Rebranding: Trump’s mean and egotistical actions

If you buy a hotel, you need to sweep clean any presence of the  prior owner.  The clean sweep goes beyond just the uniforms and paperwork.  Everything should have the name of the new owner.  This is re-branding.

Trump knows branding.  One of Trump’s famous maneuvers was to have his failed Taj Mahal casino  carry only “Trump bottle water” in which he had a royalty.  So, he was still making money as the casino went bankrupt.

A lot of non-partisan social programs have been eliminated because they had Obama’s name on them.  Two examples below:

First example of Trump’s meanness and partisanship (even where it doesn’t exist) was the cancellation of the Let’s move program.  It was started by Michelle Obama,  aimed at combating child obesity and it couldn’t be more spot on.   It promoted healthy diets and exercise for children.  Who could argue with that!   Obviously,  Trump did not have to maintain vegetable gardens at the White House.   But it was a terrible mean streak to end a program with such worthwhile objectives.   See the “Let’s move” website now in the government archives.

The second act of meanness and ego, was the cancellation of the Harriet Tubman $20 bill, simply because this  was proposed during the Obama years.   It was really Jack Lew, the Secretary of the Treasury who made the decision to replace  Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman,  The Treasury Department didn’t outright cancel the Tubman bill, just postponed it to after 2028,  pushing beyond Trump’s presidency.  Andrew Jackson legacy was particularly controversial, particularly on his military action against American Indians.  (see link).   Harriet Tubman was a fantastic choice,  a clear heroine in time of slavery.

Stay tuned,



Let’s Move    (Eliminated by Donald Trump,  website is no longer maintained.  This is an archive copy, for historical purposes).

Harriet Tubman     (Incredibly brave woman in a country which at that time was  govern by white wealthy men)

Andrew Jackson

Did not believe the Supreme Court to be the final arbiter of the Constitution.   I guess that is why Trump doesn’t want Jackson gone from our currency.

Trail of Tears 



I’ll see you in court – Part 2

The Taj Mahal story is not quite complete.  How Marvin Roffman got fired,  sued Donald Trump and his employer is only part of the story. The Taj Mahal turned out to be disaster, and fell into default on its bonds beginning with a missed payment in October 1990.  From MPA Magazine:

Roffman was awarded $750,000 by an NYSE arbitration panel, and settled with Trump for an undisclosed amount. But in the meantime, he couldn’t find work as an analyst. That’s when he started a new career as a financial advisor. That career took off; when he retired in 2007, Roffman’s firm managed more than $500 million.

Roffman is not bitter as he said the following in an interview:

“In a way, I owe Donald Trump a lot, because he forced me into a new career that turned out well,” Roffman told Barron’s. “…But that doesn’t excuse the hell he subjected me to in 1990, sliming my reputation so much that I got fired and couldn’t find another job as an analyst.”

The saga of the Taj Mahal is a long one, but it is clear the captain of the ship (Trump) did not go down with the ship, but found ways of making himself richer at the expense of the casino, and ultimately stiffed the contractors.  The New York Times story states:

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.

Trump agrees, as he stated in an interview:

“Early on, I took a lot of money out of the casinos with the financings and the things we do,” he said in a recent interview. “Atlantic City was a very good cash cow for me for a long time.”

Trump used every legal and illegal trick in the book to keep the ship afloat, while simultaneously enriching himself. Case in point as stated in the NYT article:

By December 1990, when Mr. Trump needed to make an $18.4 million interest payment, his father, Fred C. Trump, sent a lawyer to the Castle to buy $3.3 million in chips, to provide him with an infusion of cash. The younger Mr. Trump made the payment, but the Casino Control Commission fined the Castle $65,000 for what had amounted to an illegal loan.

What kept the Taj Mahal afloat was not Trump’s business acumen, but his showmanship skills to get others to invest millions in terms of stock and junk bonds.  The Taj Mahal was close to bankruptcy, but was save in June 1995 through a  stock offering to  raise 140 million dollars.  Junk bonds yielding 15.5% brought in 155 million dollars.  The following year, approximately 1 billion dollars was raised by selling junk bonds.  Trump used the money to pay off his personal debts.

These investors eventually got burned.  However, I feel really sorry for all the contractors that Trump failed to pay as he defaulted on payments.  Per the NYT article:

“He put a number of local contractors and suppliers out of business when he didn’t pay them,” said Steven P. Perskie, who was New Jersey’s top casino regulator in the early 1990s. “So when he left Atlantic City, it wasn’t, ‘Sorry to see you go.’ It was, ‘How fast can you get the hell out of here?’”

