Fourth Time’s A Charm: How Donald Trump Made Bankruptcy Work For Him
Trump Plaza, Atlantic City. Image via Flickr.
Here at FORBES, we’ve been tracking Donald Trump‘s wealth since the inaugural Forbes 400 rich list in 1982. Today, we value him at $2.7 billion, although he claims he’s worth far more. One question we’re often asked when talk turns to Trump’s fortune: how can a man who has been bankrupt so many times remain a multi-billionaire? How is he worth more now, post-bankruptcies? We spoke to bankruptcy lawyers and casino industry experts — some of whom have had firsthand involvement in Chapter 11 cases connected to Trump — in an attempt to explain how he has survived corporate bankruptcies and thrived in the aftermath.
1. It’s nothing personal…
First things first: Donald Trump has filed for corporate bankruptcy four times, in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009. All of these bankruptcies were connected to over-leveraged casino and hotel properties in Atlantic City, all of which are now operated under the banner of Trump Entertainment Resorts. He has never filed for personal bankruptcy — an important distinction when considering his ability to emerge relatively unscathed, at least financially.
“Corporations, limited partnerships, and LLCs in which he had an ownership interest or companies that had his name attached have filed for bankruptcy,” said Michael Viscount of Atlantic City law firm
In Presidential Bid)
2. …it’s just business.
3. It’s better than the alternative.
4. He’s leveraged his persona.
6. He’s not the one to blame.
Did Donald Trump Really Go Bankrupt
With the announcement of the real estate moguls bid for the United States presidency, Donald Trumps life and finances have come under scrutiny. While there are many issues to be raised with an exceptionally rich man running for President in a country suffering from the biggest wage gap and wealth inequality in history, the issue of bankruptcy surfaces repeatedly. Critics point out that Trump declared bankruptcy four times. Trump says that he has never gone bankrupt. Wherein lies the truth?
Trump Plaza Hotel In Manhattan
At the same time that Trump was struggling financially with casinos in Atlantic City, he was also facing challenges in New York City. His Trump Plaza Hotel on Fifth Avenue was $550 million in debt and behind on its payments. The hotel filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 1992.
As part of the Chapter 11 plan, Trump lost his 49% stake in the hotel. He was still allowed to call himself CEO, but he didnât have any say in the hotelâs business operations and didnât get paid. In return, Trumpâs creditors agreed to more favorable terms for the hotelâs debts.
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Lawsuits Over Congressional Subpoenas
In March 2019, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform opened an investigation into Trumps finances, and issued a subpoena for ten years of his tax returns. Trump later sued the chairman of the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings, seeking to quash the subpoena.
In April 2019, Trump sued Deutsche Bank, bank Capital One, his accounting firm Mazars USA, and House Oversight Committee chairman Elijah Cummings, in an attempt to prevent congressional subpoenas revealing information about Trumps finances. On May 20, 2019, DC District Court judge Amit Mehta ruled that Mazars must comply with the subpoena. Trumps attorneys filed notice to appeal to the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit the next day. On May 22, 2019, judge Edgardo Ramos of the federal District Court in Manhattan rejected the Trump suits against Deutsche Bank and Capital One, ruling the banks must comply with congressional subpoenas.
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Fourth Times A Charm: How Donald Trump Made Bankruptcy Work For Him
Trump Plaza, Atlantic City. Image via Flickr.
Here at FORBES, weve been tracking Donald Trumps wealth since the inaugural Forbes 400 rich list in 1982. Today, we value him at $2.7 billion, although he claims hes worth far more. One question were often asked when talk turns to Trumps fortune: how can a man who has been bankrupt so many times remain a multi-billionaire? How is he worth more now, post-bankruptcies? We spoke to bankruptcy lawyers and casino industry experts some of whom have had firsthand involvement in Chapter 11 cases connected to Trump in an attempt to explain how he has survived corporate bankruptcies and thrived in the aftermath.
