Donald Trump (aka “The DONALD,” aka “His Hairness,” aka “Duh Fuhrer,”) likes to brag about his business acumen and how he’s this “self-made” billionaire and a YUUGE job creator.
Back when he was running for President (or “Golfer-in-Chief,” if you prefer) he had this to say:
I’m running for office in a country that’s essentially bankrupt, and it needs a successful businessman.
- Trump Steaks
- GoTrump (online travel site)
- Trump Airlines
- Trump Vodka
- Trump Mortgage
- Trump: The Game
- Trump Magazine
- Trump University
- Trump Ice (bottled water)
- The New Jersey Generals (pro football team)
- Tour de Trump (bicycle race)
- Trump Network (nutritional supplements)
- Trumped! (syndicated radio spot)
Let’s do a little digging into the financial morass that is the Trump mmpire.
First off, His Hairness claims he’s worth $10 billion dollars. Bloomberg called BS on that claim, putting his net at $2.9 billion. Forbes puts it at $4 billion. Either estimate is a bunch of bucks. To give the DONALD a bit of benefit, I’ll go with the $4 billion figure. But then again, it’s all relative. Back in 1988, Trump claimed he was worth $1 billion. I’m not even going to challenge that. I’ll just use it as a base.
During the 27 year span between 1988 & 2015, his increase of $3 billion means that he had a gain of 300%. To put that in perspective let’s look at some other financial increases. During that same 27 years, Bill Gates went from $1.1 billion to $80 billion (7,173%); Warren Buffet went from $2.5 billion to $67.8 billion (2,612%). Even the S&P 500 went from 263 to 2084 (1,336%). So just investing in indexed funds would make you a better businessman than the DONALD.
And His Hairness didn’t start from scratch getting that first billion. He inherited somewhere between $40-200 million dollars from Daddy Fred. (Not to mention the construction company his father owned.)
Speaking of the construction company, lets take a closer look at that.
If there’s an icon of the “Trump empire,” it would probably be New York’s Trump Tower. The space it occupies was that of the Bonwit Teller building. Tearing down the Bonwit Teller building, Trump managed to avoid any labor problems despite the fact that it was a union worksite and only 15 men were union members. Among the other workers were 200 undocumented aliens including 150 Polish men. Btw, the undocumented workers worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, for $5 an hour and no overtime. (No hardhats either.) So why were there no union strikes or at least picketing? And what happened with the job safety inspections? Not wearing hardhats while demolishing a high-rise is a huge NO-NO!
Maybe the answer is in the next paragraph.
Trump Tower was built by S&A Concrete, a company owned by two “family men.” One of the owners was “Fat” Tony Salerno, the head of the Genovese family. The other principle owner was Paul “Big Paul” Castellano, head of the Gambino family. (Can you say Mafia?) Trump also used S&A for several other of his New York projects.
Remember the (former) Trump Casino in Atlantic City?
The DONALD sent his top lieutenant, Harvey Freeman, to negotiate with Nicky Scarfo‘s “investment banker” for a lot to build the casino on. Nicky Scarfo, for those of you who do not keep up with things criminal, was the mob boss for Atlantic City. Despite his claims of being a great negotiator, His Hairness paid twice what the lot was worth. The DONALD is always bragging that he gets the price, which makes me wonder what else he was buying.
New Jersey supposedly investigates the background of anyone in the casino business but Trump managed to talk them in to limiting its investigation of him. I wonder if that was because he was investigated for bribery in 1979. No charges were filed, but according to New Jersey law, you can have your license denied for not mentioning something like that.
In fact, the New Jersey mob connection was the reason given for Australia blocking Trump from opening a casion in Sydney in 1987. (Some gaming commissions actually do what they are supposed to do.)
Trump’s NJ casino brought him into contact with boxing promoter, Don King. In fact, the two became friends. King had done time for killing a man, and according to the FBI, King had mob connections from New York to Las Vegas and points in between.
As one investigator put it,
Mobsters were looking to launder illicit cash. Boxing, of all the sports, was perhaps the most accommodating laundromat, what with its international subculture of unsavory characters who play by their own rules.
Then there’s Joseph Weichselbaum, a Trump Tower resident and a helicopter consultant and pilot for the Trump Casinos and the Trump family. Mr. Weichselbaum was convicted for cocaine trafficking in 1986. His Hairness not only wrote a letter asking for a lenient sentence, he also continued to do business with him after the conviction.
And finally, there’s the Russians! (As in oligarchs and mob.)
There’s a lot we don’t know about this yet. However, by the time Mueller finishes his investigation, I’m sure we will. In the meantime, there are some things we do know.
The selling of some high end property by Trump has raised some alarm bells. As an example, some Florida property that Trump bought for $40 million, he turned around and re-sold it to a Russian oligarch for 2 1/2 times the purchase price. Way the hell above the actual value of the real estate.
Trump Towers in New York has turned out to be the base of some of the Russian mob’s operations. For instance, Russian mob boss Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, and almost 3 dozen of his associates were indicted for using a gambling ring to launder $100 million. They ran the laundry out of a couple Trump Tower condos.
Donald Sr. claims that the Russians have nothing to do with his yuge financial empire, but Donald Jr. evidently didn’t get the memo. According to him,
Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.
p.s.: If my ramblings don’t revolt you, check out my FaceBook page (“Grouchy’s Grumbles”) you might just enjoy it. Better yet, you might “like” it. I’d love it if you did. It’s free (and worth every cent) and almost completely painless (other than the usual bad jokes).
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