Trump's Major Failures

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Page numbers refer to 'Trump Revealed' by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher.

Grand Hyatt (Old Commodore Hotel)

  • 1975 In order to get Penn Central to sell him the old hotel, get Hyatt to help him manage it, the city to give him a tax break and banks to give him the money in the first place, Donald Trump: (pp.74-75)
    • Lies to Penn Central that he already had a deal with Hyatt management.
    • Lies in a press conference that he had a contract with Penn Central.
    • Sends a counterfeit executed sales contract to the city.
    • Uses the city’s subsequent approval to close the deal with Hyatt management.
    • Wards off other investors who were willing to pay taxes and share profits with the city because of the impression the deal was signed and sealed when it wasn’t.
  • 1978 Attempting to save money at the renovation site, has construction workers spraypaint color codes on every piece of metal, red for trash and green for keep, which slowed down construction considerable. (p.83)
  • 1987 Tells his accountants to change their reporting methods, limiting the amount the Grand Hyatt’s profit-sharing deal would deliver to the city government. (p.84)
  • 1996 Sells his half of the Hyatt to the Hyatt family, keeping $25 million and putting it into the billions in debt that his businesses owed elsewhere. (p.85)

 

 Trump Tower

  • Early 1980s The city of New York trims his building design from 63 to 58 stories, so Trump renumbers the floors so that they extend to 68 stories. (p.86)
  • 6/5/80 Orders the demolition of the pre-existing storefront of the old Bonwit Teller, which includes two fifteen-feet tall art deco bas relief sculptures valued at $200,000. (p.86)
  • 1982 Uses concrete from S&A Concrete, controlled by two New York crime families, to construct the tower, and through the same mob connections of lawyer Roy Cohn, is able to avoid multiple labor strikes. (p.90)
  • Construction of the Tower done by hundreds of undocumented Polish immigrants known as “the Polish brigade,” who worked 12-18 hour days, went unpaid or were paid in vodka, and were threatened with deportation if they complained. (p.88)
  • 1983 A judge rules against Trump and the contractor on a suit involving back payment to the construction workers. (p.88)

 

Spy Magazine

  • 1986 In the debut issue of Spy magazine, Trump is listed as a Top Ten Most Embarrassing New Yorker.
  • Over several years, named Trump a “well-fed condo hustler,” “shuttle-owning dilettante megalomaniac,” “joyless punk millionaire,” and “short-fingered vulgarian.”
  • 1987 In response to the “short-fingered” name, Trump sends the editors a copy of his newly published Art of the Deal with his hands on the cover circled in gold marker. Tucked inside the book is a note reading “If you hit me, I will hit you back 100 times harder.” (pp.113-114)
  • In a prank by Spy magazine called “America’s Cheapest Zillionaire,” editors send checks of decreasing amounts to dozens of well-known wealthy people, and in the end only two people deposit checks for $0.13: Adnan Khashoggi, a Saudi arms dealer and billionaire, and Donald Trump. An editor years later as a joke sends Trump a check for $37.82 and he deposits it. (p114)

 

4/11/88 Settles a federal antitrust lawsuit for $750,000 after selling Holiday Inn stock without providing timely notice, making $12 million in the process. (pp. 131-132)

 

1989 Trump: The Game In partnership with Milton Bradley, made a 3-4 player board game that only met 40% of its sales goal. (commercial)(Wikipedia)

 

Trump’s Football Team (USFL)

  • 1983 Trump buys a team in the new 18-team football league to compete with the NFL. (pp.173-174)
  • 1984 Holds multiple press conferences speaking for the league despite the board’s objections, stating 1) that the USFL should fold four of its teams and 2) that it will be moving from a spring season to a fall season. (p.178)
  • 1985 The miscommunications between Trump, the governing board and the press causes a violation in their contract with ABC, and neither NBC nor CBS express interest in showing USFL games (p.179-80)
  • Trump sues the NFL on grounds of having a monopoly on football, and USFL receives $3.00 in damages from the jury. Testimony at the trial reveals that Trump bought the USFL team in order to court the NFL into getting a team on that league. He loses $22 million on the football venture. (pp.186-7)

