Trumps Rebound Story Meets Mounting Bankruptcies
It wont exactly be an October surprise, but it could still be a shock: a wave of business failures hitting during the campaign season.
Local business site Yelp found that 55 percent of the firms that closed during the worst of the pandemic beginning in March are now permanently shuttered. | Eric Gay/AP Photo
09/03/2020 04:30 AM EDT
While President Donald Trump prepares to promote an economic rebound, a wave of business failures is set to tell another story.
Economic-relief money drying up in August and September will mark a final blow for some firms that had managed to hang on so far with government aid which now appears unlikely to be renewed for weeks, if ever. Cold weather and flu season could end outdoor dining, halt other indoor activities and contribute to Covid-19 outbreaks at workplaces. And economists expect weak demand and tight credit especially for smaller businesses to add to the tens of thousands of firms that have already collapsed amid the Covid-19 pandemic, while restraining entrepreneurs hoping to replace them.
All of it could complicate Trumps narrative of a robust American comeback. The president has been plotting a hopeful message since the depths of the pandemic this spring, but its increasingly at odds with the mounting toll of corporate bankruptcies and deepening wounds for small businesses still bleeding from the spring shutdowns.
POLITICO Dispatch: September 3
By BEN WHITE
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The 2nd Windfall: ‘the Apprentice’
After the turn of the 21st century, Trump’s starring role in “The Apprentice” was his next big windfall, providing him with $197.3 million from 2000 to 2018, per The Times. This figure expands even further when factoring in endorsements and licensing deals that traded off his “You’re fired!” image.
Trump still filed two corporate bankruptcies during this era in 2004 and 2009 but his assets’ struggles were largely hidden behind the opaque wall of the Trump Organization as Deutsche Bank grew to become his main lender, loaning him $2 billion over the next two decades, per The Times.
Instances of deceptive accounting have arisen in lawsuit claims or in reporting similar to The Times’, such as the Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold’s Pulitzer-winning work on the Trump Foundation. Fahrenthold reported that the foundation, ostensibly a charity, ran on few of Trump’s own dollars and that Trump had used funds from it to settle legal disputes.
The Times concluded in its recent analysis that Trump had largely spent on golf courses in recent years that these assets lose millions, or tens of millions, a year and that his revenue from “The Apprentice” and licensing deals had been withering away.
Since 2000, The Times found, Trump has lost $315.6 million from his 15 golf courses in the US, Scotland, and Ireland, including $162.3 million in losses on his National Doral golf resort in Miami from 2012 to 2018 and $63.6 million on his three European golf courses.
Competing Atlantic City Casinos
Although the Trump Taj Mahal was deeply in debt and filed for bankruptcy, thus leading to Trump losing many of his assets, Atlantic City continued to boast huge revenues. By the early 2000s, revenues hit $4 billion.
Trumps reign in Atlantic City came to an end in 2004, when his consolidated company Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts filed for bankruptcy, with Trump resigning as chairman.
Many other Atlantic City casinos revenues saw constant growth throughout Trumps public battle against bankruptcy. These revenues would only see a decline following the 2008 recession.
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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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The 3rd Windfall: The Presidency
A new revenue stream became obvious in The Times’ analysis of Trump’s tax documents: presidential visitors.
Trump’s “winter White House,” the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, pocketed an extra $5 million more off new members starting in 2015, and in 2017 the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association paid at least $397,602 to Trump’s hotel in Washington, DC.
Also, despite Trump saying he wouldn’t pursue new foreign deals as president, his first two years as president saw revenue from abroad reach $73 million.
My grandmother died in 2003, the same year Trump set a record by divesting his stake in the General Motors building for $1.4 billion. Trump had bought the building back in 1998 in partnership with Conseco, a financial-services firm. By the time they sold, Conseco was in bankruptcy, having “collapsed under the weight of its debt,” The Times reported.
”It’s a great building in a great location,” Trump said at the time. ”I did a great job in order to make it a great building.”
Trump put up just $11 million himself in the initial purchase of the building, The Times reported.
As for my grandmother, she never liked Trump. I remember asking her why, and she responded, “Because he’s a Democrat.”
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Donald Trump’s Many Business Failures Explained
| Donald Trump was thundering about a minority group, linking its members to murderers and what he predicted would be an epic crime wave in America. His opponents raged in responsesome slamming him as a racistbut Trump dismissed them as blind, ignorant of the real world.
No, this is not a scene from a recent rally in which the Republican nominee for president stoked fears of violence from immigrants or Muslims. The year was 1993, and his target was Native Americans, particularly those running casinos who, Trump was telling a congressional hearing, were sucking up to criminals.
Trump, who at the time was a major casino operator, appeared before a panel on Indian gaming with a prepared statement that was level-headed and raised regulatory concerns in a mature way. But, in his opening words, Trump announced that his written speech was boring, so he went off-script, even questioning the heritage of some Native American casino operators, saying they “don’t look like Indians” and launching into a tirade about “rampant” criminal activities on reservations.
“If continues as a threat, it is my opinion that it will blow. It will blow sky high. It will be the biggest scandal ever or one of the biggest scandals since Al Capone,” Trump said. “That an Indian chief is going to tell Joey Killer to please get off his reservation is almost unbelievable to me.”