1. Its nothing personal
First things first: Donald Trump has filed for corporate bankruptcy four times, in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009. All of these bankruptcies were connected to over-leveraged casino and hotel properties in Atlantic City, all of which are now operated under the banner of Trump Entertainment Resorts. He has never filed for personal bankruptcy an important distinction when considering his ability to emerge relatively unscathed, at least financially.
Corporations, limited partnerships, and LLCs in which he had an ownership interest or companies that had his name attached have filed for bankruptcy, said Michael Viscount of Atlantic City law firm
In Presidential Bid)
2. its just business.
3. Its better than the alternative.
4. Hes leveraged his persona.
6. Hes not the one to blame.
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Judith And Nicolas Jacobson
Now divorced, the Jacobsons were a married couple who previously owned a chandelier business in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 2004, Trump ordered three fixtures worth $34,000 for his Mar-a-Lago resort from them, but then refused to pay in full, saying the Jacobsons work was shoddy, WSJ reports. They denied this claim but facing endless legal wrangling, the couple settled.
A review of Palm Beach County court records showed no other payment disputes involving Classic Chandeliers. The shop later closed. Mr. Jacobson died in 2015, notes the WSJ.
Trump defends his history of payment disputes as simply the expected cost of being a tough negotiator in a cutthroat business. The WSJ article, in particular, offers Trumps camp ample space to respond. They strongly defend the tactics as hard but fair , but the paper notes that they stood out as particularly aggressive in the industry and in the broader business world.
Will Trumps treatment of contractors affect whether or not you decide to vote for him?
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Famous People Who Filed Bankruptcy
And the list keeps growing.
They all used bankruptcy to get rid of debt,and then got on with their lives.
Each of these famous people got the full benefit of filing bankruptcywhen they needed it.
Why not you?
Bad times come to all of useven celebrities.
If someone that well off could get into financial troubleit could happen to anyone.
If it could happen to anyone,maybe you shouldnt be so hard on yourself.
These famous people were given a chanceto get rid of debtto get rid of stressto get back on trackand to start over fresh.
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Payments Related To Alleged Affairs
Adult film actress Stormy Daniels has alleged that she and Trump had an extramarital affair in 2006, months after the birth of his youngest child. Just before the 2016 presidential election Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was paid $130,000 by Trumps attorney Michael Cohen as part of a non-disclosure agreement , through an LLC set up by Cohen he says he used his own money for the payment. In February 2018, Daniels filed suit against the LLC asking to be released from the agreement so that she can tell her story. Cohen filed a private arbitration proceeding and obtained a restraining order to keep her from discussing the case. According to White House press secretarySarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump has denied the allegations.
In response, Trump said that he only knew about the payments later on Trump also said regarding the payments: They didnt come out of the campaign, they came from me.
The Wall Street Journal reported on November 9, 2018, that federal prosecutors have evidence of Trumps central role in payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal that violated campaign-finance laws.
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How Many Times Has Trump Filed Bankruptcy
11th October 2016
Filed under: News
Donald Trump running for the most coveted position in world politics its not much of a surprise that his entire business life has come to the public spot light. In digging up his past business dealings, past bankruptcies have emerged leading us to the question: how many times has Donald Trump filed bankruptcy exactly? The answer may surprise you: its zero. Trump has owed many businesses over the past few decades including a football team and an airline company. Many of Trumps BUSINESSES have filed for bankruptcy, he however, has not personally ever filed. In all Trumps companies have had to file for bankruptcy a total of 6 times, and 5 of those were related to his casinos. Does Trump have the business savvy to lead the country? While we cant answer that question, we can say without much doubt that he obviously understands bankruptcy protects laws in the country. These bankruptcy laws were created to protect the consumer and creditor alike, and while making the decision to file for bankruptcy is never an easy one, it is certainly a useful vehicle to gain a second chance at financial health.
