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:
Donald Trumps Business Failures Were Very Real
- Save Story
Save this story for later.
- Save Story
Save this story for later.
Many of Donald Trumps tweets arent worth paying attention to, but on Tuesday morning he posted a pair that demanded inspection. Like many other people, me included, the President had apparently been reading a story in the Times that punctured the mythology surrounding his business career. Based on Internal Revenue Service transcripts of Trumps tax returns from 1985 to 1994, the Timesreport said that Trumps core businesses racked up losses of more than a billion dollars in a ten-year period. During 1990 and 1991, the story said, Trumps losses were so large that they were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.
Trump could simply have ignored the report or dismissed it as old news. But, with cable-news networks featuring it prominently, and the Daily News, one of Trumps home-town papers, running the front-page headline BIGGEST LOSER, he did what he usually does and counterattacked. This is what he wrote on Twitter:
These are significant sums, certainly. But, as the Times article points out, depreciation charges arent nearly large enough to create the massive losses that Trumps businesses incurred. Some fraction of Donald Trumps losses can be attributed to depreciation, Susanne Craig, one of the authors of the Times piece, wrote in a , responding to Trump. We found most of it was just bad business.
Fast Fashion And The Competition
Forever 21 might be known for their quick-turning duplications, but they are not alone in the fast fashion world. Competitors such as H& M and Zara have vied for the same consumer base that wants trendy clothing at an affordable or low-cost price point. Popular London-based ecommerce brands like ASOS and Pretty Little Thing have also taken a swipe at profits with their lucrative celebrity collaborations.
The Instagram famous Los Angeles-based brand Fashion Nova has also given Forever 21 a run for its money with shameless knockoff business strategy that churns out replicated designs in less than 24 hours.
You May Like: How Many Times Has Donald Filed For Bankruptcy
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 didnt 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 dont like getting close to people like that, but they respected me.
Trumps 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.
Trump Shuttle Fails To Take Off
Perhaps Trumps greatest talent as a businessman is branding. He has built his personal brand as a tremendous success by publishing multiple books, including The Art of the Deal in 1987, that claim to reveal his business acumen. He has also made licensing deals using his name so that Trump appears around the world on properties he doesnt own.
However, the Trump name has hardly been a guarantee of success. Multiple products and business ventures that have had his branding have collapsed or been abandoned without him declaring bankruptcy.
One of Trumps most high-profile misfires was the Trump Shuttle airline. He paid US$365 million to buy the flailing Air-Shuttle in 1988 from the now-defunct Eastern Air Lines. Despite annual revenues of US$30-35 million a year, by 1990, the airline had over US$120 million in losses. The market for shuttle airlines in the United States was oversaturated and the company had spent too much on renovations.
In 1991, Trump was looking to unload the airline. However, a deal with Citibank and Northwest Airlines fell through when the latter pulled out. In the end, Citibank took ownership of Trump Shuttle and its debts, relieving Trump of financial responsibility.
You May Like: Can You Rent An Apartment After Filing For Bankruptcy
Read Also: Will United Airlines File Bankruptcy
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.”
Trump Entertainment Resorts 2009
His most recent bankruptcy came in 2009, after the company missed a $53.1 million bond payment. That was pretty much the end of the road for Trump in Atlantic City. While his name remained on three casinos, he resigned from the board and gave up his remaining stake in the company.
I had the good sense, and Ive gotten a lot of credit in the financial pages, seven years ago I left Atlantic City before it totally cratered, he said during the debate.
The two Atlantic City casinos that still had the Trump name filed for bankruptcy yet again in 2014. At the time Trump made sure people knew he was no longer running the company, and sued to have his name removed.
You May Like: Bankruptcy Document Preparers
China Ev Makers Xpeng Nio And Li Post Higher Deliveries For Q4 2021
“The first business bankruptcy, he had a lot of personal liabilities, guarantees on the business debt, which would have wiped him out,” Connolly said. “What he did was leverage the amount of business debt to negotiate away his personal liability. And from that, he learned not to put his personal wealth at risk anymore. And so in the next three, he didn’t have any personal guarantees.”
Through the ordeal was bruising for Trump, one person involved in the case said his brand and persona helped him to retain more equity than he might have otherwise. And in true Trump fashion, he denied being too concerned about the issue anyway.
