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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Trump: Bad Business

At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings reviewed by the USA TODAY NETWORK, document people who have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work. Among them: a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically, several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others.
 Trump’s companies have also been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005 for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. That includes 21 citations against the defunct Trump Plaza in Atlantic City and three against the also out-of-business Trump Mortgage LLC in New York. Both cases were resolved by the companies agreeing to pay back wages.

In addition to the lawsuits, the review found more than 200 mechanic’s liens — filed by contractors and employees against Trump, his companies or his properties claiming they were owed money for their work — since the 1980s. The liens range from a $75,000 claim by a Plainview, N.Y., air conditioning and heating company to a $1 million claim from the president of a New York City real estate banking firm. On just one project, Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, records released by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in 1990 show that at least 253 subcontractors weren’t paid in full or on time, including workers who installed walls, chandeliers and plumbing.
The New York Times describes his disastrous management of Atlantic City casinos:
“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.

Trump crawled his way to the top on the back of little guys, one of them being my father,” said Ms. Rosser, who runs Triad today. “He had no regard for thousands of men and women who worked on those projects. He says he’ll make America great again, but his past shows the complete opposite of that.”
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Though he has acknowledged mistakes in piling crippling debt on Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, has steadfastly maintained that his resorts were the best-run and highest-performing casinos in Atlantic City.
“The casinos have done very well from a business standpoint,” he told Playboy magazine in 2004. “People agree that they’re well run, they look good and customers love them.”
In reality, the revenue at Mr. Trump’s casinos had consistently lagged behind their competitors’ for a decade before larger forces ravaged the industry. Beginning in 1997, his share of the Atlantic City gambling market began to slip from its peak of 30 percent.

Revenues at other Atlantic City casinos rose 18 percent from 1997 through 2002; Mr. Trump’s fell by 1 percent.
Clinton is going after Trump University: