'An Exclamation Point on His Presidency': Atlantic City Auctions the Chance to Blow Up Trump's Old Casino
Friday 18th December 2020
For the right price, you can literally blow up President Donald Trump's crumbling old casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The idea is the brainchild of Mayor Marty Small, who tells PEOPLE he turned the planned demolition of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, shuttered in 2014, into a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City that he hopes raises more than $1 million.
"We are selling the experience to push the button to implode Trump Plaza," Bodnar's Auction, hired by the city to collect bids, states on its website. "This will be done remotely and can be done anywhere in the world as well as close to the Plaza as we can safely get you there!"
The structure along the famed boardwalk is now a safety hazard, says Small, with chunks of concrete and metal falling when brisk winds sweep through.
The demolition -- originally scheduled for Jan. 29 -- has been pushed to sometime in February, the mayor says. And good riddance.
"Donald Trump openly made a mockery of Atlantic City on a national level," Small says. "He took advantage of a lot of mom and pop businesses, and he said openly on the campaign that he made a lot of money in Atlantic City and then he got out. He left a lot of people hanging."
The demolition marks Trump's final exit from Atlantic City, where he once owned three casinos before a series of infamous business problems including mounting debt and repeated bankruptcies.
"I thought the irony that this is his last piece of property that bares his name, that for so many people that he hurt, to use this opportunity as a way to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City," Small says.
The auction company is taking bids online through Jan. 19 and then live bidding begins, which will be broadcast, according to Bodner's Auction.
Smaller donations to the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City, which provides after-school and summer activities and education for children and teens, are also encouraged.
Trump Plaza opened in 1984 and operated for 30 years. It's currently owned by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who took over after the company left bankruptcy court in 2016, according to the Associated Press.
Trump's direct stake had varied over the years, as his casino business became embroiled in well-documented financial issues including a battle for ownership that ended with him agreeing in 2009 to a 10-percent share, The New York Times reported.
"I'm extremely optimistic," Small says now of topping the $1 million fundraising goal, which he sees a pay-it-forward rebuke of Trump.
"We want to reach out to our celebrity contacts, our higher political contacts to get as many people involved -- to kind of put an exclamation point on his presidency," Small says. "And to benefit the children, that is a beautiful day."