Donald Trump The Businessman
Donald J. Trump, the nation’s 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 Trump’s business record and the performance of his companies were the public’s only basis for measuring his professional performance before he became president.
We know considerably more now, although there is still much to know. Here’s what we know, and don’t know, about Trump’s business dealings, his successes and failures, and his financial health as he left the presidency.
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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Allegations Of Business Links To Organized Crime
Trump maintained a connection with organized crime members to supply the concrete for Trump Tower. According to former New York mobster Michael Franzese, “the mob controlled all the concrete business in the city of New York,” and that while Trump was not “in bed with the mob … he certainly had a deal with us. … he didn’t have a choice.”Mafia-connected union boss John Cody supplied Trump with concrete in exchange for giving his mistress a high-level apartment with a pool, which required extra structural reinforcement. Trump admitted in 2014 that he had “had no choice” but to work with “concrete guys who are mobbed up.” He further stated that “I don’t like getting close to people like that, but they respected me.”
Trump’s lawyer Roy Cohn represented several mobsters in the past such as Carmine Galante, John Gotti, Anthony Salerno, possibly also representing Paul Castellano and Vincent Gigante. Cohn allegedly used his underworld connection to help Trump build Trump Tower.
Journalists David Cay Johnston and Wayne Barrett, the latter of whom wrote an unauthorized 1992 Trump biography, have claimed that Trump and his companies did business with New York and Philadelphia families linked to the Italian-American Mafia. A reporter for The Washington Post writes, “he was never accused of illegality, and observers of the time say that working with the mob-related figures and politicos came with the territory.”
Use Of Bankruptcy Laws
Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, but hotel and casino businesses of his have been declared bankrupt four times between 1991 and 2009 to re-negotiate debt with banks and owners of stock and bonds. Because the businesses used Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they were allowed to operate while negotiations proceeded. Trump was quoted by Newsweek in 2011 saying, “I do play with the bankruptcy laws â they’re very good for me” as a tool for trimming debt. These types of bankruptcies are common in the business world for restructuring to avoid having to close a business. In the case of Trump’s bankruptcies, three were tied directly to gaming industry, which as a whole had suffered during the time the bankruptcies were declared.
According to a report by Forbes in 2011, the four bankruptcies were the result of over-leveraged hotel and casino businesses in Atlantic City: Trump’s Taj Mahal , Trump Plaza Hotel , Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts , and Trump Entertainment Resorts . Trump said “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.” He indicated that many “great entrepreneurs” do the same.
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He Ignores Warnings And Overshoots
Trump was not aware of when to stop in Atlantic City, which led him into serious trouble. He bought the Plaza and Castle, his first two casinos. As Atlantic City casinos grew, profit margins plummeted, massive, and the market became saturated.
Experts warned Trump that he was a considerable over spender when he made his purchases.$820 million of debt. In the late 1980s, the Taj Mahal was built. Trump ignored them and focused on his optimistic assumptions.
After 16 months of the grand opening, the casino was experiencing cash flow problems and declared bankruptcy in 1991. Trump might have been content with his first two casinos and not had to file for bankruptcy in his entire career.
Trumps fear-mongering, slander and other unregulated excesses as president have been his most unregulated. Trump could have used the support of the working-class voters, libertarian businesspeople and others to win by adopting pragmatic policies that make him appear like a problem-solver.
Instead, Trump has relentlessly bullied his critics and blamed immigrants and civil-rights activists for getting in his way. Trump refused to take aggressive measures to stop the coronavirus spread, despite being advised by public-health experts. Instead, he tried to convince the public that everything was fine.
Trumps coalition now seems to be shrinking rather than expanding, as his support among women, seniors, and other key voting blocs crumble.
Business Career Of Donald Trump
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Donald Trump is an American businessman and television personality. He was the 45th president of the United States. He began his real estate career at his father’s company, Elizabeth Trump and Son, which he later renamed the Trump Organization. He rose to public prominence after concluding a number of highly publicized real estate deals in Manhattan, and his company now owns and licenses his name to lodging and golf courses around the world. Trump partly or completely owned several beauty pageants between 1996 and 2015. He has marketed his name to many building projects and commercial products. Trump’s unsuccessful business ventures have included numerous casinos and hotel bankruptcies, the folding of his New Jersey Generals football team, and the now-defunct Trump University.
After being inaugurated as U.S. president in January 2017, Trump resigned all management roles within the Trump Organization, and delegated company management to his sons Donald Jr. and Eric. However, Trump retained his financial stake in the work document, leaving ongoing concerns about possible conflicts of interest.
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Despite Holding Huge Assets Trump Needs Money More Than His Presidential Predecessors Ever Did But He Faces Multiple Barriers Of His Own Making
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As Trump knows only too well, lawyers are expensive
What next for Donald Trump? World leaders dont, as a rule, go hungry upon leaving office. There are positions on corporate boards to take up, lucrative speaking engagements to be booked, handsome advances for books even if they dont sell quite as well as expected . The consulting opportunities are endless, as Tony Blair has proved. Theyre not always terribly savoury but that usually merits only passing attention.
