Monday, November 06, 2017

Ryan Doesn't Want To Talk About How Trump Swindled Us With 6 Bankruptcies-- He Wants To Castigate Randy Bryce For The Kind Of Medical Bankruptcy His Policies Create


Trump always denies his high-profile bankruptcies, half a dozen of which were front page headlines in New York and, of course, Atlantic City, over and over again. His denials, precursors of the lies that mark every day of his illegitimate presidency, were accepted at face value by the rubes in Wyoming, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Dakota and Alabama. But his serial bankruptcies were all attempts to cheat his investors, contractors, the taxpayers, unions, the government and anyone else unfortunate enough to have been involved with him in any way. Newsweek:
Lost contracts, bankruptcies, defaults, deceptions and indifference to investors-- Trump’s business career is a long, long list of such troubles, according to regulatory, corporate and court records, as well as sworn testimony and government investigative reports. Call it the art of the bad deal, one created by the arrogance and recklessness of a businessman whose main talent is self-promotion.

He is also pretty good at self-deception, and plain old deception. Trump is willing to claim success even when it is not there, according to his own statements. “I’m just telling you, you wouldn’t say that you're failing,” he said in a 2007 deposition when asked to explain why he would give an upbeat assessment of his business even if it was in trouble. “If somebody said, ‘How you doing?’ you're going to say you're doing good.” Perhaps such dissembling is fine in polite cocktail party conversation, but in the business world it’s called lying.

...Trump boasted when he announced his candidacy last year that he had made his money “the old-fashioned way,” but he is no Bill Gates or Michael Bloomberg, self-made billionaires who were mavericks, innovators in their fields. Instead, the Republican nominee’s wealth is Daddy-made. Almost all of his best-known successes are attributable to family ties or money given to him by his father.

The son of wealthy developer Fred Trump, he went to work for his father’s real estate business immediately after graduating from Wharton and found some success by taking advantage of his father’s riches and close ties to the power brokers in the New York Democratic Party, particularly his decades-long friend Abe Beame, the former [very crooked] mayor of the city... Trump is rich because he was born rich-- and without his father repeatedly bailing him out, he would have likely filed for personal bankruptcy before he was 35.

According to court papers, Harrah’s spent $9.3 million promoting the Trump name, giving the New York developer a reputation in the casino business he’d never had before. And Harrah’s quickly learned the price—now, with Trump able to argue he knew casinos, financing opportunities that did not exist before opened up, and he was able to use Harrah’s promotion of him as a lever against the entertainment company. Soon after that first casino opened, Trump took advantage of his new credibility with financial backers interested in the gaming business to purchase the nearly completed Hilton Atlantic City Hotel for just $320 million; he renamed it Trump Castle. The business plan was ludicrous: Trump had not only doubled down his bet on Atlantic City casinos but was now operating two businesses in direct competition with each other. When Trump Castle opened in 1985, Harrah’s decided to ditch Trump and sold its interest in their joint venture to him for $220 million.

Still, he wanted more in Atlantic City-- specifically, the Taj Mahal, the largest casino complex ever, which Resorts International was building. This made the Casino Control Commission nervous because it could have meant that the financial security of Atlantic City would be riding on the back of one man. But Trump brushed those concerns aside at a February 1988 licensing hearing-- after all, his argument went, he was Donald Trump. He would contain costs, he said, because banks would be practically throwing money at him, and at prime rates. He would be on a solid financial foundation because the banks loved him so much, unlike lots of other companies and casinos that used below-investment-grade, high-interest junk bonds for their financing. “I’m talking about banking institutions, not these junk bonds, which are ridiculous,” he testified.

But Trump’s braggadocio proved empty. No financial institution gave him anything. Instead, he financed the deal with $675 million in junk bonds, agreeing to pay an astonishing 14 percent interest, about 50 percent more than he had projected. That pushed Trump’s total debt for his three casinos to $1.2 billion. For the renamed Trump Taj Mahal to break even, it would have to pull in as much as $1.3 million a day in revenue, more than any casino ever.

Disaster hit fast. As had been predicted by some Wall Street analysts, Trump’s voracious appetite cannibalized his other casinos-- it was as if Trump had tipped the Atlantic City boardwalk and slid all his customers at the Trump Castle and Trump Plaza down to the Taj. Revenues for the two smaller casinos plummeted a combined $58 million that first year.

