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An appeals court ruled Friday that Atlantic City's Trump Taj Mahal casino was within its rights to end health insurance and pension benefits to its workers, removing the last major obstacle to billionaire Carl Icahn taking over.
 
The court ruled in favor of the casino's parent company, Trump Entertainment Resorts, which ended benefits in October 2014 as part of its bankruptcy filing. The company said it could no longer afford the benefits and gave workers stipends to find insurance on the open market, including under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Icahn is acquiring the casino from bankruptcy court and has been keeping it afloat financially for more than a year. He had threatened to cut off funding if the court ruling went against him, which would have forced the Taj Mahal to close.

"The savings that resulted from the bankruptcy court's decision, which the Court of Appeals has now affirmed, have allowed us to keep our doors open and continue employing 2,600 employees," said David Licht, co-chairman of the board of Trump Entertainment. "This decision ensures that Trump Taj Mahal will be in business for the foreseeable future."

Local 54 of the Unite-HERE casino workers union appealed the ruling, arguing that a bankruptcy court judge did not have jurisdiction over whether the company could end worker benefits. The union maintained that right belonged to the National Labor Relations Board. But, the appeals court sided with the company.


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