Lincoln * Institute

Ralph R. Reiland

Ralph R. Reiland

The B. Kenneth Simon Professor of Free Enterprise at Robert Morris University

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Reflections

Stuffed Flounder and Cheesy Minarets

by Ralph R. Reiland
 

SEA ISLE, N.J. Donald Trump, as expected, is a steady topic in the news here, but it’s also newsworthy in this locale that summer flounder at five and six pounds apiece, two feet long, like doormats, are being caught in the back bay this week, plus tons of crabs are skittering around for the grabbing, for stuffed flounder.

Kingfish are also biting in the surf, and yellowfin and bigeye tuna, mahi mahi, skate, stripers, and flounder are beginning to bite in the ocean along the beaches.

With the warmer weather, the annual fish migration from the South up the Northeast Coast is delivering especially large waves of big stripers to the waters off New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

Mike at Sea Isle Bait Tackle reports that good-sized flounder are being moved in from the ocean to the inlets and bays. “The Townsend’s Inlet Reef is the place to be,” he advises, a spot a few blocks from our house.

Less about surf fishing, kids building sandcastles, and landing a tuna with a wiggly bloodworm is the milieu of Atlantic City, 20.5 miles northeast of Sea Isle the way the gull flies, with its focus on $5,000-a-bet roulette wheels, high-stakes poker tables, 24kt gold faucets in the casino rest rooms, no-limit gaming rooms, big yachts in the marinas, oversized chandeliers atop endless rows of Joker Poker machines, plus a glut of bankruptcies, joblessness, no-limit lawsuits, and streets crammed with pawn shops and people who seem to need a little more help from their friends.

Last week, a liquidation sale for the contents of the former Trump Taj Mahal Casino was launched by the new owners of the property and will continue in daylong auction sessions until everything is gone inside the sprawling and garish resort before it’s gutted to make way for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

The Trump Taj Mahal opened in 1990 as the world’s largest casino, self-dubbed by Trump as the “eighth wonder of the world.” Others said it would be a wonder if the Taj could bring in enough revenue to pay off its bloated debts and operating expenses and avoid bankruptcy.

The Taj, after multiple bankruptcies and losing hundreds of millions of dollars and struggling with ongoing labor union disputes, officially closed its doors for good last October, 26 years after it opened.

Work began in February this year taking the word “Trump” off 17 huge signs on the exterior of the Taj Mahal Casino Resort. With one of the “Trump” signs being peddled on ebay, the listing explained that it was only the one word that was being sold, not the entire sign, and that “interior bulbs need replaced.”

The demolition of the outside of the Taj will be completed this summer, including the removal of the giant elephant statue at the entrance and the surfeit of minarets and overplayed onion domes.

For Trump, with his The Art of the Deal bestseller, it should have been apparent that those super-wealthy Russian oligarchs he knows were the perfect target to pay some hefty prices for all the cheesy ornamentation that cluttered the exterior of the Taj, a supply of more than enough gaudy minarets and multicolored onion domes to fill a Russian theme park.

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Ralph R. Reiland is Associate Professor of Economics Emeritus at Robert Morris University and the owner of Amel’s Restaurant in Pittsburgh. His email: rrreiland@aol.com