 

Trump Plaza (Atlantic City hotel and casino)

  • June 1982 In order to trick investors from Harrah’s that construction was underway on his casino, Trump hires a construction crew to stage a busy construction site, pretending to do work by pushing piles of dirt around for an entire day. (pp.127-8)
  • 1984 Opens as “Harrah’s at Trump Plaza” and earns only half the projected profits.
  • 1992 Bankruptcy: Loses his 49% stake to Citibank and five other lenders and in return got more favorable conditions on the $550 million he still owed. (NYT)

 

Trump Castle (Atlantic City hotel and casino)

  • Wins the bid for a casino with $320 million without setting foot on the property. (p.129)
  • Picks his wife Ivana Trump, who has no experience, to run the operation. (p.129)
  • Ivana insists on a $40 million addition with 97 luxury suites, putting the Castle into debt. (p.136)
  • 1991 Loses $50 million because Trump’s new Taj Mahal casino drains away customers from Trump Castle. (p.201)
  • 1991 Fined $65,000 after Trump’s father Fred loans him $3.5 million in casino chips in order to avoid creditors. (p.201)
  • 1992 Bankruptcy: Loses his ownership stake to creditors for favorable conditions, including a monthly allowance, continued branding and some management fees. (p.202)

 

Trump Taj Mahal (Atlantic City hotel and casino)

  • November 1988 Finances the purchase of the Taj Mahal through a deal with Merrill Lynch which agrees to issue and sell $675 million in junk bonds, obligating Trump to pay $95 million in interest.
  • March 1990 Analyst Marvin Roffman publishes an opinion stating that the Taj Mahal would fail within months, and Trump demands that he be fired. An arbitration results in a $750,000 settlement from Roffman’s firm and an undisclosed amount for Roffman. (pp. 145-7)
  • Although the hotel tower contains 42 floors, Trump numbers the top floor the 51st.
  • Trump, speaking of his accountants for the Taj Mahal, says: “I’ve got black accountants at Trump Castle and at Trump Plaza – black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” (Trumped!, by John R. O’Donnell, p.148)
  • 1991 Drives a family business, Cutler Industries, into bankruptcy after agreeing only to pay it, and all other subcontractors, only 1/3 of what was owed for work rendered. (p.203)
  • 1991 Bankruptcy: Unable to service its debt, files for Chapter 11. (ABCNews)(Time)

 

 Trump Airlines

  • 1988 Pays $365 million for airplanes and routes from Eastern Airlines. (p.133) Many analysts deem this too high a price. (p.191)
  • Demands that each plane have leather seats, chrome buckles, bird’s eye maple paneling, and faux marble bathroom counters with gold-plated sinks. (p.191)
  • The venture loses $34 million in the first six months. (p.192)
  • March 1992 Creditors take ownership away from Trump. (p.205)

 

Plaza Hotel (New York City)

  • 1988 Pays $407 million for the Central Park hotel, tens of millions over market value (NYT)(p.190) He borrows all of the purchase money, including $125 million backed by his personal guarantee. (p.190)
  • 1992 Loses the property in his fourth corporate bankruptcy after it accumulates over $550 million in debt. (NYT)

 

DJT (stock market)

  • 1995 Creates a publicly traded company which owns Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, and Trump’s stake rises to $290 million in investor money in a year. (p.206)
  • 1996 Trump pays himself a $2 million salary and $5 million in bonuses for the year. (NYT) By the end of the year, shareholders are saddled with $1.7 billion in debt. (p.207)
  • 1998 U.S. Treasury fines Trump $477,000 for failing to follow money laundering laws. (p.207)
  • 1995-2005 With Trump as chairman of the board, the company DJT loses $1 billion and was in the red every year. Share prices peak at $35 and dip down to 17 cents. Holders of the company’s stocks and bonds lose over $1.5 billion in this period. (pp.207-8)
  • 2004 Trump’s fifth corporate bankruptcy.
  • Trump agrees to pay stockholders $17.5 million after a shareholder lawsuit, but still makes over $44 million as chief executive. He says of the venture: “Entrepreneurially speaking, not necessarily from the standpoint of running a company but from an entrepreneur’s standpoint, [the stock offering] was one of the great deals.” (p.208)

