Billionaire casino investor Carl Icahn could potentially be owed millions of dollars in property tax refunds from Atlantic City authorities.
Mr Icahn has appealed tax figures generated by city legislators on two of his three casino properties, the former Trump Plaza and Trump Taj Mahal for tax years 2014- 2017.
He has now also queried Atlantic City’s property tax assessment on the Tropicana casino for tax years 2015 and 2016.
According to figures released by the City Clerk’s office, Icahn’s companies have paid the city more than $32.7 million in property taxes for the Tropicana ($22.4 million), Taj Mahal ($8.7 million) and Trump Plaza ($1.5 million) in the last year alone.
The amounts owed to Mr Icahn have not been confirmed, but payment of the refund could put Atlantic City even further into debt. Appeals were made after the assessment value of the three properties dropped by significant amounts during the years 2014-2017.
Jeffrey Chiesa, who is overseeing the takeover of Atlantic City’s finances by state authorities recently confirmed the appeal, saying: “We’re in discussions with Mr. Icahn and his representatives right now about trying to resolve outstanding monetary issues regarding his casinos.”
This follows the agreement of a $72m tax settlement with the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in February after the city confirmed that it owed Borgata $165m in tax refunds.
State Governor Chris Christie said he is willing to negotiate with Icahn “the same way we negotiated with the folks at Borgata.”
He then added “But what everyone needs to understand is there’s not much money left here.”
Last year a state law was enacted which allowed casinos to make fixed payments in lieu of property taxes in exchange for not appealing their assessments and in 2017 casinos will pay Atlantic City authorities $120m.
However the law exempts casinos with deed restrictions which bar gaming and this has opened the door to Icahn to appeal the city’s property tax assessments.
Further legislation closing this loophole takes effect this year, but too late to prevent the current appeals by Icahn.