Ladies and gentlemen, we have a unanimous decision: The date of the Trump Plaza implosion is finally set.
After the online charity auction to blow up the crumbling building was called off at the last minute due to site owner Carl Icahn’s safety concerns, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. took to the podium Thursday morning to announce the coming destruction of the former president’s casino.
Feb. 17 at 9 a.m. will be the moment when the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino finally bites the dust.
In a press conference marred by feedback and the mayor’s words being echoed on a loop, making it nearly impossible to hear anything, the mayor also announced donations to the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and the Ocean Resort, along with One Atlantic. The club had been designated to reap the benefits of the auction before it was canceled.
About that auction …
Meanwhile, while the implosion might be done with the auction, the auction ain’t done with the implosion. In fact, a new auction is about to launch, the mayor announced, in which the public can bid on 10 pairs of seats for a “socially distanced” indoor viewing party of the hotel’s implosion.
Joe Bodnar, the owner of Bodnar’s Auctions, told Politico.com Wednesday about that new auction.
“We have another auction that looks like it’s going to take place and that should materialize later today or tomorrow, but it looks like we’re going to be selling a viewing party,” Bodnar told the website. “You get to come and be a guest of the city and watch the implosion as close as you can.”
Bodnar said the plan is to offer 10 pairs of seats with bids starting at $10, but he would expect each seat to eventually sell for between $3,000 and $5,000.
Bodnar said Icahn’s name would be nowhere near this auction, and he believes that since this is just a city event, the same legal hurdles won’t arise that caused the original auction to blow up the hotel to … well, to blow up.
A long and winding road
The Trump Plaza saga began in earnest in December when Mayor Small announced the auction to coincide with the implosion of the falling-apart Boardwalk eyesore.
And he was excited about it.
“Some of Atlantic City’s iconic moments happened there, but on his way out, Donald Trump openly mocked Atlantic City, saying he made a lot of money and then got out,” Small said at a press conference announcing the auction. “I wanted to use the demolition of this place to raise money for charity.”
Bidding started, and it was at $175,000 when lawyers for Icahn sent Bodnar a cease and desist letter, demanding he pull the auction. That occurred this past Sunday.
“At this time, we unfortunately have to announce the cancellation of this sale,” Bodnar wrote on his website. “Shortly after announcing the sale, the attorneys for IEP AC Plaza LLC, a subsidiary controlled by Icahn Enterprises, sent a letter stating that IEP AC Plaza LLC was not on board with the situation and would in no way participate or help facilitate, citing safety issues. After exhausting every avenue to bring the parties together to make this exciting event happen, we received the final decision from IEP AC Plaza LLC that we must cease and desist.”
This was a major blow to the Boys & Girls Club, clearly.
But Icahn stepped in the next day and agreed to donate the $175,000.
The auction wasn’t over. Bodnar thinks the final number would’ve been significantly higher.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, and the fact it’s already at $175,000 with two weeks left means it’s going to hit $300,000 no problem, probably $500,000, and who knows, that million might be in sight,” Bodnar told NJOG two weeks ago. “Really, the sky’s the limit.”
It’s hoped the new auction will significantly add to the amount already donated.
Trump Plaza, built in 1984, was at one time the centerpiece of former President Donald Trump’s holdings in Atlantic City, which also included the Taj Mahal (now the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino) and Trump Marina (now the Golden Nugget).