Strip club lawsuit stymies Taj Mahal reopening
Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal is close to a grand reopening as Hard Rock Atlantic City. After pumping $500 million into the property, the new owners are aiming for a 2018 opening. However, a strip club lawsuit is threatening to put a damper on these plans.
The strip club in question is SCORES, which had leased space within Taj Mahal under it’s previous owner, Carl Icahn. The Taj’ new owner, Boardwalk 1000, LLC, wants to keep SCORES out of the game, saying that a gentlemens’ club doesn’t fit the new image of a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
SCORES doesn’t particularly care about the image Boardwalk 1000 wants. The strip club lawsuit is about its rights to renew its lease on the property, as far as SCORES is concerned. However, said lease expired in June of 2016. The club remained open until August, shutting its doors ten days before the Taj Mahal would for good.
A minor history lesson
The Taj Mahal was one of now-President Trump’s casinos in Atlantic City. With a price tag of one billion dollars, it was claimed to be the largest, most opulent casino in the world.
It would close 2016 after years of losing money hand-over-fist much like other Trump properties in the city. Trump himself got out of the Atlantic City in 2009, after years of costing investors bigly amounts of money. Little managed to dull the faux golden shine of the place. From multiple shooting incidents, to union disputes, Russian mobsters, and even 14k Triad associate Danny Sau Keung Leung worming his way into becoming the Taj’s VP of Foreign Marketing, the Trump Taj Mahal’s history is a colorful one.
SCORES wasn’t there from the beginning, a more recent chapter in a questionable tale. It opened in 2013, the first strip club to open inside a casino. Lasting a three short years before the ultimate closure of the Taj, SCORES had purchased it’s lease back in 2010.
The new owners of the property are claiming that SCORES’ owner failed to renegotiation a lease with Icahn Enterprises. The club disagrees, and now the strip club lawsuit is threatening to derail the Hard Rock’s grand reopening.
Is SCORES in the right, or is this strip club lawsuit little more than cheap pasties and hot air?
It’s up to the courts to decide, obviously. Strip club litigation of any kind is notoriously difficult, and casino development is notoriously expensive. While the Taj Mahal was purchased for pennies on the dollar (serious, 50 million for a place that cost a BILLION), a half billion dollars has been poured into the project.
Atlantic City is also suffering from serious financial woes, in no small part due to the struggles of its casinos among other issues. SCORES may or may not have legitimate claims, but that may not matter to the people who will decide the case.