The impossible has now happened and complete outsider Donald J Trump is now in charge of one of the most powerful countries in the world. The real estate mogul and reality TV villain overcame almost constant opposition from both the Republican Party and the general public, as well as running rival Hillary Clinton.
The New York native was born to wealthy businessman Frederick Trump and Scottish-born domestic assistant Mary Trump. His father made his wealth from developing parts of Queens into barracks and small homes for US Navy personnel. Donald spent early parts of his career in the military, before taking over the family business in 1971. His interest and success in real estate developed into a link to the gaming world and Trump opened his first casino in Atlantic City in 1984.
Despite him bragging about his multiple business successes, what really came to pass for Trump’s Casino Empire were a selection of poorly run, failed ventures that caused lots of financial problems for everyone involved, apart from Trump himself in most cases? These failed businesses ultimately damaged his already weak public image and raised a lot of questions around his ethics and actual business acumen. We’ll be looking at 4 of the most famous gaming ventures which are now infamous cases of unfortunate disasters for the newly elected president.
Trump Plaza Atlantic City
Construction funds were raised from the sale of junk bonds in the early eighties and the plaza was eventually thrown up in 1984. Trump’s first casino was a commercial failure, posting pre-tax profits of just $144,000 in the first half of 1985. Trump blamed financers Holiday Corp and Holiday Corp blamed Trump. Trump Plaza saw continual financial issues with mortgages taken out on parking garages and swapping of more junk bonds to avoid closure. The Casino finally shut down in 2014 with the loss of 1,200 jobs, years after Trump had moved on and got rid of most of his resorts and gaming brands in Atlantic City.
Trump Castle, Atlantic City
Now the Golden Nugget Casino, Trump’s second failed Atlantic City venture was brought to life after Trump purchased a semi-completed Hilton venture which had gone down the drain after prosecution against Hilton for organised crime ties. Trump’s gaudy ‘Castle’ saw some success in the late eighties before it began to lose money rapidly. Trumps’ father even had to inject several million dollars’ worth of casino chips to try and keep it afloat, before a pre-packaged bankruptcy plan emerged in 1992 which saw Trump lose half the Casino to brokers. Trump refinanced and the casino was brought back under his control, before he sold it pretty much straight away to his new publicly traded company, Trump Hotel & Casino Resorts for $130 million in stock plus $355 million in assumed debt. It was rebranded as Trump Marina before filing for bankruptcy again in the late 90’s. The casino was sold to the new owners for £38million.
The Taj Mahal, Atlantic City
The Taj Mahal may just be the pick of the bunch. Now closed, the venture initially began by Resorts International was hijacked by trump in 1987 with a $79 million controlling stake. After more financing through junk bonds with a 14 percent interest rate, the casino opened in April 1990, lasting a whole year before another pre-packaged bankruptcy emerged. This saw Trump lose another 50% in exchange for longer payback times and reduced interest rates. The casino actually did well up until 2014, when bankruptcy proceedings were filed again resulting in a labour scandal and more negative press. There were also heavy fines brought against the casino for failure to comply with currency exchange regulations. The Casino closed in 2016.
Trump World’s Fair
Trump bought this disaster of a casino in 1989 for $63 million, before ownership was transferred to the mortgage holder 3 years later. However, Trump had another crack and bought back and rebranded, before closing the casino in 1999. The resort was demolished in 2000 and the land sold on. Problems included a leaky pool and extremely dated hotel rooms.
Despite his failures President Trump still made a lot of money in the 80s and 90s through his casino deals. The restructuring of debt and constant bankruptcy filings under the banner of a company meant he lost little personal wealth, but the knock on effect to the constructors, contractors, lenders can still be seen today. The nation has voted and now it is time for him to prove his worth as a leader and president of the USA.