 

Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (Atlantic City)

  • 2004 Bankruptcy: Trump loses over half of his stake in the Taj Mahal, Trump Marina and Trump Plaza casinos after they accrue $1.8 billion in debt. (AP)(MSNBC)
  • Emerges from bankruptcy as Trump Entertainment Resort Holdings. (web.archive.org)
  • In his 2007 book, Think BIG and Kick Ass in Business and Life, he writes: “I figured it was the bank's problem, not mine. What the hell did I care? I actually told one bank, 'I told you you shouldn't have loaned me that money. I told you the goddamn deal was no good.” (RollingStone)

 

Trump University

The real estate seminar program employs high-pressure predatory tactics on its customers. It is not accredited, nor does it grant degrees or grades. It folds in 2010.

  • 2005 Promises to give all profits from his new “university” to charity but never donates any of it. (p.227)
  • Charges $1,495 to a three-day workshop in order to pitch mentor courses costing between $9,995 and $34,995. Personal finance information is required of each customer in order to assess if they can afford the more expensive courses. (p.226)
  • Customers who pay for the $34,995 seminar are issued certificates and a picture with a cardboard cutout of Donald Trump. (p.226)
  • 2010 The seminar business ceases operation. (NewYorker)
  • 2014 Ordered to pay $798,000 for a single plaintiff in an onslaught of lawsuits against Trump University. (CourthouseNews)
  • 2016 Pays $25 million to settle multiple lawsuits stemming from Trump University, after publically excoriating the presiding judge earlier this year at a rally for having a Mexican-sounding name. (NYT)

 

Trump Entertainment Resorts (Atlantic City)

2009 Bankruptcy after missing a $53.1 million bond interest payment several months before. Trump’s holdings are reduced to 10% but he retains brand licensing. (ABCNews)

 

1996-2013 Miss Universe Pageant

Purchases a controlling share of the pageants, which include Miss USA and Miss Teen, with a Nielsen rating of about 12 million viewers. By 2013 when he sells his shares, the ratings are under 4 million

 

Trump Mortgage

  • 2006 Launches a residential mortgage loan company in the middle of the biggest drop in new home sales in nine years. (p.235)
  • 2007 Shutters the company after 18 months, leaving a number of bills unpaid. (source)
  • 2007 Leases his name to Meridian Mortgage, rebranded to “Trump Financial,” which quickly goes out of business (p.236)

 

2005 Trump Vodka

The manufacturer cannot not sell enough of the product, which is not adequately marketed by the teetotaler Trump. The bottle manufacturer also melts down 500,000 empty bottles because of unpaid bills. The brand is discontinued in 2011 but is still sold in Israel and Palestine for Passover. (Bloomberg)

 

2006 GoTrump.com

A luxury travel search engine powered by Travelocity, fails after one year. (Wikipedia)

2007 Trump Steaks

Meat sold at The Sharper Image mall locations and QVC, four-packs are priced from $200-$1000. Sales at The Sharper Image discontinued after two months and the trademark is cancelled in 2014. (commercial)(Wikipedia)

 

2007 Trump Magazine

Lasts a year and a half and shut down due to lack of readership, unpaid bills, bounced paychecks and cancelled employee health coverage. (Politico

 