Meanwhile, another Trump disaster was brewing. Eastern Air Lines, which had been struggling, put its northeastern air shuttle up for sale. Trump persuaded the banks to lend him $380 million to purchase the route, and in June 1989 the Trump Shuttle began flying.

Trump introduced the airline with his usual style-- by insulting the competition. At an elegant event at Logan Airport in Boston, Trump took the stage and suggested that the other airline with a northeastern shuttle, Pan Am, flew unsafe planes. Pan Am didn’t have enough cash, he said, and so it couldn’t spend as much as the Trump Shuttle on maintenance. “I’m not criticizing Pan Am,” Trump told the assembled crowd. “I’m just speaking facts.” But Trump offered no proof, and others in the airline industry seethed; talking about possible crashes was bad for everyone’s business.

He promised to transform his shuttle into a luxury service-- bathroom fixtures were colored gold, and the plane interiors were decked out with mahogany veneer. He was spending $1 million to update each of the planes, which were individually worth only $4 million. With those changes, he boasted, he would increase the shuttle’s market share from 55 to 75 percent.

But just like with casinos, Trump was in a business he knew nothing about. Customers on a one-hour flight from Washington to New York didn’t want luxury; they wanted reliability and competitive prices.

Trump Shuttle never turned a profit. But it didn’t have much of a chance; even as he was preening about his successes, Trump’s businesses were falling apart and would soon bring the shuttle crashing down with them.

At 1:40 p.m. on October 10, 1989, the four-blade rotor and tail rotor broke off of a helicopter flying above the pine woodlands near Forked River, New Jersey. The craft plunged 2,800 feet to the ground, killing all five passengers. Among them were three of Trump’s top casino executives.

With the best managers of his casinos dead, Trump for the first time took responsibility for running the day-to-day operations in Atlantic City. His mercurial and belligerent style made a quick impact-- some top executives walked, unwilling to put up with his eccentricities, while Trump booted others... By early 1990, as financial prospects at the casinos worsened, Trump began badmouthing the executives who had died, laying blame on them, although the cause of his problems was the precarious, debt-laden business structure he had built.

By June 1990, Trump was on the verge of missing a $43 million interest payment to the investors in the Taj’s junk bonds. Facing ruin, he met with his bankers, who had almost no recourse-- they had been as reckless as Trump. By lending him billions-- with loans for his real estate, his casinos, his airline and other businesses-- they could fail if Trump went down. So the banks agreed to lend him tens of millions more in exchange for Trump temporarily ceding control over his multibillion-dollar empire and accepting a budget of $450,000 a month for personal expenditures. In August, New Jersey regulators prepared a report totaling Trump’s debt at $3.4 billion, writing that “a complete financial collapse of the Trump Organization was not out of the question.”

In September, Trump informed his bankers that he would not be paying the $1.1 million in interest due and asked that they defer $245 million of future loan payments. Once again, the banks could do little but agree. The shuttle business was put up for sale, as was his $29 million yacht, the Trump Princess. (In 1992, Trump defaulted on his debt for the shuttle and turned it over to his creditor banks.)

By December, Trump was on the verge of missing an interest payment on the debt of Trump Castle, and there was no room left to maneuver with the banks this time. So, just as he had in the past, Trump turned to Dad for help, according to New Jersey state regulatory records. On December 17, 1990, Fred Trump handed a certified check for $3.35 million payable to the Trump Castle to his attorney, Howard Snyder. Snyder traveled to the Castle and opened an account in the name of Fred Trump. The check was deposited into that account and a blackjack dealer paid out $3.35 million to Snyder in gray $5,000 chips. Snyder put the chips in a small case and left; no gambling took place. The next day, a similar “loan” was made-- except by wire transfer rather than by check-- for an additional $150,000. This surreptitious, and unreported, loan allowed Donald Trump to make that interest payment. (The Castle later settled charges by the Casino Control Commission of violations from this escapade and paid a $65,000 fine.)

It didn’t matter-- Trump’s casino empire was doomed. A little more than a year after the opening of the Taj, that casino was in bankruptcy court, and was soon followed there by the Plaza and the Castle. Under the reorganization, Trump turned over half his interest in the businesses in exchange for lower rates of interest, as well as a deferral of payments and an agreement to wait at least five years before pursuing Trump for the personal guarantees he had made on some of the debt. The total debt remained huge, weighing down the reorganized company for years. In 2004, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts-- the new name for Trump’s casino holdings-- filed for bankruptcy, and Trump was forced to relinquish his post as chief executive. The name of the company was then changed to Trump Entertainment Resorts; it filed for bankruptcy in 2009, four days after Trump resigned from the board.

