Home / capitalism / Down here it’s just winners and losers

Down here it’s just winners and losers


The NYT article about Trump’s use of the Profit for Me, Risks for Thee business model is the detailed explanation of the complete clusterfuck that is his presidential campaign.

His audacious personality and opulent properties brought attention — and countless players — to Atlantic City as it sought to overtake Las Vegas as the country’s gambling capital. But a close examination of regulatory reviews, court records and security filings by The New York Times leaves little doubt that Mr. Trump’s casino business was a protracted failure. Though he now says his casinos were overtaken by the same tidal wave that eventually slammed this seaside city’s gambling industry, in reality he was failing in Atlantic City long before Atlantic City itself was failing.

But even as his companies did poorly, Mr. Trump did well. He 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 fell on investors and others who had bet on his business acumen.

In three interviews with The Times since late April, Mr. Trump acknowledged in general terms that high debt and lagging revenues had plagued his casinos. He did not recall details about some issues, but did not question The Times’s findings. He repeatedly emphasized that what really mattered about his time in Atlantic City was that he had made a lot of money there.

The short explaination is he’s been consistently rewarded for blundering and blustering around, trashing shit and most importantly, being fastidious about deflecting downward any harm that might result from his incompetence. Toto, I think we’re back in Kansas!

“Early on, I took a lot of money out of the casinos with the financings and the things we do,” he said in a recent interview. “Atlantic City was a very good cash cow for me for a long time.”

Others were hurt.

“He helped expand Atlantic City, but he just did not put the equity into the projects he should have to keep them solvent,” said H. Steven Norton, a casino consultant and a former casino executive at Resorts International. “When he went bankrupt, he not only cost bondholders money, but he hurt a lot of small businesses that helped him construct the Taj Mahal.”

Beth Rosser of West Chester, Pa., is still bitter over what happened to her father, whose company Triad Building Specialties nearly collapsed when Mr. Trump took the Taj 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.

How much more of a hyper-privileged sack of rabid mongooses Republican success story can one man be? Admittedly, he didn’t create Trump! The Prison! and force the prisoners to build the casinos, but I don’t know if private prisons were in vogue back in the 80s.

The only question is how much money Trump will be able to shake out of his latest investors – the RNC. I predict the amount will be somewhere in the vicinity of yooge.

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  • jim, some guy in iowa

    weird that they could come up with someone who makes Mitt Romney look like a good guy

    • D. C. Sessions

      Not really — the natural tendency is to keep on the same arc until it fails. In this case, “fails” means something close to “demonstrates a negative marginal utility.”

      So, if Trump demonstrably produces “worse” results than Romney did, they may try to change course.

      Trouble is, “worse” means different things to the Base than it does to the Establishment. Thus, the massive shipments of Tums and tranqs to Capitol Hill and other concentrations of Republican elites.

  • N__B

    It’s funny – I knew the small-business end of these stories, but not the high-finance stuff. But reading this article has been a great reminder of how corrupt the entire banking/corporate edifice is. People (mostly white guys) make fortunes for making decisions by throwing darts at a board, and never pay consequences.

    • I bet that if, oh, say a thousand people who have heretofore paid the consequences were given one dart each and conducted in groups of a dozen or so past a gently immobilized payee of those consequences … hijinks might ensue!

      They wouldn’t even have to be lawn darts.

      • N__B

        A smile might flit across my face if they were Dodge Darts.

    • Downpuppy

      This is also the Bain model, except they’re a little better at keeping the company alive to bleed further.

      And yes, banks gleefully backing this stuff and bankruptcy judges letting it slide is systemic corruption.

  • Dilan Esper

    I’m not a Springsteen fan at all, but I love that record.

    • I didn’t like it when it first came out, because it didn’t sound like a “normal” Springsteen album.

      Since then I’ve come to really like it.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      That was during the era of “every other album.” You might like every other album. It was a downer/poppy rotation for a while there. See also, “Ghost of Tom Joad.”

