Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Art of the Con. Trump Style.

Robert Reich. (photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star) 
Robert Reich. (photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star)

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Facebook Page
all it the "art of the con." Donald Trump’s business career is a long list of bankruptcies, defaults, deceptions and indifference to investors, according to regulatory, corporate and court records, as well as sworn testimony and government investigative reports. When he repeatedly got into financial trouble, either his father bailed him out or other people paid the price.

Here’s a dirty dozen of examples (details in article below):
  1. His first project was revitalizing the Swifton Village apartment complex in Cleveland, which his father had purchased for $5.7 million in 1962. After Trump finished his work, it was sold for a net loss.

  2. In 1970, he invested in a Broadway comedy called "Paris Is Out!" Once again, Trump failed; the play bombed.

  3. By the late 1970s Trump was losing big money in real estate partnerships. In 1978, his tax returns showed personal losses of $1.5 million (in current dollars); in 1979, he lost $11.2 million (again, in current dollars).

  4. His casino deals in the 1980s were even bigger disasters, financed with $675 million in junk bonds at 14 percent interest, and pushing Trump’s total debt to $1.2 billion. In 2004, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts filed for bankruptcy, and Trump was forced to relinquish his post as chief executive. The name of the company was then changed to Trump Entertainment Resorts; it filed for bankruptcy in 2009, four days after Trump resigned from the board.

  5. In 1990, Trump persuaded banks to lend him $380 million to purchase the Eastern Airlines’ New York to Washington shuttle. It never turned a profit. In 1992, Trump defaulted on his debt for the shuttle and turned it over to his creditor banks.

  6. In 2005, buyers put up millions of deposits in Trump Tower Tampa, believing the building was being constructed by him. Instead, they discovered it was all a sham. When they lost their money and sued Trump, he answered in court that he had “no liability” because it was only a name-licensing deal.

  7. In 2006, Trump hosted a glitzy event touting Trump Mortgage, which collapsed 18 months later. Trump tried again, rechristening the failed entity as Trump Financial. It also failed.

  8. Also in 2006, Trump unveiled Trump Vodka, predicting that it would become the most requested drink in America. Within a few years, the company closed because of poor sales.

  9. In 2007, Trump launched Trump Steaks. After two months of being primarily available for sale at Sharper Image, the endeavor ended; the head of Sharper Image said barely any of the steaks sold.

  10. In 2008, Trump defaulted on a $640 million construction loan for Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, and the primary lender, Deutsche Bank, sued him. (Trump countersued, howling that the bank had damaged his reputation.)

  11. Then came Trump University, where students who paid hefty fees were supposed to learn how to make fortunes by being trained by experts handpicked by Trump. Many students have since sued, saying the enterprise was a scam. Particularly damning was the testimony of former employee Ronald Schnackenberg, who recalled being chastised by Trump University officials for failing to push a near-destitute couple into paying $35,000 for classes by using their disability income and a home equity loan.

  12. In 2009, Trump unveiled plans for Trump Hollywood, a 40-story oceanfront Florida condominium. Sales were minuscule. In 2010, lenders foreclosed on the $355 million project. Meanwhile, scores of buyers who had ponied up $32 million of deposits in Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico, a proposed 525-unit luxury vacation home complex that Trump proclaimed was going to be “very, very special,” were notified their money had been spent, no bank financing could be obtained, and that Trump and his developers were walking away from the project.
Trump is a conman. And now he's trying to con America.

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