2009 Trump Network (multilevel marketed vitamins)

  • Attaches his name to a company called Ideal Health, which specializes in using multilevel marketing (pyramid-style selling) to sell a vitamin-supplement regimen based on a purchaser’s urine test. (p.236)
  • Customers pay $139.95 for the urine analysis and $69.99 a month for vitamins, plus $99.95 for testing every six months. (p.237)
  • 2011 The Federal Trade Commission receives complaints about the multilevel marketing nature of the business, while university health experts express concern about the legitimacy of the health claims. (p.237)
  • 2011 Trump’s branding contract ends and he does not renew, but collects all branding fees. (p.237)

 

2009 Bankruptcy: Trump Entertainment Resorts

Withdraws from the board along with his daughter Ivanka four days before filing Chapter 11, leaving the entity with $1.74 billion in debt. Buys the company back a few months later for $225 million and withdraws a $100 million lawsuit against some of the owners, and reduces the underlying debt by $1 billion. (TheStreet)(Reuters)

 

As President of the United States:

  • 2/1/17 The Trump National Jupiter Golf Club is ordered by a federal judge to pay $5.7 million for changing membership rules after Trump's purchase of the club from 2012. (Golf.com)
  • 2/9/17 A federal appeals court refuses to reinstate a Muslim travel ban, rebuking Trump's assertion that the courts have no authority over his executive order. (NYT)
  • 3/24/17 In his first legislative showdown, fails to get a reformed health care bill to a vote in the House of Representatives after a three-month blitz and over a year of campaign promises that he would deliver such a bill. (NYT)
  • 6/12/17 A second court, the Ninth Circuit of Appeals, rules against his revised Muslim travel ban, affirming a federal court decision out of Hawaii in March. (NYT)
  • 6/20/17 A Senate panel declines to include in an aviation bill Trump's proposal to privatize air traffic control. (Hill)
  • 7/5/17 44 states and the District of Columbia have refused to give the Trump election integrity commission voter registration data as requested. (CNN)
  • 7/14/17 A U.S. district court in Hawaii exempts grandparents and other extended relatives from Trump's travel ban. (WaPo)
  • 7/19/17 The Supreme Court upholds the "Grandparent" exemption to Trump's travel ban, including grandparents, grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews, siblings in law, aunts and uncles as "close family." (NPR)
  • 7/28/17 Trump's hardball tactics with GOP senators to get them to vote for a last-ditch Obamacare repeal backfire and the bill dies with three GOP senators defecting at the last minute. (WaPo)
  • 8/16/17 Disbands his manufacturing council and strategy council after droves of CEOs leave in protest of his defense of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, VA. (USAToday)
  • 8/18/17 All 16 of the members of Trump's Committee on the Arts and Humanities resign in protest of Trump's defense of neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, VA. (NYT)
  • 9/15/17 A federal court blocks the Justice Department from withholding grant funds from places that do not provide immigration authorities access to local jails or give advance notice when suspected illegal immigrants are to be released. (WaPo)
  • 9/28/17 Backs candidate for Alabama's senate seat Luther Strange, and Strange loses to primary rival Roy Moore. Trump then deletes all of his tweets supporting Strange. (NPR)
  • 10/12/17 Approval ratings post-Hurricane Maria sink lower than Bush's approval ratings post-Katrina. (WaPo)
  • 11/7/17 Due to a widespread backlash of Trump-style candidates, Democrats win the governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey as well as 15 seats in the Virginia legislature, hotly contested mayoral races in Charlotte, NC and St. Petersburg, FL, and many smaller races nationwide. (CNN)(WaPo)
  • 11/10/17 Hours after announcing in Asia that the U.S. "won't be taken advantage of anymore" and plans to put "America first," eleven Pacific Rim nations announce plans to move forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade pact without the U.S. (WaPo)
  • 11/15/17 A federal judge rules that the DOJ cannot withhold money from Philadelphia over "sanctuary city" policies. (PhiladelphiaInquirer)
  • 12/5/17 Of the 10 most retweeted tweets of 2017, three of them are from former president Barack Obama and none of them are from Donald Trump. (Politico)
  • 12/11/17 A third federal court rejects Trump's transgender military ban and rules that the Pentagon must accept transgender recruits by January 1, 2018. (Reuters)