In his books and public statements, Trump holds up this bankruptcy as yet more proof of his business genius; after all, his logic goes, he climbed out of a hole so deep few others could have done it. He even brags now about how deep that hole was. Trump falsely claimed in two of his books that he owed $9.2 billion, rather than the actual number, $3.4 billion, making his recovery seem far more impressive.

Yesterday, Paul Ryan's increasingly desperate reelection campaign decided to push out some opposition research about Randy Bryce once having declared bankruptcy when he was being treated for cancer without health insurance. Ryan learned the hard way what an @IronStahce response is:
I've been asked why I'm running for Congress several times on the campaign trail. The truth is, moving to Washington and becoming "Congressman Bryce" wasn't something on my bucket list. But I kept hearing stories from friends and neighbors about the pain and hardship that people were facing-- and these stories hit home because they were often circumstances I've experienced myself and have worked to overcome.

When people asked me to run against Paul Ryan, it was clear that those folks were looking for someone who understood what it was like to be a working person trying to make ends meet.

It's fair to say that working people are underrepresented in Congress-- Paul Ryan certainly doesn't understand what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck, to have to choose between food and paying your bills, or to literally be faced with life and death decisions with no health insurance.

But I do understand. I've survived some really awful times, and it's time there's someone in Congress who knows what everyday people are going through.

I know what it's like to work 100 hours a week, doing hard, manual labor-- because I've done it.

I know the fear and uncertainty of having a serious disease-- cancer-- and no health insurance. Because I have been there.

I know what it's like to be fighting for your life while watching your world crumble around you. Because 17 years ago I had to file for bankruptcy when my mounting medical bills and other debt became too much to bear.

I know what people are facing, and that's exactly why I jumped into this race.

Sadly, my story is not unique. Thousands of people across Wisconsin have experienced the same soul-crushing decision to file for bankruptcy. It's just wrong. I was very lucky to be able to resolve my case over a few years, but not everyone is that fortunate. As a veteran, I know some of the hardest hit by this crisis are the brave men and women who have served our country only to have the system turn its back on them. It's gone on too long, and it's not something I will stand by and continue to watch.

I know what it's like to look your child in the eyes and have to explain that your job has changed and times were going to be tight for a while. I had to do it, and I fell behind on my child support payments.

Thankfully, my son's mom and I were able to work together, putting our son first, and we made a plan to ensure all his needs were met in the fastest way possible. But kids shouldn't suffer because parents fall on hard times. We have to do better, and I believe we can.

It breaks my heart that these stories are as common as they are, right here in Southeastern Wisconsin and across the country. It's scary being in these situations. You're a nervous wreck, you're ashamed you can't protect and take care of your family, and you don't know how you're going to claw your way back. Like so many people, I can say that I've had to borrow money from friends and family in tough times, and been grateful for the grace of being able to pay them back when I could.

That's the thing about working families-- we know how to work together and lift each other up. It's that sense of shared community that I want to bring to Congress.

Working people and families are facing tough times like this all over the country, and now Republicans are trying to give millionaires and billionaires more tax cuts while telling us that we can't pay for education or Medicare for All, or anything else that would help families struggling to make ends meet.

The Republican attack machine is in full gear, obviously spreading my record around to hit me for having the same economic problems that millions of people struggle with every single day. That's ok-- I've survived much worse. I'm grateful to have come out on the other side of some incredibly hard times-- but I know many, many more have not been so lucky. Part of the reason is that the system is rigged against them, and it's time for that game to stop.

While I'm not perfect, I can promise that I will do everything in my power and work every single day to ensure we start looking out for the 99%, instead of the wealthy few.
Goal ThermometerI know I've asked before, but please consider contributing to Randy's congressional campaign, because, together, we can repeal that dead-eyed, baby-starving muthafucker Paul Ryan and put one of us in Congress in his place. Just tap on the ActBlue Stop Paul Ryan thermometer on the right and think about how much you love our country... and give what you can. Defeating Paul Ryan at the polls will be like driving a silver spike through the heart of the Republican Party vampire... at least the one on the loose in southeastern Wisconsin. And it will be a clear message for the other baby-starving muthafuckers from sea to shining sea. Paul Ryan is the worst of what they throw at us. Let's not miss this chance to throw him back in their faces. Thanks.

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