Caesars Entertainment’s plan to hire an old Carl Icahn ally as its new CEO sets up what could prove to be a union grudge match in Atlantic City.
America’s largest gaming company plans to name Tony Rodio as its new chief as soon as Tuesday, sources said. Rodio is known in the casino world for having overseen the shutdown of the Trump Taj Mahal in 2016, when it was owned by Icahn — resulting in the loss of nearly 3,000 jobs.
That has union leaders gearing up for another fight, especially as the planned hire comes as the casino chain prepares for contract negotiations at its three Atlantic City properties: Caesars, Harrah’s and Bally’s.
“I think by selecting Tony, the message to me is he picked someone with a long history of dealing with and fighting unions,” Unite Here Atlantic City Area President Bob McDevitt said of the pick.
Caesars has about 10,000 workers in Atlantic City, and roughly 4,000 of them are covered by Unite Here contracts that expire early next year.
As in 2016, Rodio will be working with Icahn, the billionaire investor who has built a 28 percent stake — partly via making swaps — in Caesars since February.
Icahn on Monday objected to McDevitt’s comments, saying the union head “told me we did a great job at the Tropicana and thanked us for saving it and 3,000 jobs. They also thanked me for making their medical clinic successful.”
Indeed, McDevitt said he had a better experience working with Icahn and Rodio at Tropicana Atlantic City than he did with the Taj Mahal.
“Rodio brought the Tropicana back from bankruptcy and made it successful,” McDevitt said.
In addition to helping select the new CEO, Icahn is pushing for Caesars to sell itself to a strategic buyer who can help reduce costs.
As The Post reported exclusively last week, Houston Rockets and Golden Nugget Casino owner Tilman Fertitta is in talks to buy Caesars, as is rival casino owner Eldorado Resorts.
“Caesars continues to foster positive relations with our union partners, in part by concluding a five-year contract agreement in June 2018” for its Las Vegas properties, a spokeswoman said.
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