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Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey Rescinds Layoff Notices
Sent to More Than 1,400 Employees

Notices were a legal formality in advance of the pending $20 million sale to California based Meruelo Group

By Donald Wittkowski, The Press of Atlantic City, Pleasantville, N.J.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

March 16, 2013--Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino has withdrawn layoff notices just days after warnings went out that more than 1,400 employees could lose their jobs in the property's transition to new ownership, a state agency said.

Officials said earlier this week that the notices were a legal formality in advance of Trump Plaza's pending $20 million sale to the California-based Meruelo Group.

However, Trump Plaza later made the request to have the layoff warnings removed from the New Jersey Department of Labor's website, agency spokeswoman Kerri Gatling said.

"This happens occasionally. Any one of a number of factors could be the reason, i.e., a premature WARN date, the number of employees impacted may have changed, the sale may happen later than originally expected, etc.," Gatling said.

Layoff notices affecting 1,434 Trump Plaza workers were filed March 8 to comply with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN Act. Under WARN, employers must provide 60 days' advance notice of plant closings and mass layoffs. Trump Plaza's notices said the workers may lose their jobs effective May 10.

Trump attorney John Donnelly did not immediately respond to messages Friday seeking comment about why the notices were withdrawn. On Tuesday, he told The Press of Atlantic City that Trump did not issue the notices, but declined to say who did.

Xavier Gutierrez, president and chief investment officer of the Meruelo Group, said his company was not responsible for the layoff warnings. He indicated that only Trump, as the casino's current owner, was allowed by law to file the notices.

The Meruelo Group is expected to complete Trump Plaza's purchase in May. Gutierrez said a "substantial number" of the casino's existing employees will be retained by Meruelo.

Other casinos have filed WARN notices as a formality in advance of their sales. Atlantic Club Casino Hotel warned in January that 1,729 workers may lose their jobs as part of the casino's pending sale to the parent company of online global gambling giant PokerStars. However, Atlantic Club said no job cuts are actually planned in the change of ownership.

Contact Donald Wittkowski:



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