The long-running dispute over casino tax appeals involving a number of Atlantic City casinos has today been settled by a special state-appointed city overseer, according to reports in the Press of Atlantic city website.
Officials have not revealed the exact amount of the settlement; however unconfirmed sources have said that an $80m bond introduced by city council officials last month will be used to fund the repayment.
Former US Sen. Jeffrey S. Chiesa, the man tasked with leading financial recovery efforts for Atlantic City said: “The city was overwhelmed by millions of dollars of crushing casino tax appeal debt that they hadn’t unravelled when we arrived last fall.
“We made it a priority from day one to reach settlement agreements with casinos that are favourable to the city. Because of our hard work, the city has now quantified its casino tax appeal debt and has a plan in place to finance this debt that responsibly fits within its budget."
The appeals cover a period from 2014 to 2017 and the casino properties named include Caesars Atlantic City, Bally’s Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort, Golden Nugget Atlantic City and three properties belonging to US billionaire Carl Icahn.
The finance mogul previously owned the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort which he sold to the Hard Rock International group at the start of 2017, after reportedly losing $300m on the property. Icahn also owns the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, as well as the Tropicana Atlantic City.
Following concerns regarding casino taxation figures over a number of Atlantic city properties, Icahn appealed tax figures generated by city legislators on two of his three casino properties, the former Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal for tax years 2014- 2017 before filing an appeal on the Tropicana earlier this year.
In April, authorities in New Jersey agreed a $72m tax settlement with the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in February after the city confirmed that it owed Borgata $165m in tax refunds. According to sources, the settlement with Borgata saved the city over $93m, so the further settlement of tax appeals will undoubtedly be of benefit to Atlantic City recovery efforts.
This latest agreement settles the tax appeals for Tropicana from 2015-2016, the Taj Mahal for 2014-2016 on the Trump Plaza from 2014-2017, along with the appeals of the other named properties above.
In a statement on the New Jersey state governor’s website, Gov Chris Christie said: “Because of the agreements announced today, casino property tax appeals no longer threaten the City’s financial future.
“City residents can breathe easier knowing the state put the city in a much better position to preserve public services as it pays down the tax refunds it owes to casinos.”
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