The Donald Trump connection doesn’t always guarantee success. Take, for example, the two Atlantic City casinos that bear his name.
Trump Entertainment Resorts’ pair of properties on the famous New Jersey Boardwalk, Trump Taj Mahal and the closed Trump Plaza, are currently in bankruptcy proceedings.
To be fair, Trump hasn’t been involved in the management of the Atlantic City properties for years. And for once, the usually outrageous and outspoken billionaire is shying away from publicity. He’s sued to have his name removed from the casinos, saying they are a disgrace to the Trump brand.
The distraught gambling houses, however, might be just what the financially strapped Atlantic City needs.
Tax liens could help replenish city coffers
In the wake of four casino closures this year, including Trump Plaza, the Eastern Seaboard gambling haven is struggling to meet its annual budget. City officials hope that the sale of tax liens from delinquent betting operations will help fill some of that fiscal hole.
They have asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, that is handling the Trump proceedings for permission to sell an almost $22 million lien on unpaid property taxes on the two pieces of real estate. The court’s approval is required because the bankruptcy code protects Trump Entertainment from litigation and creditor collections.
A reported $17.5 million in taxes is owed on the Trump Taj Mahal and $4.4 million on the defunct Trump Plaza. News reports of the delinquent real estate taxes indicate that the delinquent Trump Entertainment taxes account for more than 10 percent of Atlantic City’s annual $200 million budget.
In its filing with the bankruptcy court, the city argues that unless it is allowed to sell the rights to collect the taxes, the management of its budget and finances will be “severely hindered.”
Another casino overdue, too
Atlantic City officials are hopeful they can add the Trump properties to a planned Dec. 11 tax lien sale. Already scheduled to be offered that date is the nearly $32 million property tax lien against the shuttered Revel Casino. A New Jersey bankruptcy judge signed off on the Revel transaction.
On a personal note, I am very sad to see Atlantic City in such dire financial straits. Not only is the city suffering, but hundreds of people who work there have lost or could lose jobs.
Visitors also are being denied the chance to experience a unique locale. When the hubby and I lived in Maryland, we visited Atlantic City on occasion. Yes, it was a bit cheesy even in flusher days, but that was part of the charm.
I hope that the tax lien proceeds can help the town that inspired the Monopoly board game pass go, collect some cash and return to better days.
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Veteran contributing editor Kay Bell is the author of the book “The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes” and co-author of the e-book “Future Millionaires’ Guidebook.”