ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Somebody is trying to give away developer Donald Trump's debt-ridden Taj Mahal Casino Resort, but the gambling palace said Thursday it is all a 'senseless prank.'
At least 'several hundred' people who entered a raffle to win a 1990 Rolls-Royce automobile have received bogus letters telling them they are winners, said Karen Tuso, a spokeswoman for the Taj Mahal.
And the letters, printed on the casino's elegant red, gold and blue stationary, don't stop at handing out the Silver Cloud car. Some have said the customers won the entire resort, Tuso said.
Other versions of the letter say the prize is a weekend on the Trump Princess yacht, currently cruising Japanese ports in search of a buyer, she said.
'Those letters are unauthorized and counterfeit and are the results of a senseless prank,' she said. 'Although the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort has had nothing to do with this obvious fraud, we apologize for any inconvenience.'
One version of the letters, released by the casino, has a hint that it is something less than legitimate. At one point the letter says that at the awards ceremony, 'Donald will reveal his bold new vision for Atlantic City, in a legendary speech entitled, 'Whorehouses of Emotion.''
To enter the 'Raja's Riches' contest, a patron fills out an entry form and deposits it in one of three drums next to the three cars parked at the property, Tuso said.
Each night those drums are emptied into a larger drum where the winners are drawn from, she said. The master drum shows no signs of tampering, she added.
The contest has run through the summer, with cars given away in June and July and the third drawing for the $155,000 car scheduled for Sept. 16, she said.
'One woman (who got one of the letters) told us she knew it was a fraud because she knew it would have come in registered mail,' Tuso said.
Telephones in the casino's consumer marketing office have been busyas people call in to verify their prizes, she said.
'The consumer marketing department is being inundated with calls,' she said. 'They are apologizing and people are being very understanding. It really is a nuisance, whoever did it really pulled a prank.'
Wayne Marlin, a spokesman for the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, said officials are trying to determine 'whether there were any breakdowns in the internal control procedures. We have an audit (being conducted) and operational agents are looking at the whole raffle situation.'