Dependent on Daddy
The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative
The now-defunct Trump Entrepreneur Initiative was once known as Trump University. The for-profit education company offered courses in real estate, asset management, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation.
The company was not an accredited school and did not offer high school or college credits.
The company was embroiled in an ongoing, high-profile scandal during Trumps presidential campaign, and it continued into his tenure as president.
The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative faced a lawsuit in 2013alleging illegal business practices. The New York state attorney general filed a $40 million civil suit that alleged the corporation made false promises to its students.
A New York judge found Trump personally responsible. In late March 2017, when Trump was serving as president, a judge approved a $25 million settlement for the defrauded students.
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Used Little Of Own Money
The New York Times, which conducted an analysis of regulatory reviews, court records, and security filings, found otherwise, however. It reported in 2016 that Trump “put up little of his own money, shifted personal debts to the casinos and collected millions of dollars in salary, bonuses, and other payments.
“The burden of his failures,” according to the newspaper, “fell on investors and others who had bet on his business acumen.”
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How Often Has Donald Trump Declared Bankruptcy
Donald Trumps business record seems riddled with unfortunate events. Despite never having filed for personal bankruptcy, reports state that he filed for business bankruptcy at least four times. But, according to Trump, businesses file for bankruptcy often, and it was a financially intelligent move. He added that hundreds of companies have done the same thing he did.
The Bankruptcy Filings Of Donald Trump
SOME THINGS YOU PROBABLY DONT KNOW ABOUT BANKRUPTCY AND DONALD TRUMP
PART ONE OF TWO PARTS
There has been much recent mention in the mainstream news and among other political opponents of Donald Trump, namely Carly Fiorina, of the numerous Bankruptcies that Donald Trump was involved. Although Donald Trump never personally filed Bankruptcy, a number of Corporations in which Donald Trump had majority control and ownership, filed Bankruptcy, specifically Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
Trump Corporations have filed Bankruptcy four times. Each Bankruptcy involved Trump Resorts, Hotels and Casinos located in the Atlantic City area, in New Jersey. Mr. Trump has, on numerous occasions, defended the Bankruptcies, stating that his Enterprises were victim to the general economic malaise that has befallen New Jersey, and Atlantic City, in particular. Trumps Corporations in Atlantic City are not the only Hotels and Casinos in Atlantic City that experienced severe financial hardship. Trump further defends his position by touting his good timing in removing himself and his business efforts away from Atlantic City, before Atlantic City descended much further into economic disaster.
In addition, Mr. Trump will often mention that although a number of his Atlantic City projects did file Bankruptcy, most have experienced successful restructuring, which is unusual for Corporations that file Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, and he has hundreds of other business ventures that have been successful.
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The Backstory On Donald Trump’s Four Bankruptcies
GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, preparing for his second debate on Wednesday, has never declared bankruptcy. His businesses have, though — four times. Find out what went wrong.
NEW YORK — Donald Trump has never declared bankruptcy, but his businesses have — four times.
The real estate mogul, television star and Republican presidential frontrunner filed for corporate bankruptcy in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009. Three of the cases were related to his casino and hotel properties in Atlantic City, N.J.
And even though more than six years have passed since Trump had his last run-in with Chapter 11, it remains a touchy subject. Trump was quick to clarify at the Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News in August that he had never filed for personal bankruptcy. Instead, he cast his moves as part of his solid business acumen.
“Out of hundreds of deals — hundreds — on four occasions, I’ve taken advantage of the laws of this country, like other people,” he said. “The difference is, when somebody else uses those laws, nobody writes about it. When I use it, it’s like, ‘Oh, Trump, Trump, Trump.’ The fact is, I built a net worth of more than $10 billion. I have a great, great company. I employ thousands of people. And I’m very proud of the job I did.”
Overall, the Donald is no stranger to business maneuvers that, depending on whom you ask, can appear either particularly savvy or ripe for criticism. His history with bankruptcy is no exception– take a look at the four cases below:
It Will Be The Best 1996
Donald Trump has said that his brushes with financial disaster in the early 1990s reminded him of a lesson his father had taught him: Do not leave yourself on the hook for loans.
My father knew, like I knew, you dont personally guarantee, Mr. Trump is quoted saying in TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald, by Timothy L. OBrien, a former reporter for The Times. Ive told people I didnt follow my own advice.
His agreements with lenders and the two casino bankruptcies in those years still left Mr. Trump personally responsible for more than $100 million in debt, and his agreements had only delayed the day of reckoning to June 30, 1995.
He dealt with that danger by first shifting much of his personal debt onto his casinos, then onto a new group: .
Step 1 came in 1993, when his company sold more junk bonds, adding another $100 million in debt to the Trump Plaza casino. More than half of the new money went to pay off Mr. Trumps unrelated personal loans.
Then, in June 1995, with the risk of being forced into bankruptcy just weeks away, Mr. Trump shifted ownership of the Plaza casino to a new, publicly traded company: Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts. In the initial public offering, 10 million shares were sold at $14. At the same time, the company also sold another $155 million in junk bonds, at a 15.5 percent interest rate.
Indeed, the company posted losses of $66 million in 1996, $42 million in 1997 and $40 million in 1998. Those losses would continue.
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