Is Donald Trump plotting to save the Atlantic City casinos that bear his name? Just days after the Trump Plaza closed its doors and it was announced that the Donald’s former company Trump Entertainment is facing bankruptcy, the real estate mogul has raised the possibility that he may buy back the Taj and Plaza both.
Trump sold what was left of the casino empire he built in the eighties and nineties to a group of hedge funds and corporate bond holders in 2009 for $225 million and quit the casino industry, supposedly for good. He allowed the reorganized company to retain his name and brand in return for a 10 percent stake in the business; however, recently Trump has railed against Trump Entertainment, accusing it of running his former properties into the ground through mismanagement. Several months ago, he launched legal proceedings to have his name removed from the two casinos, claiming that Trump Entertainment was sullying his brand name.
Asked by the Press of Atlantic City this week whether he was tempted to reclaim his former casino empire, he replied, “We’ll see what happens. If I can help the people of Atlantic City I’ll do it.”
Later, on Twitter, Trump said: “I left Atlantic City years ago, good timing. Now I may buy back in, at much lower cost, to save Plaza & Taj. They were run badly by funds!”
Trump, whose helicopter was spotted landing in the roof of the Taj on Tuesday adding fuel to the rumors, also tweeted criticism of New Jersey’s politicians, who he blames for AC’s woes.
“Does anybody notice that Atlantic City lost its magic after I left years ago,” he said. “It is so sad to see what has happened to Atlantic City. So many bad decisions by the pols over the years: airport, convention center, etc.
“If they had taken the old convention center and added three walls and a roof, they would have had one of the best centers. Instead, they had a piece of garbage in its place,” he added. “It was a disaster.”
Trump believes that the decision to build a convention center off the Boardwalk is one of the reasons that AC is struggling to generate new business. “It’s very sad to see what’s happening to Atlantic City,” he said. “A lot of it is attributable to bad decisions made by politicians over the years.”
However, many observers have opined that the Donald is merely attempting to drum up some publicity for himself. If his intent is serious, they say, he needs to put his money where his mouth is.
“The question is whether this is more publicity for Donald or whether he is serious about coming back to Atlantic City in a real way,” said Senator Jim Whelan. “We’ll see down the line. Is Donald Trump looking to get some publicity, or is he serious? And if he’s serious, come on in and write some checks.”