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(Reuters) - Officials in Atlantic City, New Jersey, are auctioning the chance to push the detonation button when the building once known as the Trump Plaza casino is demolished next year, with the proceeds going to a children's charity.
U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican who was a real estate developer before moving to the White House, opened the hotel and casino in 1984 on the Atlantic City boardwalk but lost control of the property in a 2009 bankruptcy.
His name remained on the casino as part of a license agreement until 2014, when the casino closed as Atlantic City struggled as a gambling resort with growing competition in other states.
The demolishing of the increasingly decrepit structure has been repeatedly delayed over funding issues.
Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr., a Democrat who took office last year, said at a news conference on Thursday that the building will come down in February in coordination with the billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who owns the property.
The honor of doing the countdown and hitting the detonation button is being sold https://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/188301_implode-trump-plaza-for-charity through a local auction house, with the proceeds due to go to the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City.
Small said that Trump "took advantage of the bankruptcy laws, took advantage of a lot of people, made a lot of money in Atlantic City, and then got out."
"I think it's extremely important that we do something worthwhile," he said. He hoped to raise at least $1 million in the auction.
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Angus MacSwan)