By Daniel Kelley and Mark Makela
(Reuters) - Workers began removing the large letters spelling out the Trump name from the shuttered Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City on Monday after real-estate mogul Donald Trump sued to end a licensing deal that allowed the casino owners to use his name.
Trump, who has emblazoned his name across properties in various U.S. cities, sued in August to have his name taken off the Trump Plaza, which closed last month, and the nearby Trump Taj Mahal, which is on the verge of closing.
An auditor found both casinos in disrepair, and Trump argued that both had become insufficiently luxurious to bear his name in lights under the terms of a licensing agreement.
Trump's daughter Ivanka said the holding company that operates the casinos had agreed to let workers remove the large "Trump" signage from the Plaza, which closed on Sept. 16. Workers could be seen removing some of the easier-to-reach signage at the casino on Monday afternoon.
"This represents a great victory for us," said Ivanka Trump, an executive at the Trump Organization. "This has been an ongoing struggle and we've been litigating it for some months."
The Trumps have also sought to have their name removed from Trump Entertainment Resorts, the holding company that operates the casinos. The company, which declared bankruptcy last month, did not respond to requests for comment.
Trump founded the Plaza in 1984 and helped usher in a new era of entertainment in Atlantic City on New Jersey's southern shore. More recently, the casinos there have declined in the face of competition from gambling in neighboring states.
Trump's stake in Trump Entertainment Properties was wiped out when the firm filed for bankruptcy in 2009. He emerged from the reorganization with a 10 percent stake and a licensing agreement that allowed the properties to continue to use his name.
If the Taj Mahal closes in November, as looks likely, it will become the fifth Atlantic City casino to close this year. The city started the year with 12 casinos.
Donald Trump said in a statement that the casinos' operators "were unable to operate these properties to the highest standards of luxury and success as required under the license agreement and consistent with my name and reputation."
(Reporting by Mark Makela in Atlantic City, N.J., and Daniel Kelley in Philadelphia)