[toc]Donald Trump is well-known for protecting his brand, so it shouldn’t be overly surprising that our new president has been trying to get his brand removed from the now-shuttered Atlantic City casinos that continued to bear the Trump moniker – Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal – for several years.
Trump got his wish when Trump Plaza closed its doors in 2014, although it would be some time before the Trump name was painted and boarded over on the building’s exterior.
But in 2015 a judge ruled the Trump Taj Mahal, which was still operational at the time, could continue to use Trump in its name.
If he was keeping an eye on Twitter yesterday (particularly the account of Philly.com’s Amy Rosenberg), he was probably happy to see workers busy decoupling the “Trump” brand from the now-closed Taj Mahal.
How the Taj Mahal lost its Trump
When Carl Icahn, who also owns the Tropicana, rescued the floundering NJ casino property from bankruptcy, one of the stipulations was the removal of the Trump name from the casino if certain improvements and renovations weren’t made by March 2017.
With the casino closing its doors after a prolonged labor strike, the deadline is fast approaching and no improvements are on the horizon. So, the Trump name is already being stricken from the building.
Even if it had remained open, it’s unclear if Icahn planned to continue to promote the casino as the Trump Taj Mahal Casino or if he would simply switch to the Taj Mahal Casino.
Trump’s history with the Taj Mahal
The iconic casino has borne the Trump name since it opened in 1990, but Trump has played little-to-no role in the day-to-day operations of the casino since 2004, following the second of the casino’s four bankruptcies to date.
- During the 2004 bankruptcy, Trump’s ownership share was reduced to 25 percent; Trump also lost his operational role.
- A 2009 bankruptcy saw his stake further reduced, to go along with a messy fight that led to Trump resigning from the board of directors.
When Trump Plaza landed in bankruptcy in 2014 (the Taj wound up in bankruptcy the next year), Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump filed a lawsuit to have the Trump named removed from the increasingly rundown properties. As noted, a judge ruled that the Taj Mahal could continue to use Trump in its name.
In August of 2014, just weeks before the closure of the Trump Plaza, Trump spoke with Bloomberg Television’s Trish Regan about Atlantic City, and whether or not it was damaging his brand.
In the interview Trump made the following comments:
“I think everyone knows that I’m gone. Atlantic City was a place that I really loved; you know, I did it for a long time in Atlantic City. But a lot of people say when I left, that’s when it went bad. And in one way, I’m honored by that statement, but in another way, I feel badly about Atlantic City.”