The casino survived under various managements until October 2016.   The history of the Taj Mahal is documented on various sites.    Wikipedia reports:

During eighteen months after its April 2, 1990 opening,[21] when the Casino was on the verge of bankruptcy, it became the “preferred gambling spot for Russian mobsters living in Brooklyn, according to federal investigators who tracked organized crime in New York City.”[29]

Further in their website post, they state:

The 1992 U.S. Senate Subcommittee 218-page report entitled “Asian Organized Crime: the New International Criminal”, linked Trump’s businesses to Asian organized crime.[50]

IRS investigation documents obtained by CNN (see link below)  showed Trump violated anti-money laundering  rules 106 times, but settled with the IRS in 1998 for $477,000.  Money laundering continued from 2010 to 2012, however Trump is in the clear on these violations.   Trump’s involvement with the Taj Mahal was in name only. He had departed Atlantic City in 2009, maintaining a small stake in the casino’s parent company.

The Taj Mahal’s new owner is Carl Icahn.   The eighth wonder of the world, with 2100 rooms,  and all the glitz and glamour, built at an expense of 1 billion dollars,   has been shuttered up since October 2016 and has yet to change hands.   Icahn has denied that Hard Rock Cafe would be a possible buyer.

This blog began with Trump launching a brutal attack on a relatively unknown stock analyst, and the threat of  “you will be hearing from my lawyers.”   Now, Trump sits atop the Department of Justice, but is powerless to direct the investigation, unless he wants to fire the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

It makes sense how Donald Trump constantly lashes out against the New York Times and the Washington Post for their in-depth reporting.   They know Trump’s history.  The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s have also done an excellent job at reporting the facts.


Trump’s casino was a money laundering concern shortly after it opened

MPA Magazine:

NY Times:

Wikipedia- Taj Mahal

I first got wind of this story by reading Alan Abelson’s column “Up and Down Wall Street” column  in Barron’s. I can’t post his column as it is copyrighted by Barron’s.

Letters sent by Roffman and Trump’s reply

Stay tuned,


I’ll see you in court – Part 1

Trump never seems satisfied with replying to critics.   He denigrates  his critics, usually in pretty vicious terms. There’s none of the civility, diplomacy or basic politeness that we became accustomed to with Obama and other presidents.    And there’s always a threat of lawsuits.  And he loses sometimes. You can’t get the courts or intimidation to silence your critics.

My lawyers will be in contact with you- means you’ve pissed off  Trump.

Case in point- in 1990, Trump was promoting his latest casino, the Taj Mahal,  which he financed by selling bonds to investors.  “It’s truly going to be an incredible place,” he [Trump] told reporters. “We’re calling it the eighth wonder of the world. ”

Marvin Roffman at the time was a casino investment analyst, with Janney, Montgomery Scott, a small investment company in Philadelphia.  Roffman knew Trump was very overextended in the financing of the Taj.  Roffman had the audacity to write  that Atlantic City was an ugly and dreary place on March 20, 1990.  He certainly did not say anything disparaging about the Taj itself, but felt Trump couldn’t finance its debt during the winter months.     Obviously, for King Trump this was blasphemy of the highest order.  Roffman wrote in his WSJ piece:

When this property opens….he [Trump] will break every record in the book in April, June and July. But once the cold winds blow from October to February, it [the Taj] won’t make it…the market just isn’t there.

Trump was infuriated and demanded that Roffman apologize for the story or the investment firm should fire him.  The firm prepared a letter trying to make peace with Trump.  The apology letter wasn’t strong enough and Trump insisted Roffman revise it.  The original apology stated that Roffman had every  hope the Taj would be very successful, and the revision demanded by Trump was  he  had every  expectation  the Taj would be very successful.  This would have been seen to a positive recommendation and  encouraged people to buy bonds in the casino, contrary to what Roffman believed.

Instead of revising the letter, Roffman sent a personal letter to Trump retracting the previous apology.  To Trump,  the retraction was a declaration of war.  Trump responded to Roffman:

Only a fool, a highly unstable one at that, would send a letter such as your second one negating your original letter. You have proved by these strange and irrational actions to be a great liability to your firm,” he wrote to Roffman. “I look forward to seeing you and your firm in court.”

On March 23, 1990, Janney Montgomery Scott fired Roffman.   Roffman has done quite well since then.  In 1991, he sued his former employer and received a $750,000 judgment.  Roffman filed a defamation suit against Trump, and the suit was settled for 2 million dollars. He is a very wealthy investment adviser, who now can say he beat Trump.

Stay tuned,



New York Times: