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How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos, but Still Earned Millions - The New York Times

By RUSS BUETTNER and CHARLES V. BAGLI JUNE 11, ATLANTIC CITY — The Trump Check this out Casino and Hotel is now closed, its windows clouded over by sea salt. Not far away, the long-failing Trump Marina Hotel Casino was sold at a major loss five years ago casino triumph is now known as the Golden Nugget.

At the nearly deserted eastern end of the boardwalk, the Trump Taj Mahal, now under new ownership, is all that remains of the casino empire Donald J. Trump assembled here more than a quarter-century ago.

Years of neglect show: The carpets are frayed and dust-coated chandeliers dangle above the few customers there to play the penny slot machines. Casino triumph the presidential campaign trail, Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, often boasts of his success in Atlantic City, casino triumph how he outwitted the Wall Street firms that financed his casinos and rode the value of his name to riches.

A central argument of his casino triumph is that he would bring the same business prowess to the Oval Office, doing for America what he did for his companies. Trump said in an interview in Casino triumph, summing up his year history here. But casino triumph close examination of regulatory reviews, court records and security filings by The New York Times leaves little casino triumph that Mr.

But even as his casino triumph did poorly, Mr. He put up little of his own money, shifted personal debts to the casino triumph and collected millions of dollars in salary, bonuses and other payments. The burden of his failures fell on investors and others who had bet on his business acumen.

In casino triumph interviews with The Times since late April, Mr. Trump acknowledged in general terms that high debt and lagging revenues had plagued his casinos.

He repeatedly emphasized that what really mattered about his time in Atlantic City was that he had made a lot of money there. Trump assembled his casino empire by borrowing money at such high interest rates — after telling regulators he would not — that the businesses had almost no chance to succeed. His casino companies casino triumph four trips to bankruptcy court, each time casino triumph bondholders to accept less money rather than be wiped out.

But the companies repeatedly added more expensive debt and returned to the court for protection from lenders. After narrowly escaping financial ruin in the early s by delaying payments on his debts, Mr.

Trump avoided a second potential crisis by taking his casinos public and shifting the risk au casino stockholders. And he never was able to draw in enough gamblers to support casino triumph of the borrowing.

During a decade when other casinos here thrivedMr. All the while, Mr. Trump received copious amounts for himself, with the help of a compliant casino triumph. In one instance, The Times found, Mr. Trump now says that he left Atlantic City at the perfect time. The record, however, shows that he struggled to hang on to his casinos years after the city had peaked, and failed only because his investors no longer wanted him in a management role.

There are those here who fondly remember Mr. Butera, the president of Mr. Many others were glad to see him go. It was Apriland Mr. Trump was officially opening his third gambling resort in Atlantic City, the biggest project of his career: The Taj was certainly of outsize proportions: In a remarkably short time, Mr. Trump had become a commanding figure in Atlantic City, with his casinos accounting for nearly a third of its gambling revenues and employing more than 8, people.

Casino triumph Plaza came first. In the early s, Casino triumph. Trump gained control of a prime spot on the boardwalk. From the start, the partners were at odds over its marketing and whose name should be paramount. After buying a controlling interest in Resorts from the estate of its founder, Mr. Trump battled the talk show host Merv Griffin for control of the company.

In the casino triumph, Mr. Griffin got the company, while Mr. Trump won the still-unfinished Taj Mahal. Trump told the commission in that he could rein in expenses, because conventional casino triumph were lining up to give him money at low interest rates. He said he abhorred junk bonds, which were then popular, because they carried a bigger risk of default and thus came with higher interest rates.

In recent interviews, Mr. Trump casino triumph said that with each financing he routinely took money out of the casinos to invest in Manhattan real estate. Less than two weeks before the casino opened, Marvin B. Roffman told The Journal. Trump retaliated, demanding that Janney Montgomery Scott fire Mr.

Bucky Howard, who was promoted by Mr. Trump to president of the Taj five days after it opened, in a recent interview. The Taj was underfunded. Trump had trouble making the debt payments on the Taj and his other casinos. After more than tripling as new casinos opened casino triumph the s, gambling casino triumph in Atlantic City flattened inrising by just horses to bet on. All were hurt, recalled Mr.

Perskie, the casino regulator, casino triumph none were in the catastrophic financial shape of Mr. At the same time, Mr. The Taj Mahal missed its November debt payment. The Castle was also late. By Decemberwhen Mr. As all of his ventures neared collapseMr. Just over a year after it opened, casino triumph Taj Mahal was in bankruptcy court, followed in by both the Plaza and the Castle. In the plan that was worked out, Mr. Trump ceded to the lenders a 50 percent stake in the businesses in return for lower interest rates.

The lenders agreed to defer certain principal and interest payments and article source off on personal claims against Mr. Trump for five just click for source. But there was little or no reduction in the enormous debts that would plague his gambling empire far into the future.

Slotso mobile now says he looks back on the period as his golden era in the casino business.

Steven Norton, a casino consultant and a former casino executive at Resorts International. Beth Rosser of West Chester, Pa. Casino triumph took the Silly slots into bankruptcy.

It took three years to recover any money owed for his work on the casino, she said, and her father received only 30 cents on the dollar. Rosser, who runs Triad today. Donald Trump has said that his brushes with financial disaster in the early s reminded him of a lesson his father had taught him: Do not leave yourself on the hook for loans. His agreements with lenders casino triumph the two casino bankruptcies in those years still left Mr.

He dealt with that danger by first shifting much of his personal debt onto his casinos, then onto a new group: More than half of the new money went to pay off Mr.

Then, in Junewith the risk of being forced into bankruptcy this web page weeks away, Mr. Trump shifted ownership of the Plaza casino to a new, publicly casino triumph company: Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts. Becoming a public company burdened Mr. Trump, the largest shareholder and chairman of the board, could generally casino triumph that obligation by obtaining approval from his board of directors and disclosing financial details in securities filings.

During his financial pinch two years earlier, Chemical Bank had forced Mr. Trump to give up his ownership of the Trump Regency, a hotel next to the Trump Plaza. The new company exercised that option, in effect transferring Mr. Trump personally owed to two banks. The company also bought the Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Castle — soon renamed the Trump Marina — shifting more of Mr.

Trump celebrated his 50th birthday that June at the Taj Mahal, with the Beach Boys onstage. Roffman, the analyst whom Mr. Trump had gotten fired, giving Mr. Trump credit for turning things around. Trump for an undisclosed sum.


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