, but then an hour later, the deal collapsed and there's definitely no hope in there," a casino guest told Action News.

Not long after that analysis, Carl Icahn released his own letter, pledging $20 million to keep the Taj Mahal casino open indefinitely.

In a letter obtained Thursday by The Associated Press, Icahn promised Trump Entertainment Resorts that he will provide enough money to keep the casino open throughout bankruptcy proceedings.

Icahn calls Trump Entertainment one of the most financially distressed companies he has ever seen, but says he wants to save the jobs of the Taj Mahal's 3,000 workers.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related Topics:
businessn.j. newscasinobankruptcyAtlantic City
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