Icahn deal to keep Donald Trump's name on Taj Mahal Casino

Monday, March 9, 2015

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- The Donald Trump name will stay in Atlantic City.

Billionaire Carl Icahn reached an agreement Monday with Trump to allow his name to remain on the Trump Taj Mahal Casino.

Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump had sued the owner of the casino seeking to strip their surname from it. The casino is being acquired by Icahn, who has put up $20 million to keep it going through bankruptcy proceedings.

Donald Trump said he was happy to have reached the deal with Icahn, someone he greatly respects personally and professionally.

"The Trump Taj Mahal, under the right leadership and with the proposed significant reinvestment in the property, can be, once again, a wonderful place for travel and entertainment," he said in a statement.

The casino's owner, Trump Entertainment Resorts, which Donald Trump once ran, said in the court filing Monday that the Trump name is "iconic" and "an invaluable asset and point of differentiation of the company."

Icahn said he has known Trump for years and respects the brand he has built and the esteem in which so many people hold it.

"I hope to be able to restore the Trump Taj Mahal to its former glory," Icahn said in a statement.

The Trumps had said that Trump Entertainment Resorts allowed its two Atlantic City casinos to fall into disrepair, which they said damaged their brand. Ivanka Trump said the deal with Icahn allows the company to retain its rights to monitor the Taj Mahal hotel to make sure it's brought up to their standards.

A federal judge ruled last month that the Trumps could move forward with their lawsuit in state court. Trump Entertainment Resorts had appealed that decision last week.

After the suit was filed, the company agreed to strip the Trump name from most of Trump Plaza, which closed Sept. 16, but was fighting to keep using it at the Taj Mahal, its lone remaining casino.

The agreement Monday also requires Trump Entertainment Resorts to remove "any and all vestiges" of the name from the facade of the shuttered Trump Plaza casino. The Trump Plaza sign was removed, but the name is still outlined in dirt or rust in many spots.

Donald Trump no longer runs or controls Trump Entertainment Resorts, which was formed after the Trump casino empire emerged from the second of its three bankruptcies. But he retains a 10 percent stake in it.

He is particularly sensitive to any negative associations of his name with Atlantic City. He has repeatedly said he has had no involvement for at least six years with the casinos that bear his name.

Icahn is acquiring Trump Entertainment by swapping its debt that he owns in return for ownership of the company.

The agreement has to be approved by a federal bankruptcy court judge in Delaware.