      I don’t think that anywhere on Nebraska does he shout HUNH!, so it has that going for it.

  • Hells Littlest Angel

    The Times has been churning out one ugly Trump revelation after another since he “clinched” the nomination. I really wish they’d lay off for a few weeks. I get the suspicion they’re trying to help the Republican party by forcing it to longknife Little Gloves and replace him with someone less obviously depraved.

    • eh

      NYT probably had decades of backstock that has been waiting for such a resurgence.

      I don’t appreciate the “longknife” tho, can we raise the discourse a little even if the topic hasn’t earned it?

      • wjts

        How is an apposite AC[lightning bolt]DC reference not raising the discourse?

      • Hells Littlest Angel

        I don’t appreciate the “longknife” tho, can we raise the discourse a little even if the topic hasn’t earned it?


  • efc

    The article made my jaw drop. His ridiculous compensation and bonuses are gross but in the realm of regular greedy.

    What I thought was nuts was how in the 90s Trump’s father’s maxim about not being personally liable for debts leads Trump to basically get the casinos to take on debt by selling junk bonds and using the cash to pay his own personal liabilities, thus transferring the personal debt to the company he only part owns. How was he allowed to do that? There must have been some sort of collusion between the board and trump or the bankruptcy trustee and trump that let him get away with this repeatedly.

    How did he get away with just stealing from his business partners, shareholders, and creditors time and time again.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      instead of ending up with his feet jammed in washtubs filled with cement?

    • Brett

      Collusion with the board, I would guess. It even mentions that the three outsiders on the board went along with Trump’s plans.

      I’m just as baffled as you on why he kept getting bailed out by creditors, business partners, and shareholders. He must be really damn convincing in person or something, or his cult of personality was simply that huge back then.

  • eh

    As far as investors go, is it safe to say that a major political party is just about the only group with more effective forms of retribution than gambling interests?

  • Davis

    I remember when an analyst recommended “sell” on the Taj Mahal bonds, citing excessive and debt and inadequate cash flow. Trump got him fired.

    • efc

      They mention him the article

      Less than two weeks before the casino opened, Marvin B. Roffman, a casino analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott, an investment firm based in Philadelphia, told The Wall Street Journal that the Taj would need to reap $1.3 million a day just to make its interest payments, a sum no casino had ever achieved.

      “The market just isn’t there,” Mr. Roffman told The Journal.

      Mr. Trump retaliated, demanding that Janney Montgomery Scott fire Mr. Roffman. It did.

      • Davis

        Thanks. I worry about my memory when posting something like that.

  • hickes01

    I have always believed that the Drumpf casinos were simply a vehicle to launder money for the mob. Not kidding at all.

  • K

    so trump keeps ripping people off but then hilliry killed her lawyer guy that time and sold drugs at the airport. its like both parties are run by criminals.

  • Trump has already explained that his extensive experience in using legal loopholes to defraud his customers and creditors demonstrates that he is the only politician who can be trusted to close those loopholes. I don’t see this changing the minds of the Stormtrumpers.

    • creature

      I had the same thoughts, back when he was in the gambling business. A guy going broke running a casino was either really stupid and in the wrong business, really sharp and good at hiding his skimming, or running a from to launder cash- generated by someone else. I now believe the latter most scenario. His other dealings with ‘the right guys’ in his construction ventures is the ‘tell’.

  • Brett

    That’s staggering. How the hell did he convince people to keep buying the high-risk debt his public company was issuing over and over again, despite its dire financial conditions and his constant use of the borrowed money to settle personal debt?

    I will give Deadbeat Donald this. The man has a talent for financial fraud and deception – he’d be right at home with the First Gilded Age crooks running massive securities fraud schemes.

  • “When I was a tycoon losing other people’s money, I relied on political corruption, bribing legislatures and attorneys-general to get away with it. Now I am skint, all lines of credit closed, I am going into politics ONLY to shut down that corruption and ensure that no-one benefits from pay-offs in the future.”

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