“You’ll never see me sitting in the corner sucking my thumb,” Trump told BusinessWeek at the time. “The name Trump will be hotter than ever.”
1992, Plaza Hotel
Trump bought New York’s Plaza Hotel for $390 million in 1988, promising to turn the then 81-year-old landmark into “the most luxurious hotel in the world.” He told the New York Times that his wife, Ivana, would become president of the hotel with a salary of “$1 a year plus all the dresses she can buy.”
Four years later, Trump and Ivana had split, and the hotel had millions of dollars in debt.
Trump seems to have had an inkling from the get-go that the Plaza deal may not have been the best he ever made .
Three years later, in 1995, Trump made a deal to sell the Plaza to Singapore-based international property and hotel conglomerate CDL Hotels International and Saudi Arabian Prince Walid bin Talal.
How Long Do I Have To Wait Between Filing Bankruptcies
Bankruptcy is a legal process governed by the United States Bankruptcy Court. Bankruptcy can help consumers dig themselves out of a financial hole. Common reasons for filing bankruptcy include job loss, to halt foreclosure proceedings, large medical expenses and to stop garnishments. A 2005 study from Harvard University found that more than half of people file bankruptcy due to medical bills.
Also Check: Epiq Corporate Restructuring Llc Letter
You May Like: Who Is Epiq Corporate Restructuring Llc
Does Trump Own Any Public Companies
Investors didnt fare well when Trump ran a public company last time around. In a dozen years, Trump Entertainment Resorts accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars in losses and filed for bankruptcy on a many occasions, causing shareholder losses of staggering proportions. The outcome was better for Trump.
Being In Malls Didnt Help Forever 21
As part of Forever 21s vast expansion plan, the brand increased its presence in shopping mallseven as foot traffic dwindled,CBS News noted. It also opened many big-box format stores, averaging about 38,000 square feet, despite the high overhead costs.
Adding more locations to malls was certainly a risk and, unfortunately, one that did not pay off. I expect store closures to accelerate in 2019, hitting some 12,000 by year end, Deborah Weinswig, founder and CEO of retail research company Coresight, predicted when speaking to CNBC.
This doesnt necessarily mean that malls will disappear, though. I think this is a multiyear transition, DJ Busch, an analyst at commercial real estate services firm Green Street Advisors, told the publication. Cleanse out some of these retailers that lasted longer than they should have. Its going to be tough. Anyone who thinks otherwise is too optimistic. But it doesnt mean this is a dead business. It can continue to be a good business as underproductive go away, and the strong landlords invest. While that may be good news for malls, its certainly not for Forever 21.
Also Check: Dave Ramsey And Bankruptcy
Fourth Time’s A Charm: How Donald Trump Made Bankruptcy Work For Him
Trump Plaza, Atlantic City. Image via Flickr.
Here at FORBES, we’ve been tracking Donald Trump‘s wealth since the inaugural Forbes 400 rich list in 1982. Today, we value him at $2.7 billion, although he claims he’s worth far more. One question we’re often asked when talk turns to Trump’s fortune: how can a man who has been bankrupt so many times remain a multi-billionaire? How is he worth more now, post-bankruptcies? We spoke to bankruptcy lawyers and casino industry experts — some of whom have had firsthand involvement in Chapter 11 cases connected to Trump — in an attempt to explain how he has survived corporate bankruptcies and thrived in the aftermath.
1. It’s nothing personal…
First things first: Donald Trump has filed for corporate bankruptcy four times, in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009. All of these bankruptcies were connected to over-leveraged casino and hotel properties in Atlantic City, all of which are now operated under the banner of Trump Entertainment Resorts. He has never filed for personal bankruptcy — an important distinction when considering his ability to emerge relatively unscathed, at least financially.
“Corporations, limited partnerships, and LLCs in which he had an ownership interest or companies that had his name attached have filed for bankruptcy,” said Michael Viscount of Atlantic City law firm
In Presidential Bid)
2. …it’s just business.
3. It’s better than the alternative.
4. He’s leveraged his persona.
6. He’s not the one to blame.
Does Trump Have A House In Palos Verdes
The land on which Donald Trump built his Rancho Palos Verdes estate has been sold for $7.8 million to a consortium led by Steve Wynn. There are about 15 million people in the world. Tenacious and impressive, the Mediterranean mansion features a recreation of the restaurant and game room from Trump National Golf Course. Located within the nations richest golf course, it is 11,000 square feet.
