Donald Trump’s Many Bankruptcies: A Retrospective

Donald Trump’s Many Bankruptcies: A Retrospective

Judging by the poll numbers, Donald Trump has already succeeded in rendering nearly half of the American electorate morally bankrupt.

And if his message continues to resonate with disaffected Europeans who have already been whipped into a nationalist frenzy by xenophobic demagogues, he may succeed in doing the same to EU voters who are increasingly distrustful of … well, damn near everything (see Figure 7 below).


Note the title of the chart in the right pane above: “Trust in Government, Business, Media, and NGOs.” Fomenting distrust of those very same institutions is the modus operandi of the alt-right blogosphere which I condemned in these very pages earlier this week (see here and here).

Thankfully, when it comes to bankrupting things with the intention of bringing them back to life, Donald Trump has plenty of experience. Most readers are no doubt aware that the bellicose billionaire has filed Chapter 11 a number of times, but since we’re but two weeks away from inauguration day, I thought a retrospective was in order.

Via Politifact:

Bankruptcy 1: The Trump Taj Mahal, 1991

The first bankruptcy associated with Trump was perhaps the most significant in terms of his personal finances, according to news reports at the time. He funded the construction of the $1 billion Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, which opened in 1990. By 1991, the casino was nearly $3 billion in debt, while Trump had racked up nearly $900 million in personal liabilities, so the business decided to file for Chapter 11 reorganization, according to the New York Times. As a result, Trump gave up half his personal stake in the casino and sold his yacht and airline, according to the Washington Post.

Bankruptcy 2: Trump Plaza Hotel, 1992

Trump acquired the Plaza Hotel in New York for $390 million in 1988. By 1992, the hotel had accumulated $550 million in debt. As a result of the bankruptcy, in exchange for easier terms on which to pay off the debts, Trump relinquished a 49 percent stake in the Plaza to a total of six lenders, according to ABC News. Trump remained the hotel’s CEO, but it was merely a gesture — he didn’t earn a salary and had no say in the hotel’s day-to-day operations, according to the New York Times.

Bankruptcy 3: Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts, 2004

Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts filed for bankruptcy again in 2004 when his casinos — including the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Marina and Trump Plaza casinos in Atlantic City and a riverboat casino in Indiana — had accrued an estimated $1.8 billion in debt, according to the Associated Press. Trump agreed to reduce his share in the company from 47 to 27 percent in a restructuring plan, but he was still the company’s largest single shareholder and remained in charge of its operations. Trump told the Associated Press at the time that the company represented less than 1 percent of his net worth.

Bankruptcy 4: Trump Entertainment Resorts, 2009

Trump Entertainment Resorts — formerly Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts — was hit hard by the 2008 economic recession and missed a $53.1 million bond interest payment in December 2008, according to ABC News. After debating with the company’s board of directors, Trump resigned as the company’s chairman and had his corporate stake in the company reduced to 10 percent. The company continued to use Trump’s name in licensing.

8 thoughts on “Donald Trump’s Many Bankruptcies: A Retrospective

  1. Seriously I think the fog associated with your disappointment with the Trump presidency is starting to negatively affect your commentary.

    Something you should at least consider if half the electorate voted for Trump then you’ve marginalize them right off the bat with your latest writings against Trump. You’ve got to imagine there are a lot of trump supporters in the investment business. You’re likely to be doing your product a great disservice

    1. I’m not selling a “product,” and I’m not at all interested in pandering to any specific audience or feigning indifference to something I think is wrong just so I can pacify this or that crowd in order to maximize page views. I write because I like to write and what you get from me is honesty, high quality information, humor, and a dash of sarcasm. If you want to read pieces written by people whose only goal is to sell you something or get your clicks, there are plenty of people out there who will be happy to oblige.

  2. I liked Snopes count, 6, better.

    In general, I also think it’d be better to count money destroyed vs count. Not all bankruptcies (or all companies) are the same.

  3. H- Well said, keep up the work of the people out here that want a non-filtered view. Trump is who he is, like him or hate him, we will see because there will be no hiding in his new job. I want the country to work, how well is another matter as this group of CEO/Cabinet members to this point have been part of the problem for for most Americans. These people know about debt, so they got that going for them. Debt is good more is better especially if it’s not your $$$$. This would be funny if it wasn’t so fuc-ing serious because things can turn in a blink of a market or the push of a button.

  4. Could you provide the source of the poll that implied/claimed “nearly half of the American electorate morally bankrupt.”? Hopefully, these are not the same pollsters the Heisenberg Report referenced before and the day of the election.

    Condemning the ‘fomenting of distrust in government, media, business and NGOs’ seems a very righteous act but it leaves one puzzled by the following posts (some of which are yours and some are not but all from public sources):




      1. Thanks for the clarification.

        You referenced the “American electorate” which refers to all Americans entitled to vote. That number would be approximately 231.5 million. Clinton garnered roughly 65.52 million to Trumps to Trumps 62.84 million. That translates into roughly 28% of the electorate went for Clinton while 27% went for Trump. To extrapolate that 27% into “nearly half” and then to tie it to moral bankruptcy seems to be hyperbole at the very least.

        Of course, one could include those who did not vote or those that voted for other candidates in with those that voted for Trump as they clearly impacted on Clinton’s loss. However, if you do that you have to correct your statement from “nearly half” to the ‘overwhelming majority’ as that would amount to roughly 72% and should give reason to pause for serious reflection by the non-morally bankrupt side.

        Be careful, your biases may be showing.

  5. I agree with the implicit stance that Trump’s willingness to use bankruptcy so frequently might provide some sort of insight into how he might wish to govern. However, I doubt very much that our media will be able to provide us with the connections when they arise. After all, we don’t get much in the way of serious analysis of economic policy anyway. Serious change will have to come from outside our borders, IMHO.

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