The headline on the item up for bid at Bodner’s Auctions doesn’t leave much to the imagination: “Implode Trump Plaza for Charity!” it reads, with the exclamation point probably an unnecessary piece of punctuation.
After all, it’s hard to even say “implode Trump Plaza” without one’s voice automatically rising a bit at the end, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum.
And yes, the winner of this auction will indeed get the chance to push the button — either in person, or, if necessary, virtually — to take down the Trump Plaza hotel, which is scheduled for demolition in February.
And at the time of this writing, the top bid sits at $53,500, with 27 days to go before the item will go to live auction, where it’s expected the winning bid will be well in excess of $500,000, with all proceeds going to The Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City.
Bette bidding for blow up?
Predictably, news of the coming implosion — and the chance for one lucky non-Trumper to press the button — has caught the attention of the famous and infamous alike.
For instance, Bette Midler — long a critic of the president — said her daughter’s future inheritance is in jeopardy due to Midler’s “itchy demo finger.”
Guess what? #AtlanticCity is auctioning off the chance to push the button that blows up the #TrumpPlazaHotelAndCasino. Welp, there goes my daughter's inheritance. Sorry, honey, Mommy’s got an itchy demo finger!
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) December 18, 2020
Additionally, someone by the name of Joe Bedell started a GoFundMe to give Stormy Daniels the chance to — once again, it would seem — push Trump’s buttons. On the site, Bedell says every cent the GoFundMe page raises will go toward his bidding on the auction. And, if he were to win, he would grant Ms. Daniels first shot at implosion. This may end up being a bit of a longshot, as a mere $1,735 had been raised when this article was sent to the editing desk.
Boys & Girls Club to profit
The mayor of Atlantic City, Marty Small Sr., hopes the auction will raise over a million dollars for the Boys & Girls Club, and he himself is looking forward to getting the last bit of Trump out of his city.
“Some of Atlantic City’s iconic moments happened there, but on his way out, Donald Trump openly mocked Atlantic City, saying he made a lot of money and then got out,” said Small. “I wanted to use the demolition of this place to raise money for charity.”
When asked by the Press of Atlantic City what he hoped the winning bid would be, Small went big.
“Personally, I’m a pretty ambitious guy. I want to raise at least $1 million,” Small told the paper.
The hotel was built in 1984, and closed for good in 2014. Earlier this year — after parts of the building’s facade flew off during a storm — it was officially declared a public safety hazard. Piecemeal demolition of the eyesore on the Boardwalk has been ongoing, but now, a February date with destruction awaits.
‘One of the nation’s strangest auctions’
Joe Bodnar, the owner of the auction house that bears his name, told US Bets this is one of the stranger auctions he’s ever seen, and certainly the strangest he’s taken part in — and this is coming from the same guy who auctioned off a Popemobile (for $86K) a few years back.
“It definitely ranks as one of the rarest and more unusual things I’ve auctioned off in my history,” said Bodnar, who has had his auction house for nearly 30 years. “It’s already been a lot of fun, and I’m curious to see where it’s going to go. You never know what someone is going to pay, especially for something like this that bleeds emotion to people, whether you’re for or against him.”
While scuttlebutt thus far has concentrated on Trump-bashers wanting to press the button, Bodnar points out Trump fans may want in on the action as a way to keep the Trump-bashers away. Protect the president’s honor, so to speak.
“And if the right celebrity gets involved, the sky could be the limit,” Bodnar said. “There could be a bidding war when egos get involved, and the best part is that the winner is the charity.”
Trump doesn’t own his namesake property
Trump, despite his name still being on the crumbling building, no longer owns the property. That honor goes to billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who plucked the debt and gained control of the bankrupt Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2016.
Earlier this year, the city took Icahn to court in an effort to get him to tear the building down. Icahn claimed that was the plan anyway, and the two sides quickly came to agreement on the date with implosion, which was originally scheduled for Jan. 29 — barely a week after Trump’s White House tenure ends — but has since been moved back by the demolition company.
The hotel has hosted numerous boxing championship matches in its history, and Trump used his money and clout to bring many more to the adjacent Boardwalk Hall, including the Mike Tyson-Michael Spinks bout in 1988.
The last time a hotel was imploded in Atlantic City was back in 2007, when the Sands went down.
Icahn has not indicated what he plans to do with the prime piece of real estate, which basically begins at the terminus of the Atlantic City Expressway.