The owners of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City said in a court filing Friday they expected to close the Boardwalk property on or before Dec. 12.
Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. had been warning for months the struggling casino might close this fall if it didn't get significant relief from its biggest union and millions in government aid.
The company got the relief it sought from labor last month when a bankruptcy judge allowed it to reject the union contract, but the government help it wanted - in the form of $175 million in aid over five years, including $55 million immediately - has not arrived.
The company has "not obtained the tax relief and incentives they have sought and do not expect that they will receive assistance" before exiting bankruptcy, the filing said.
"Therefore, the debtors expect that the Taj Mahal will close on or before Dec. 12," it said.
The Taj would be the fifth Atlantic City casino to close this year, as the industry finally buckled to years of losing gamblers to neighboring states. The others were the Atlantic Club in January, Showboat in August, and Revel and Trump Plaza in September.
"I am very sorry to hear that the Trump Taj Mahal has decided to close on Dec. 12," Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian said in a statement.
"I know this is a very difficult time for all the employees who will be losing their jobs," he said, adding that the city did all it could to help keep the Taj Mahal open. "However, they still must pay their fair share of taxes, just like our residents do," he said.
The Taj Mahal employed 2,739 on Nov. 4, according the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Its closing would bring total job losses this year at Atlantic City casinos to more than 9,500, about 30 percent of the total at the end of last year.
The expected Taj closing comes as government officials have shifted their attention from helping the city's casino industry - launched in the late 1970s as a "unique tool of urban redevelopment" - to reconfiguring the city's government and tax structure.
The Christie administration said this week it was considering appointing an emergency manager to deal with the city's finances, which have taken a pounding from the decline of the overall casino industry.
In another move indicating Atlantic City was starting a new chapter, the board of the Atlantic City Alliance, a marketing organization paid for by $30 million in annual casino levies, voted this week to ask the New Jersey Legislature to do away with the group, which was mandated in a 2011 law designed to boost the city's profile as a multifaceted resort.
Also this week, investor Carl Icahn, who controls the fate of Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. through $290 million in debt he owns, has been on a public campaign to pressure Unite Here Local 54 to drop its appeal of the October bankruptcy court ruling allowing Trump Entertainment to reject the labor deal.
That move was designed to trim $15 million in annual expenses by, among other things, eliminating company-sponsored health insurance and ending company contributions to a defined-benefit pension plan.
In a letter to union members posted on Icahn's website Monday and published as a two-page ad in the Press of Atlantic City on Tuesday, Trump Entertainment chief executive Robert F. Griffin warned employees the Taj would close Dec. 12 if the union did not drop its appeal.
"We are all waiting for Mr. Icahn to step up and become part of the solution and stop pointing fingers, threatening, and demanding. For once, maybe, he could do the right thing instead of trying to bully everyone," Bob McDevitt, president of Unite Here Local 54, said in a statement.
Friday's filing, which explained the terms of Trump's latest bankruptcy plan, did not include that condition, saying only that the property was expected to close Dec. 12.
Kristopher Hansen, a Trump Entertainment lawyer, told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross at a hearing in Wilmington on Friday the company was still negotiating with affiliates of Icahn and with the union, Bloomberg News reported.
But a union spokesman said there had been no talks in four weeks.