ATLANTIC CITY — Billionaire Carl C. Icahn says that he’s already in the process of tearing down the old Trump Plaza building on the Boardwalk, and that Atlantic City does not need to go to court to force him to do so, which it did Thursday.

Once the centerpiece of Donald Trump’s seaside casino empire, the empty Trump Plaza is crumbling before the city’s eyes, shedding large chunks of its stucco facade and creating an “imminent hazard” to anyone walking near it, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. said Thursday.

On Friday, Icahn Enterprises issued a statement from Hunter Gary, president of real estate, saying the decision to tear down the building had already been made by the time the city conducted an emergency inspection and then filed a request in Superior Court asking that Icahn be forced to wrap and then demolish the eyesore.

“We are puzzled by the city’s actions,” Gary said. “In fact, we have already decided to demo the building and have commenced the process, including finalizing contracts. If the mayor had simply called us instead of holding a press conference, we could have updated him too.”

The Plaza, which opened on May 15, 1984, was one of four casinos to close in 2014, as Atlantic City’s economy cratered. Once a jewel, it was a stained-carpet, squeaky-revolving-door, no-room-service center of the Boardwalk Icahn-owned embarrassment by the time of its final hand of blackjack. Its condition has deteriorated since.

Small said Friday the city had no notice of Icahn’s activity and would continue its court action. “We want them to put that on the record when they go to court and [then], done deal,” Small said.

The city has long been in negotiations with Icahn to tear down the building, but escalated its actions after video showed a large concrete slab of the facade falling to the street minutes before people began arriving for a wrestling tournament at Boardwalk Hall last Saturday.

In its court filing, the city described the property as posing “an actual and immediate danger to life,” and asked the court to order Icahn to wrap the building to prevent debris from falling and then to demolish it.