Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Grifter: Fleecing the Suckers

Casinos, by their nature, are institutions dedicated to fleecing the suckers, so I suppose that there is a certain ironic justice in the fact that Trump's casinos, the source of much of his wealth, made Trump richer by fleecing the people he talked into investing in them. Russ Buettner and Charles V. Bagli, writing in today's New York Times, tell the story. An excerpt:

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.

Mr. Trump assembled his casino empire by borrowing money at such high interest rates — after telling regulators he would not — that the businesses had almost no chance to succeed.

Also from the story:

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.

OK, America, you can become the next Atlantic City! What could possibly go wrong?