Trump, however, is in the difficult position of needing the money more than any of his predecessors did, despite holding huge assets. He also faces barriers of his own making the insurrection he fomented the most obstructive of all to at least some of the perks former presidents typically enjoy. Many of the people who welcomed George W Bush and cut him a cheque when he wasnt painting wont want to associate with Trump.
His legal problems, meanwhile, are just beginning and legal experts consider the idea of Trump preemptively pardoning himself a non-starter. Besides, this would only cover federal, and not state, offences.
What We Don’t Know
There are some caveats to keep in mind when assessing the data in the Trump Organization’s financial disclosure forms.
First, the data is unaudited, self-reported data, meaning that readers have to take the company’s word that it’s accurate.
Second, many of the numbers listed as “income” from certain assets seem, instead, to be the revenue from those businesses. This was confirmed when data from Trump’s tax returns were released by The New York Times showing that many of the businesses have been losing money, including some of the largest revenue producers, such as Trump National Doral golf resort.
That being the case, the financial numbers don’t show the amount of money that the former president actually took home as income. For example, in Trump’s 2017 disclosure, he listed his income for the Trump National Doral golf resort as $75 million, which matches the revenue number reported to Miami-Dade County. Net operating income for the resort for that year was dramatically smaller at $4.3 million.
Getting a clear picture of the former president’s businesses is further complicated by the fact that income and asset values are listed in very wide ranges. For example, Mar-a-Lago Club is listed as having a value of “over $50,000,000.” The Trump National Golf Club in Charlotte is listed as worth between $5 million and $25 million.
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Were Watching Trumps 7th Bankruptcy Unfold
As a businessman, Donald Trump ran 6 businesses that declared bankruptcy because they couldnt pay their bills. As the president running for a second term, Trump is repeating some of the mistakes he made as a businessman and risking the downfall of yet another venture: his own political operation.
In the 1980s, Trump was a swashbuckling real-estate investor who bet big on the rise of Atlantic City after New Jersey legalized gambling there. He acquired three casinos that by 1991 couldnt pay their debts. The Taj Mahal declared bankruptcy in 1991, the Trump Plaza and the Trump Castle in 1992. Lenders restructured the debt rather than liquidate and Trump put his casino holdings into a new company that went bankrupt in 2004. The company that emerged from that restructuring declared bankruptcy in 2009. Trumps 6th bankruptcy was the Plaza Hotel, which he bought in 1988. It went bankrupt by 1992.
Trumps surprise victory in 2016 paralleled the arrival of the brash upstart in Atlantic City more than 30 years earlier. But in the fourth year of his presidency, the Trump operation is once again reeling. Voters give him poor marks for handling the coronavirus crisis, underscored by an outbreak at the White House that infected Trump himself. Democrat Joe Biden is beating Trump is most swing states and an Election Day blowout is possible. Trump has suggested he wont leave office if he loses, threatening a constitutional crisis and his own political legacy.
Personal Vs Business Bankruptcy
Theres an important distinction to be made. Trump has never actually filed for personal bankruptcy. Instead, four of his businesses have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Taj Mahal was the first in 1991 and was followed by the Trump Plaza Hotel the next year. After over 10 years of general stability, the Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts filed in 2004 and the Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2009.
Trump claims his personal finances were only involved in the Taj Mahal Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. This is the reason Trump has been able to come out on top after multiple filings. Not involving his personal finances in the corporations operations protected his own bank account from total ruin.
Trump understands the difference between business and personal bankruptcies quite well. If you run your own business, its important that you do too.
Filed by a business or an individual in the case that business-related debts cannot be paid. Corporations and partnerships, in which the entities are separate from the owners, may file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Sole proprietorships, in which the owner is legally responsible for business-related debts, may file for Chapter 7, Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Filed by an individual in the case that personal debts cannot be paid. Individuals typically file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
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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 Trump’s 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 Trump’s treatment of contractors affect whether or not you decide to vote for him?
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Though he has acknowledged mistakes in piling crippling debt on Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, Donald Trump has steadfastly maintained that his resorts were the best-run and highest-performing casinos in Atlantic City.
The casinos have done very well from a business standpoint, he told Playboy magazine in 2004. People agree that theyre well run, they look good and customers love them.
In reality, the revenue at Mr. Trumps casinos had consistently lagged behind their competitors for a decade before larger forces ravaged the industry. Beginning in 1997, his share of the Atlantic City gambling market began to slip from its peak of 30 percent.
Revenues at other Atlantic City casinos rose 18 percent from 1997 through 2002 Mr. Trumps fell by 1 percent.
Competition grew more intense in 2003, when the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa opened. The $1.1 billion, 40-story resort redefined the concept of an Atlantic City luxury casino. Revenues at Trump casinos dropped another 6 percent in a little more than a year.
Had Mr. Trumps revenues grown at the rate of other Atlantic City casinos, his company could have made its interest payments and possibly registered a profit. But with sagging revenues and high costs, his casinos had too little money for renovations and improvements, which are vital for hotels to attract guests. The public company never logged a profitable year.
I think the biggest thing is, it understates his compensation, Mr. Cox said.
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