Trumped

By Harvey Wallbanger

Trump Entertainment Resorts has filed for bankruptcy a third time, after missing a December interest payment due bond holders, and just ahead of action by creditors seeking to put the company into involuntary bankruptcy. CEO Donald Trump has resigned, framing the issue not as incompetent management that made his company one of the worst performers in Atlantic City, but rather the fact that his board won't let him buy it. I suppose it would have been a sweet deal if he could have pulled it off, given that the company's market cap is down 99% from its August 2005 high, with its stock price in freefall this year.


While maintaining the ability to pay bills is something most entrepreneurs strive for, Donald Trump seems to view stiffing creditors via bankruptcy as a standard business strategy. Unsecured creditors this time around have over $1.3 billion at risk. The real question is why anyone would loan Trump a thin dime without collateral. Maybe it's the hair, or perhaps the mesmerizing personality. One thing's for sure -- while he may stumble when it comes to generating real, sustainable value, Donald Trump is definitely the master of the deal. Which is why people love and hate him at the same time.


I suspect, should he not be able to talk himself past the pearly gates, the Donald will find himself chased across hell by legions of zombie-like creditors on bicycles, reminiscent of the paper boy pursuing John Cusack's character in "Better Off Dead." I'm also pretty sure that after a while he'd negotiate a deal to erect high-rises and casinos all across the fiery pit, with Beelzebub and all the rest as investors, undergirded by tax-exempt muni bonds put forward by the Devil himself.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2009/02/trumped/639/