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Fact Checking: Donald Trump Has Filed Bankruptcy Six Times
The Differences Between Bankruptcies: Chapters 7, 11, and 13
Recently, I met a prospective client with over $30,000.00 in medical debt. She lives with her one minor child and her annual household income around $40,000.00. She can pay her basic bills, but the massive medical debt is a different story. The collection phone calls are picking up and her stress level is beginning to affect her health. This same woman filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief 6 years ago following a job loss, meaning that she would not be eligible for another Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing for 2 more years. She looks at me and says If our President can file bankruptcy whenever he gets into a pinch, why do I have to suffer for 2 more years? She recalled a news story saying that President Trump had filed bankruptcy at least four times prior to becoming our U.S. President.
Fact Checking: Has Donald Trump filed for bankruptcy relief 4 or 6 times?
Lets do some fact checking about how many times Donald Trump has filed for bankruptcy protection and why there is some debate over this number. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton correctly pointed out that Donald Trump had filed bankruptcy 6 times. Here is a quick breakdown of the six Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings by companies owned by Donald Trump. All six of Donald Trumps bankruptcy filings were prior to him becoming our current U.S. President.
Construction And Property Law Matters
In 2011, Donald Trump sued Scotland, alleging that it built the Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm after assuring him it would not be built. He had recently built a golf course there and planned to build an adjacent hotel. Trump lost his suit, with the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom unanimously ruling in favor of the Scottish government in 2015.
In 2013, 87-year-old Jacqueline Goldberg unsuccessfully sued Trump on allegations that he cheated her in a condominium sale by bait-and-switch when she was purchasing properties at the Trump International Hotel and Tower.
In 2015, Trump initiated a $100 million lawsuit against Palm Beach County claiming that officials, in a deliberate and malicious act, pressured the FAA to direct air traffic to the Palm Beach International Airport over his estate, because he said the airplanes damaged the building and disrupted its ambiance. Trump had previously sued the county twice over airport noise the first lawsuit, in 1995, ended with an agreement between Trump and the county Trumps second lawsuit, in 2010, was dismissed.
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A Trump Atlantic City Timeline
May 1984: Trump Plaza opens.
A second casino, Trump Castle, opens. It was later renamed the Trump Marina.
Trump opens the Taj Mahal, a 42-story, $1 billion casino-hotel, Atlantic Citys first mega-resort.
Trump Taj Mahal files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Trump Plaza and Castle file prepackaged bankruptcy petitions to restructure their balance sheets.
Trump resigns from the board of directors of Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., which declares bankruptcy.
The casino company again files for bankruptcy protection and Trump Plaza closes. Carl Icahn, who holds much of Trump Entertainments debt, gains control of it and the Taj Mahal.
: Hundreds of curious buyers line up for a liquidation sale at the Taj Mahal.
Staff writer Christian Hetrick contributed to this article.
Donald Trump The Businessman
Donald J. Trump, the nations 45th president, is unique among U.S. presidents in his connections to the business world. Certainly, there have been presidents before him who were businessmen: both George H.W. Bush and his son, George W., were in the oil business. Herbert Hoover was in mining and Warren G. Harding was in the newspaper business.
The difference is that every president before Trump had held one or more government positions before taking the office or had served as a general in the military.
This means that Trumps business record and the performance of his companies were the publics only basis for measuring his professional performance before he became president.
We know considerably more now, although there is still much to know. Heres what we know, and dont know, about Trumps business dealings, his successes and failures, and his financial health as he left the presidency.
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Trump Never Loses Another Chance
Despite his many missteps, Trump has always rebounded and found new ways to pursue his interests. Trump shifted his business from developing projects to licensing and management deals after he had failed in the 1990s.
Trumps star rose to new heights when he was made a reality TV star as The Apprentice even though his casino business went bankrupt twice more. He capitalized on his fame to run for President in 2016, defeating two political dynasties, the Clinton and Bush families, on his way to becoming the White House.
