In last night's debate Donald Trump tried his best to minimize the four bankruptcies by his casino empire.
Donald Trump: "Because I have used the laws of this country just like the greatest people you read about every day in business have used the laws of the country have used the Chapter laws..."
This comes from an article in the Press of Atlantic City about Trump's serial bankruptcies:
Donald Trump in Atlantic City: Jackpot or crackpot?
By REUBEN KRAMER & CHRISTIAN HETRICK
But as voters examine his Atlantic City tenure to decide whether he has the economic chops to be president, they’ll find a record marked by questionable casino management and episodic corporate bankruptcy — the legacy of a fractious know-it-all who brought publicity, tax dollars and thousands of decent jobs to South Jersey, but whose manic and myopic dealmaking ultimately yielded a moribund casino empire, mined into exhaustion and left to wither.
Trump, the man, never did go bankrupt.
But the Trump casinos did, cyclically, and with disturbing regularity. “Serial filers,” Fitch Ratings called them.
Still, last summer, about a month before Trump Plaza closed, and with its sister property, Trump Taj Mahal, teetering on the brink of closure, where it remains, Trump said he “did great with Atlantic City.”
An inveterate image-burnisher, he pitches the four bankruptcies — in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009 — as markers of commercial prowess; just a “smart!” scrappy businessman playing hardball with mercenary lenders to restructure debt on favorable terms.
“These lenders aren’t babies,” Trump said in Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate. “These are total killers. These are not the nice, sweet little people you think.”
But the bankruptcies — starting with Trump Taj Mahal, which bankrupted about a year after Trump opened it using $675 million in patently unsustainable junk bonds — were less displays of cool resourcefulness than frantic episodes of Trump scrambling to bail on bank debt and keep his perennially overleveraged casinos from going belly up.
“The project was dangerous in the beginning,” said Bryant Simon, a historian and Temple University professor who authored “Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America.”
“A lot of people got stuck holding the bag, and he didn’t. So people resented him for that and felt serious financial pain.”
And it wasn’t just faceless bankers who got burned in the bankruptcies.
In the 2009 case, unsecured creditors — low-level investors, contractors, small-time vendors — got less than a penny on the dollar for their claims against Trump Entertainment Resorts (Trump resigned as chairman four days before the bankruptcy filing).
These low level investors' were some the people Trump likes to characterize as "totlal killers". This comes from last night's debate:
Chris Wallace:"Well sir let talk about the latest example Trump Entertainment Resorts which went bankrupt in 2009. In that case alone lenders to your company lost over a billion dollars and over 1,100 people were laid off. Is that the way that you'd run this country?
Donald Trump: "Let me tell you about the lenders. First of all these lenders aren't babies. These are total killers. These are not the nice sweet little people that you think, OK? You know. You are living in a work of the make-believe Chris if you want to know the truth."
Trump concludes his debate answer with this:
Donald Trump: "...I made a lot of money in Atlantic City and I'm very proud of it I want to tell you that. Very very proud of it."
Donald Trump's casinos are left to go into bankruptcy over and over again. Thousands of people lose their jobs and investors lose billions of dollars, a city is "Left to whither" and Donald Trump is "Very very proud" of that? Does Donald brag to his one percenter buddies about how he left another mess for the peons to clean up?