Bob Brady: Trump’s Bankruptcies Have Been Terrible for Philly and A.C.
This is an opinion column by U.S. Rep. Bob Brady.
Donald Trump routinely touts his casinos in Atlantic City as an example of his skill as a businessman. But Trump’s self-proclaimed huge success in Atlantic City was in reality a series of failures. Trump may have personally benefited from bankrupting his casinos and driving them into debt, but workers, small business owners and the city suffered while he got rich.
Many of us have seen firsthand Trump’s repeated business failures in Atlantic City. In the 1990s, he filed Chapter 11 three times on casinos which included The Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Castle, and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. Then in the 2000s, he filed for bankruptcy two more times in Atlantic City.
Trump’s bankruptcy left contractors with a financial burden that left many businesses unable to recover. From one casino alone, Trump owed $70 million to 253 contractors who employed thousands of men and women at the Trump Taj Mahal. When the casino went into bankruptcy a year later, many contractors received pennies on the dollar for what they were owed.
While his own companies sank further and further into debt, Trump put little of his own money into keeping them afloat, often shifting personal debt to the casinos while raking in millions for himself. When it comes to enriching himself at the expense of others, no one does it better than Trump. His entire career has centered on boosting Trump while stiffing the little guy.
Imagine him running our country’s economy like this. America leads the global economy, and our next president will play a critical role in ensuring its success. We can’t put this responsibility in the hands of someone who relies on bankruptcy and has repeatedly driven his businesses into the ground. Atlantic City is the prime example that Donald Trump is unfit and unqualified to be at the helm.
While his casinos glided on their trajectory toward failure, Trump shortchanged workers, small businesses, and contractors along the way. Not only did Trump’s business practices hurt workers near Atlantic City, it hurt us right here in Pennsylvania. He cost businesses here hundreds of thousands of dollars — in at least one case in Philadelphia — setting them on a path to bankruptcy.
Take Philadelphia cabinet-builder Edward Friel Jr. He landed a $400,000 contract to build the bases for slot machines, registration desks, bars and other cabinets at Harrah’s at Trump Plaza. In the end, Trump only paid them $83,000 — out of the $400,000 they were contractually owed. This put the Edward J. Friel Company into a death spiral that forced them to shut their doors in 1989 after more than 50 years as a family owned business.
Take Triad Building Specialties in West Chester. It took the owner three years to recover any payment, and even then, the owner only received 30 cents on the dollar.
Atlantic City encapsulates Trump as a businessman. He bullies his way through negotiations and berates businesses and workers while profiting at their expense.
His recklessness and repeated history of personal profit at the expense of hardworking Americans disqualifies him from becoming our nation’s economic leader. If he can do this to those he worked with, just imagine what he will do to the American people.