Even if he loses in democrats2020 and experiences the same embarrassing setback as his hotel or casino failures, Trump will still be there. Trump has an extraordinary gift for selling that leads to more deals, sometimes with ex-partners who have reacted negatively to him but then warmed to him again.
Trump sued Deutsche Bank in 2008 to get some of his loan payments back. He was trying to sell condos in his Chicago tower. After two years of legal battles, the two sides settled, and Deutsche Bank began lending Trump money again in 2011. Trump likely hopes that 2020 voters will be equally forgiving.
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Trump Has Several Business Bankruptcies On His Record
Trump-controlled businesses have sought bankruptcy protection several times after those entities nearly all of them casino properties were several hundreds of millions of dollars or more in debt :
#1) Trump Taj Mahal : The Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City opened in 1990, with Trump financing the completion of its construction with $675 million in junk bonds at 14% interest. By the following year the casino itself was in debt to the tune of $3 billion, while Trump himself owed some $900 million in personal liabilities.
In order to keep the Taj Mahal afloat, Trump struck a deal with his lenders in which he gave up half his ownership share and equity in the casino, sold his Trump Shuttle airline and his Trump Princess 220-foot yacht, and agreed to a bank-set limit on his personal spending in exchange for a lower interest rate and additional time to make his loan payments.
#2 and #3) Trumps Castle and Trump Plaza Casinos : Less than a year after the Taj Mahal bankruptcy Trump filed for Chapter 11 protection again for two more Atlantic City hotel-casinos, the Trump Plaza and Trumps Castle, over their inability to make principal and interest payments on bonds. The Plaza and the Castle were competing against each other, as well as against the Taj Mahal, and Trump gave up a 50% share in exchange for more favorable terms on the debts.
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Nevada Early Voting Latino Turnout Controversy
On November 8, 2016, Trump filed a lawsuit claiming early voting polling places in Clark County, Nevada, were kept open too late. These precincts had high turnout of Latino voters. Nevada state law explicitly states that polls are to stay open to accommodate eligible voters in line at closing time. Hillary Clinton campaign advisor Neera Tanden says the Trump campaign is trying to suppress Latino voter turnout. A political analyst from Nevada, Jon Ralston tweeted that the Trump lawsuit is insane in a state that clearly allows the polls to remains open until everyone in line has voted. Former Nevada Secretary of StateRoss Miller, posted the statute that states voting must continue until those voters have voted. Miller said: If there are people in line waiting to vote at 7 pm, voting must continue until everyone votes. We still live in America, right?
Donald Trump’s Companies Filed For Bankruptcy 4 Times
Trump still touts his business sense and wealth as qualifications for president.
Trump has built an American empire from Las Vegas to New York with towering hotels and sparkling casinos. Forbes estimates he’s worth $2.7 billion. But not all of Trump’s business ventures have been constant money-makers. In 1991, 1992, 2004, and again in 2009, Trump branded companies or properties have sought Chapter 11 protection.
“I’ve used the laws of this country to pare debt. … We’ll have the company. We’ll throw it into a chapter. We’ll negotiate with the banks. We’ll make a fantastic deal. You know, it’s like on ‘The Apprentice.’ It’s not personal. It’s just business,”Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos last Thursday.
A business declaring bankruptcy is nothing new in corporate America, where bankruptcy is often sugar-coated as “restructuring debt.” But it might seem alarming to everyday Americans who can’t get a bank to restructure their home loans. If you want to get Donald Trump hot under the collar, accuse him of declaring bankruptcy.
Doug Heller, the executive director of Consumer Watchdog, said Trump is the “most egregious, almost comical example” of the disparity between what the average American faces when going through bankruptcy and the “ease with which the very rich can move in and out of bankruptcy.”
“I’m a much bigger businessman. I mean, my net worth is many, many, many times Mitt Romney’s,” Trump said.
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