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January 18, 2021

Charity auction to demolish Trump Plaza in Atlantic City called off

Ichan Enterprises, the building's property owner, declined to facilitate implosion

Auctions Casinos
Trump Plaza Auction Thom Carroll/For PhillyVoice

The owners of the former Trump Plaza refused to facilitate the winner of a charity auction that would have awarded the winner the chance to press the implosion button.

An auction to award someone the opportunity to press the implosion button on the former Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City has been canceled due to a legal dispute with the property owner.

Bodnar's Auction called off the event after receiving a cease and desist order from the attorneys of IEP AC Plaza LLC, a subsidiary owned by billionaire investor Carl Ichan. 

The auction proceeds were set to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City. Bodnar's was scheduled to complete the auction Tuesday, with the building's implosion tentatively slated for February. 

Atlantic City officials joined the Boys & Girls Club last month to announce the opportunity to detonate one of President Donald Trump's former casinos.

But shortly afterward, attorneys said the property owner did not approve and would not help facilitate the implosion due to safety concerns. Bodnar's said it exhausted "every avenue" to win over the property owners, but ultimately was told to cease and desist. 

The highest bid received for the auction was $175,000, the auction company said. Officials are asking donors to continue giving to the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City. 

"This one of a kind and once in a lifetime event was a fantastic way to come up with a solution to handle two problems that Atlantic City currently has," the auction company said. "The first, bring down the old Trump Plaza that currently stands on the boardwalk as a hazard to the public and the second, help the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City continue their mission of serving the children of Atlantic City.

"We are extremely saddened that we must now take down Tuesday’s sale."

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boys & Girls Club has provided children with hot meals and a space to complete their remote school work if they can not stay at home during the day. 

"2020 hit the Boys and Girls Club hard, as most nonprofits will agree, and they are in desperate need of donations to keep their club open," the auction company said. "We are now asking that everyone who reads this reaches into their hearts and donates to the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City. Let's help them not only reach this amount they would have made from this sale, but surpass it!"

The city had hoped to raise at least $1 million through the auction and turn the property into a family attraction along the boardwalk.

The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino operated from 1984 to 2014 along the Atlantic City Boardwalk. The building has been empty for seven years and has continued to deteriorate. 

The need for demolition was expedited last year when it was declared a public health hazard after debris flew off the building during heavy winds.

The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino was one of several casinos that Trump owned at the popular Jersey Shore destination.

The Trump Marina, which closed in 2011, has since become the Golden Nugget. The Trump Taj Mahal closed in 2016 and has reopened as the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

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