Read Also: Filing Chapter 7 In Texas
Fact Checking: Donald Trump Has Filed Bankruptcy Six Times
The Differences Between Bankruptcies: Chapters 7, 11, and 13
Recently, I met a prospective client with over $30,000.00 in medical debt. She lives with her one minor child and her annual household income around $40,000.00. She can pay her basic bills, but the massive medical debt is a different story. The collection phone calls are picking up and her stress level is beginning to affect her health. This same woman filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief 6 years ago following a job loss, meaning that she would not be eligible for another Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing for 2 more years. She looks at me and says If our President can file bankruptcy whenever he gets into a pinch, why do I have to suffer for 2 more years? She recalled a news story saying that President Trump had filed bankruptcy at least four times prior to becoming our U.S. President.
Fact Checking: Has Donald Trump filed for bankruptcy relief 4 or 6 times?
Lets do some fact checking about how many times Donald Trump has filed for bankruptcy protection and why there is some debate over this number. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton correctly pointed out that Donald Trump had filed bankruptcy 6 times. Here is a quick breakdown of the six Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings by companies owned by Donald Trump. All six of Donald Trumps bankruptcy filings were prior to him becoming our current U.S. President.
Trump Hotels And Casino Resorts
A holding company for three casinos, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts went bankrupt in November 2004. The casino was under a $1.8 billion debt, and the association decided to sell some stake to the bondholders. However, the holding company emerged from bankruptcy within a year in 2005 with a new name- Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. However, the company was still in debt, which pushed Trump to give up his CEO title and sell most of the stocks to the bondholder.
Recommended Reading: Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Wisconsin
Keep The Donald Afloat
could have simply taken everything he had right then, but they wanted his cooperation, said Lynn LoPucki, a bankruptcy expert and professor at UCLA Law School. Theres that old saying, If you owe your banks a little, youre at their mercy. If you owe the banks a lot, the banks are at your mercy. They saw the best way for him to repay the money was to keep the Donald afloat.
The Donald struck a deal with the banks to hand over half his ownership, and half of the equity, in the casino in exchange for a lower interest rate and more time to pay off his debt. He sold off his beloved Trump Princess yacht and the Trump Shuttle airplane to make his payments, and his creditors put him on a budget, putting a cap on his personal spending.
The first one was a really big hit for him. They had him personally, and he ended up taking substantial losses in that bankruptcy. He also had the humiliation of having some bankers deciding how much money he could spend the numbers are just astonishing the amount of his monthly budget, LoPucki said.
John Pottow, a bankruptcy expert and law professor at the University of Michigan, said banks would often agree to lose millions in reorganizations like Trumps to prevent the massive losses they would incur if they foreclosed on the property.
Banks will take considerable haircuts, Pottow said. Its sort of like you have a sick patient so you cut off a couple toes to stop the gangrene. Now hes missing a few toes, but hes still alive.
Inheritance And Further Acquisitions
In 1996, Trump acquired a vacant, 70-story office building at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, renovated it, and branded it as The Trump Building. In 1998, Conseco and Trump purchased the General Motors Building for $878 million from Corporate Property Investors. The group received a $700 million loan from Lehman Brothers for the purchase and Trump reportedly only committed $15 to $20 million of his own money to the deal. Trump raised the controversial sunken plaza where few pedestrians had ventured, which had been criticized by Huxtable, and installed his name in four-foot gold letters. In 2003, Trump and partners sold the building for $1.4 billion, then the highest price paid for a North American office building, to Macklowe Organization.
After his father died in 1999, Trump and his siblings received equal portions of his father’s estate valued at $250â300 million.
In 2001, Trump completed Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential tower across from the United Nations Headquarters. Trump also began construction on Riverside South, which he dubbed Trump Place, a multi-building development along the Hudson River. He continued to own commercial space in Trump International Hotel and Tower, a 44-story mixed-use tower on Columbus Circle which he acquired in 1996, and also continued to own millions of square feet of other prime Manhattan real estate.
Read Also: Does Chapter 13 Trustee Monitor Bank Account