  • 12/13/17 Democrat Doug Jones wins the Alabama senate seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions, beating alleged child molester Roy Moore who Trump campaigned for. In the wake of Moore's defeat, Trump tweets: "The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!" (CNN)
  • 12/22/17 The Ninth Circuit rules against Trump's third attempt at a travel ban. (opinion via ca9.uscourts.gov)
  • 1/8/18 The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rules against Trump and the Energy Department's attempt to prop up coal and nuclear power, citing that the administration's reasoning that it would strengthen the power grid "does not demonstrate that such an outcome would be just and reasonable." (Reuters)
  • 1/9/18 A federal judge in California issues a nationwide injunction to force Trump to re-start the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). (NYT)
  • 1/16/18 Democrat candidate for Wisconsin state Senate beats the Republican candidate in a district that Trump had won by 17 points in 2016. (MilwaukeeJournalSentinel)
  • 1/22/18 The Supreme Court unanimously rules against the Trump administration's contention that Clean Water Act litigation should only be heard in federal appeals courts and not federal district courts, making it easier to challenge violations and clarify the law. (Hill)
  • 2/6/18 The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejects a challenge to the $25 million settlement Trump was ordered to pay to former students of his Trump University scam operation. (Politico)
  • 2/13/17 A second federal judge temporarily blocks the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, putting in jeopardy Trump's arbitrary March 5 deadline for Congress to renegotiate immigration. (CNN)
  • 2/24/18 Ordered to pay a $.5.45 million settlement to former members of the National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, who were not given their security deposits back after leaving the club. (Reuters)
  • 3/14/18 Democrat Conor Lamb beats Trump-backed Republican Rick Saccone in a Pennsylvania special election, giving the Democrats a House seat rooted in Trump's Rust Belt base. (NYT)
  • 3/30/18 A federal court in D.C. rules against the Trump Administration when it ruled that the government can't interfere with the ability of pregnant teens in the country illegally and being held in federal custody to obtain abortions. (Politico)
  • 4/17/18 Trump's sole Supreme Court appointee Neil Gorsuch sides with liberal judges in a ruling that reduces the number of people facing mandatory deportation for committing crimes, citing that the federal law was written too vaguely. (WSJ)
  • 4/24/18 A third federal judge rejects the Trump administration's reasoning for ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivales (DACA) program in a scathing 60-page ruling. (USAToday)
  • 4/26/18 Nominee to head the Department of Veterans Affairs Ronny Jackson, who is currently the White House physician, withdraws his nomination after over 20 whistleblowers allege that in the past he: handed out Percocets and Ambien to White House staff "like candy," crashed a government car, banged on a female employee's hotel door in the middle of the night, was too drunk to be roused during a medical emergency of a staff member, and has a reputation for psychologically and verbally abusing staff. (Hill)
  • 5/23/18 A federal judge in Manhattan rules that Trump's blocking of Twitter users from his account was a violation of the First Amendment. (NYT)
  • 5/29/18 A Harvard study estimates that the death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria is 4,500 despite the official death toll being 64. Most of the deaths came in the aftermath of the storm and were preventable but for an inadequate federal response. (BBC)
  • 6/27/18 Satellite images reveal that North Korea is making rapid infrastructure improvements at a nuclear research facility despite Trump's Singapore summit with Kim Jong Un 15 days before and his cancellation of joint military exercises with South Korea. (Time)
  • 7/16/18 At a press conference preceding Trump's private meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, after Putin flatly denies interfering in the U.S. elections, Trump says: "I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be" Russia. (CNBC)(NYT)
  • 7/17/18 Japan and the European Union sign a deal to create one of the world's largest liberalized trade zones, marking a rare moment of unity in response to Trump's tariffs levied against allies. (WSJ)
  • 8/3/18 Is reported that the U.S. trade deficit hit $291.2 billion, and is on track to be the biggest since 2008 despite President Trump’s efforts and perpetual rhetoric to slash it. (WaPo)
  • 8/4/18 A federal court orders the Trump administration to fully restore the DACA program and gives it 19 days to file an appeal. (CNBC)
  • 8/25/18 A federal judge strikes down key provisions in several of Trump's executive orders aimed at making it easier to fire federal employees. (NPR)
  • 8/29/18 The U.S. International Trade Commission unanimously overturns Trump's tariffs on Canadian newsprint. (Hill)(Trade Commission Statement)
  • 9/25/18 At the start of his second address to the United Nations General Assembly, says that his adminstration has accomplished more over two years than "almost any administration" in American history, and is met with guffaws and laughter throughout the chamber hall. Reacts by saying "Didn't expect that reaction, but that's okay." (WaPo)
  • 10/3/18 According to Forbes, Trump has lost $1.3 billion in personal wealth since taking office, dropping 138 spots to #259 on the Forbes 400. Forbes is quoted: "Much as he's trying — and he's definitely trying — Donald Trump is not getting richer off the presidency." (Forbes)
  • 12/20/18 The Trump Foundation is shuttered after overwhelming findings by federal investigators of a "shocking pattern of illegality." (NYT)
  • 3/14/19 The Republican-controlled Senate votes to overturn Trump's emergency declaration for border wall funding. (CNN)
    • 3/15/19 Issues his first veto to overturn Congress. (NYT)
  • 4/2/19 In the wake of falsely claiming that Attorney General William Barr's report accurately stated that the Mueller Report exonerated him from obstruction of justice, renews a political initiative to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Slate) Retreats within days from any and all attacks on the ACA after Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnel announces that he will not be addressing comprehensive health care. (NYT)
  • 6/7/19 Calls off plans to impose tariffs on Mexico for not stopping illegal crossings by migrants at the southern border. (NYT)
    • 6/8/19 Touts an agreement with Mexico to take on increased border action as the result of his recent threat, but is immediately reported that the agreement was made with Mexico months ago. (NYT)
  • 6/18/19 Withdraws his nomination of acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to become permanent. Shanahan had been recently exposed as having been involved in multiple domestic violence incidents between his wife and son, some resulting in serious injury. (NYT)
  • 7/15/17 The House formally condemns Trump's comments as "racist," the first House rebuke of a president in over 100 years and included four Republicans in a 240-187 vote. (NYT)
  • 9/25/19 The House of Representatives launches an impeachment inquiry in light of a CIA whistleblower complaint involving a phone call Trump made to the president-elect of Ukraine in 2017 in which Trump pressed the president-elect eight times to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son in exchange for $400 million in military aid. (WaPo)
  • 10/11/19 Five federal courts rule against Trump on three different fronts on the same day: 1) Trump's accounting firm Mazars USA is not allowed to withhold eight years of Trump's tax returns, 2) His declaration of a national emergency to fund his southern U.S. border wall is unlawful, and 3) Making it more difficult for immigrants who rely on public assistance to obtain legal status is unlawful. (CNN)
  • 10/17/19 Within one week of Trump pulling U.S. troops out of northern Syria: (NYT- The Daily
    • Turkey launches a full-scale invasion on the region, killing dozens of Kurdish civilians, killing/raping female Kurdish politicians and displacing 70,000 Kurdish children
    • Russia moves into areas held by the U.S. for seven hard-fought years, establishing its first foothold in the Middle East in 60 years
    • Kurds are forced to join Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime instead of fight them
    • Iran is bolstered by ally Assad gaining more power and territory, and by the U.S. losing its regional foothold
    • Iran receives further advantage by having a secure pathway through Syria to funnel weapons to the terrorist group Hezbollah, which threatens Israel
    • Thousands of imprisoned ISIS fighters are released from Kurdish prisons
  • 11/7/19 A New York judge rules that Trump must pay $2 million for misusing Trump Foundation funds after ruling that it used $2.82 million on campaign finance among other inappropriate ways. (NPR)